Protecting the most vulnerable members of our community is a key priority for Hampshire County Council. This is why we have invested an additional £2.5 million to further enhance our frontline children’s social care services over the next two years. This large-scale investment will help to ensure that the most vulnerable children in Hampshire are kept safe and are well supported.
We have made this investment to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of children who are requiring protection and who are coming into our care. Hampshire has around 1,000 children on Child Protection Plans and 1,100 children in care. In addition to this, more young people are also qualifying for support after leaving care, and the costs involved with looking after children with complex disabilities are rising. These pressures are not unique to Hampshire – they are being experienced by local authorities across the country.
As part of our investment, we are enhancing our existing social care services by recruiting 70 new frontline child protection social workers and support staff. The support staff will manage the administration which will free up social workers so they have more time to work directly with children and families.
We are also developing a multi-agency safeguarding hub based at our main frontline contact centre in Fareham which will include Police and health staff. The Hub will enable all agencies to share information easily and effectively to provide faster, co-ordinated and consistent responses to concerns raised about vulnerable children.
We are also piloting a project in Basingstoke to redesign social care services to improve outcomes for children and families. Following the Government’s national review of children’s social care, we will focus on supporting families as early as possible to prevent them from getting into difficulties. Social workers will spend less time on administration and more time working with children, young people and their families. If the pilot project is successful, it will be rolled out across Hampshire.
Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility and you also have a role to play in it.
If you are concerned about a child or young person, you should report it to Hampshire County Council on 0845 603 5620 during office hours (8.30 to 5.00 Monday to Thursday and 8.30 to 4.30 on a Friday). At all other times, contact the out of hours service on 0845 600 4555. If you believe that a child is at immediate risk, call 999 and report your concerns to the police.