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Knowsley's child services put 'youngsters at risk'

Children's services in Knowsley are leaving vulnerable young people at risk of harm due to "widespread failures", inspectors have found.

Ofsted rated Knowsley Council's child protection services "inadequate" and highlighted a number of concerns.

The 35-page report said children's voices were not heard and social workers placed too much focus on adults.

Council leader Ron Round said he accepted there had been "failings".

He added: "Our priority now is to continue to make progress on the improvement journey we had started and we are confident that we have already started to move in the right direction."

Knowsley's Safeguarding Children Board, which monitors the council's child protection services, was also rated inadequate.

'Significant weaknesses'

The report, based on an inspection in May, stated: "Too many children and young people who need help and support, or who need to be cared for by the local authority, experience drift and delay.

"Some have been left for too long in situations where they have suffered harm."

Inspectors highlighted "ineffective engagement with families" and said too many child protection plans were ended "before real long term change" was achieved.

They also raised concerns about a high turnover of social workers and said there were "significant weaknesses" in management.

The report - which focussed on children in need of help and protection, looked-after children and those leaving care - said records were often not kept up to date.

The report said the local authority was "aware of a number of significant deficits" in the services and an improvement plan had been drawn up.

But it added that it was too early to see improvements happening in "day-to-day practice."

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