Record level of children in care on Wirral

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Children. Pic © Eitan / Wikimedia Creative Commons

A huge increase in demands for Wirral Council to help children at risk has left services struggling to cope.

More than 800 children in Wirral are currently in care, reaching the highest level the borough has ever experienced. For every 10,000 children in Wirral, 120 are in care – double the national average.

Councillor Bernie Mooney, Labour cabinet member for children and families, has requested an increase in their budget as the future of care services on the peninsula is at stake.

Cllr Mooney has urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to use his budget next month to help deal with the crisis.

She said: “This level of need and demand for services from our most vulnerable children and families has never been seen before. I can see how hard people are working, I can see the improvements we are making every day, and I am so proud of the efforts of our staff who are working under almost imaginable pressure.

“It’s not enough, unfortunately. We are now in a position where we need £25m of extra funding just to meet the increased demand for our services.

“We are doing all we can. We will – somehow – come up with proposals for how we can fund the extra money and meet the increased demand.”

Wirral Council was already under pressure after a highly critical inspection by Ofsted, which branded the children’s services department as “inadequate” – its lowest possible rating.

This followed the conviction of two brothers – Ilavarasan and Vinothan Rajenthiram – after the local authority failed to stop their campaign of child sexual exploitation in Birkenhead.

In May, the pair were jailed for a combined total of 40 years for 27 sexual offences against girls as young as 14.

Cllr Mooney said: “We are fixing the issues which Ofsted found at pace, we are recruiting additional quality to our workforce with experienced social workers and we are looking at how we can improve services at every level for our children, young people and their families in this borough.”

YouTube: Wirral Council

About Olivia Friett, JMU Journalism