Is Pembrokeshire facing up to child abuse failings at lastSeptember 7, 2011
Pembrokeshire Council, rocked by allegations of child abuse by members of its staff, has now admitted that children may have been harmed by “a small number” of its employees. It is apparently co-operating with the police on 25 cases currently being investigated. A report into the scandal being debated in the council chamber this week revealed abject failings by Pembrokeshire social services in protecting children from abuse; Wales’ Children’s Commissioner, Keith Towler described the contents of the report as “deeply disturbing” and the chairman of the children and families committee has resigned. In the meantime, the schools inspectorate have lambasted education services in the county as “unsatisfactory” and “not fit for purpose” when it comes to policies and systems for safeguarding children. Despite all this Pembrokeshire’s chief executive survived a vote of no confidence, and the leadership response has been to appoint a new cabinet member with responsibility for safeguarding children. Too little too late perhaps and one wonders if this is a sop to the Council’s critics or whether the new post will deliver the sea-change in attitude that is required. And how many more Hackneys, Doncasters and Pembrokeshires will the children of this country have to endure until their protection is taken seriously?