Numbers on Child Protection Register hit all-time high, says Western Trust

Tue, 16/01/2018 - 13:06 -- Editor

Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women and Children’s Services provided a mid year report on the Trust’s Delegated Statutory Functions (1 April 2017 to 30 September 2017) at the January 2018 Trust Board meeting and the Corporate Parenting Report forms part of this.

The report provides an update on the Trust’s statutory functions, identifying new trends, emerging issues and actions that are required to address these. He said:

"The safety of children remains a fundamental priority for the Western Trust and the commitment and dedication of the Trust’s professional workforce who support children and family services day in and day out makes sure this remains the case.  The Corporate Parenting Report highlighted the continued high demand on Social Services to provide support to families in crisis and the increase in the number of ‘looked after’ children who are currently under the Trust’s care."


Some of the key areas highlighted in the Corporate Parenting report as at 30 September 2017 for the Western Trust area included:

  • There has been an increase of 18% in unallocated cases within Family Intervention Services since the same reporting period last year. T

  • Children on the Child Protection Register has increased within the last six month by 45%.

  • There has been an increase of 1780 (46%) contacts at Gateway for the same reporting period  

  • An increase in the number of UNOCINI’s (Understanding the Needs of Children in Northern Ireland) accepted of 222 (35%)

  • There has been a 30% increase in the number of Looked After Children (LAC) that are in kinship care since 2015. (This is 44% of the total LAC population).

  • There are currently 5,052  ‘children in need’ on our social work caseloads.

  • There are 421 (359 at 31 March 2017) children on the Child Protection Register. This indicates an increase of 62 since the last reporting period.

  • 610 (588 at 31 March 2017) children/young people were being ‘looked after’ by the Trust. This represents a 52% increase since March 2011.


    Kieran Downey said: “The Western Trust ensures that every day the needs of children and young people in our care are attended to whether the child is in foster care or residential care. Despite our best efforts the number of children for which we are now taking parental responsibility for, is at an all-time high. There are many reasons for this including: family illness, family breakdown and problems at home, or a situation where their welfare is threatened.”


    Kieran Downey concluded: “The Trust takes very seriously its responsibility as a corporate parent and makes every effort to ensure we do the best we can for the most vulnerable children living in the Western Trust area.