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High Numbers of Children are Re-referred within Five Years
A study has revealed that more than 50% of children referred to social services were then re-referred within five years
The research showed that the probability of children being re-referred increased dramatically in authorities where social workers had more than 10 child in need cases. The report explained: “This illustrates how re-referral might be related to the capacity of local authorities to handle cases at first referral.
“Simply put, if local authorities lack capacity to deal with referral cases, as they might be short-staffed, more children would return for a repeated referral, as their needs might have not been assessed or addressed adequately.” The report did recognise that other factors which were picked up in Ofsted reports could also contribute to this result, and that this finding was “not conclusive”.
The report explained the detrimental impact of the re-referrals: “Re-referrals can be costly to local authorities, but more importantly, they can be stressful and harmful to the children themselves, as well as to their parents or guardians.
“Potentially, multiple referrals can be detrimental to children’s development, as they may imply prolonged periods of unmet needs and recurrent episodes of abuse, neglect, maltreatment, etc.”
The study recognised that there were a few potential limitations to its findings, such as only looking at one cohort of children however it suggested a selection of options for follow-up work; these included investigating links between ethnicity and deprivation and the prospect of re-referral.
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