Deirdre Mahon, Western Trust Director of Women and Children’s Services provided the six monthly report on the Trust’s Delegated Statutory Functions (1 October 2018 to 31 March 2019) at the June 2019 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.
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 31 March 2019 for the Western Trust area included:
· There were 6,135 Children In Need in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area (these figures represent an increase of 119 on Caseloads since September 2018)
· There were 493 (427 at 30 September 2018) Children on the Child Protection Register in the Western Trust area. This represents an increase of 66 children on the Child Protection Register since 30 September 2018.
· 647 children/young people were Looked After in the Western Trust area. This represents an increase of 20 children on the Looked After Register since 31 March 2018.
· There are 307 children placed in kinship foster care this represents 47% of the total Looked After Population.
Deirdre Mahon 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 stresses and breakdown, impact of poverty and domestic violence or challenging behaviour of young people.”
Deirdre Mahon added: “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.”