Thousands of children need extra support

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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, 4,339 children were assessed as being in need by Wigan Council between April 2014 and March 2015 or 640 for every 10,000 children in the borough, according to figure released by the Department for Education.

There are many children in need of our care and support and we are absolutely committed to doing all we can to make sure our young people have the best chance of a good future

Jayne Ivory

As of March 31, 2015, there was a total of 2,520 children classed as being in need in the borough, of which 1,812 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, 251 children were in need because they had a disability or illness, while 29 were in need because of a parent’s illness or disability.

188 children were in need because of acute family stress, 200 because of family dysfunction and 26 were because of socially unacceptable behaviour.

A child in need is a child assessed to be in need of specialist and targeted services, either because they have additional needs of their own and need support or because their family have additional complex needs.

Once a child has been assessed as a child in need of help or protection local authorities and their partners have a statutory responsibility to provide this support and service to meet need or to reduce identified risks.

These services can include family support (to help keep together families experiencing difficulties) child protection, leaving care support (to help young people who have left local authority care), adoption support or disabled children’s services (including social care, education and health provision).

Jayne Ivory, assistant director for children’s services, said: “The council works extremely hard to ensure vulnerable children are safe and supported so they can achieve their potential.

“There are many children in need of our care and support and we are absolutely committed to doing all we can to make sure our young people have the best chance of a good future.

“We use every opportunity we can, including working really closely with our partners, to support those families who need our specialist help.

“We also make sure that where families have needs that can be met by Early Help, before their problems become too severe, that we work with our partners across the borough to deliver support through our combined early intervention and prevention services.”