CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called for a greater focus on family support programmes after a new survey showed over 600 children in Wrexham were classed as ‘Children in Need’.
The annual Children in Need (CIN) census conducted by the Welsh Government showed 645 children were classed as ‘in need’ across Wrexham, with 605 in Denbighshire and 425 in Flintshire.
The survey also showed that the attainment gap between those children classed in need and other young people widen as they get older. Across Wales over 20,000 young people (20,240) were classed as Children in Need.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said:
“The figures are a sobering reminder of the numbers of young people across Wales who are living in need. Over 20,000 children are identified as ‘in need’ across Wales, 70 of these were yet to be born when the survey took place.
“It means young people starting off their lives with some kind of disadvantage that might impact on their learning, health and future development. It also demonstrates why the Tory-led UK Government is dangerously undermining the future of thousands of children with their devastating programme of welfare reform.
“Just looking at education, the attainment gap between children in need and other pupils widens as they progress through school. At the Foundation Phase the difference in attainment is 36 percentage points but this increases to 39 percentage points for Key Stage 2 and to 47 percentage points for Key Stage 3.
“In Wrexham we have over 600 young people who are classed as being ‘in need’. What I’m keen to ensure is that we are supporting our local social services departments to deal with these problems effectively and that there is enough resource going into family support programmes.
“For example, across Wales, 43% of children are referred for support because of instances of domestic violence so we need to need to ensure that even in a time of austerity, we still have effective intervention and support services that protect children and young people.”
Notes to Editors:
• There were 20,240 children in need included in the CIN census at 31 March 2012, which was a rate of 320 per 10,000 children aged under 18 years, and 70 who were unborn
• More than a third (36 per cent) of referrals were from local authority departments and a further 29 per cent from the police and primary or community health services
• A quarter (25 per cent) of children in need had a disability
• Parental substance or alcohol misuse and domestic abuse were the most frequently recorded parenting capacity factors
• The attainment of children in need at each Key Stage assessment was much lower than the average for all pupils