Monday, 23 June 2014

Surges in demand for child protection services following a child's death

The phenomenon experienced in Coventry in the wake of the Daniel Pelka tragedy happens elsewhere as well. Following a prominent child death, more and more referrals are received from anxious professionals and from members of the public, resulting in services becoming over-stretched.

ABC News carries a story about the Australian state of Victoria, where referrals to child protection services are said to have increased dramatically following the death of an eleven-year-old boy called Luke Batty. Referrals in the state are said to have increased by more that 25% and a child protection worker is quoted as saying that agencies do not have the capacity to cope to with the increased demand. 

Sadly there is only one response when this happens – to put in more resources to match the spike in demand. All the inspection reports, re-structuring exercises and management initiatives are manifestly irrelevant, if children and young people are not receiving an adequate service because there are just too few staff to meet their needs. The bullet has to be bitten and the cash stumped up.