Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire children's services 'require improvement'

County Hall, Worcester Image copyright Worcestershire County Council
Image caption Ofsted said the service "requires improvement to be good"

Children's social care services which were found to have "serious failures" are improving, the education watchdog has said.

The Worcestershire service, rated "inadequate" by Ofsted after a 2016 inspection, now "requires improvement to be good".

Inspectors said progress had been made, but families are still struggling get early help services on a timely basis.

The county council said "outcomes are being met more effectively".

It has spent £19.8m since to improve services over the last two years.

The Department of Health previously said child protection services in the county must be run externally, with Worcestershire Children First officially taking over in October.

In its latest report following an inspection in June, Ofsted said outcomes for many children and their families are better and senior leaders are successful in creating a more stable and permanent workforce.

But a small number of children remain in "considerable placement turmoil", it found.

"Senior leaders have not been able to ensure that all young people leaving care live in suitable and long-term accommodation," the report said.

It added: "Clear access to dedicated mental health services have not been secured for children in care and those leaving care."

Catherine Driscoll, director of children's services at Worcestershire County Council, said she was "delighted progress had been recognised".

"Outcomes are being met more effectively and children said to the inspectors that they have lots of opportunity to talk to, to be heard, and to make a difference to the policy and the way we meet their needs," she added.

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