PRIVATE EYE this week claims that Dorset is among the counties being badly affected by the “meltdown” in the children and family courts advisory service Cafcass.
The fortnightly magazine says that Cafcass is struggling to cope with an increased workload in the wake of the Baby P case.
Children known to be at risk of abuse or neglect are – says the Eye – not being given a dedicated guardian but are instead being “allocated to a ‘team’ which, as most social workers know, is a bad idea when it comes to safeguarding children”.
Many courts are, allegedly, now bypassing Cafcass and “hiring private social workers at extra cost” to represent children.
“The Eye has learnt of disturbing cases in Lancashire, Dorset, Kent and Devon, as well as several in London.
“One involved a child who self harmed and kept running away; in another there were concerns about domestic violence and child protection issues; and in a third a judge was concerned that a father had had no access to his children for more than a year.
“Napo, which represents frontline workers, has told the NAO [National Audit Office] that as well as the risk of a ‘tragedy’, the increase in care proceedings, coupled with the inability to provide dedicated guardians, could lead to more children being taken into care unnecessarily at great additional costs in terms of money and welfare.”
The full story can be read on page 31.
Free advert: if you don’t normally read Private Eye, you should! Also in the current issue, Bridport and Dorchester libraries feature on page 28, while the Liberal Democrats’ former would-be West Dorset MP Justine McGuinness is on page 7.