Berkshire

Support for children in Wokingham care still 'insufficient'

Mum and son Image copyright PA
Image caption Ofsted found "too many" children were still not getting the right level of help and protection

Ofsted has found "too many" children and families are still not getting the right level of protection and care from social services in Wokingham.

The watchdog said while services had improved since they were found to be at a "breaking point" six months ago, more must be done to ensure stability.

It found a high turnover of staff had a "particularly debilitating effect" on disabled children and their families.

The council said it was "pleased" Ofsted had noticed improvements.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ofsted inspected the council's services last month

The Ofsted report, based on an inspection carried out between 3-14 of June, acknowledged the council had improved in multiple areas.

Experiences were "generally very positive" for children whose social workers are based in Here4U, the authority's children-in-care and care-leavers teams.

But services for those in care with social workers based in the disabled children's team, or one of the three long-term teams, were "not quite so positive".

'Start again social work'

A high turnover of staff in such departments made it difficult for children to build a rapport with social workers, with timeliness of statutory visits sometimes slipping.

It also contributed to a "lack of continuity and a loss of momentum, resulting in a kind of 'start again social work'."

The watchdog also noted the recruitment of foster carers was "problematic", while the "lack of management grip" meant some did not have adequate training to ensure best services.

The shortfall in the number of carers, compounded with an insufficient amount of foster placements, are "having a negative impact on the experiences and progress of some children in care and care leavers", the report said.

Director of children's services Carol Cammiss said while she is pleased Ofsted acknowledged improvements "we are committed to improving all our services sustainably so no children miss out on the support they deserve".

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