Thousands of children classed as in need

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THOUSANDS of children in the borough were classed as in need in the last year new figures have revealed.

In total, 3,170 were assessed as being in need by St HelensCouncil between April 2014 and March 2015 or 870 for every 10,000 children in the borough, according to figures released by the Department for Education.

As of March 31, 2015, there was a total of 1,655 children classed as being in need in the borough, of which 1,089 were in need because of abuse or neglect.

This is the fifth highest for any local authority in the North West behind Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester and Cumbria.

Of those, 257 children were in need because they had a disability or illness, while 35 were in need because of a parent’s illness or disability.

28 children were in need because of acute family stress, 214 because of family dysfunction and 17 were because of socially unacceptable behaviour.

A council spokesman said: “The term ‘children in need’ covers a very broad spectrum – including children in need of support, children who are subject to child protection processes as well as those who are looked after by the local authority.

“’Abuse’ and ‘neglect’ are general terms applied to what can be a number of different concerns relating to a child.”

Of the total 3,170 who were assessed as in need, 1,669 cases were opened in 2014/15, while 1,515 were closed.

Of the 1,655 cases still open on March 31, 624 or 37.7 per cent of cases had been open for more than two years, while 439 or 26.5 per cent had been open less than three months.