Child neglect cases are on the increase

A CHILD neglect crisis is looming according to a children’s charity after the number of reports to its helpline increased in South Yorkshire.

The NSPCC dealt with 1,056 calls from Yorkshire and the Humber last yea- including 42 from Rotherham.

The charity is warning that a sharp increase in reports of neglect cases will place additional pressure on already stretched children’s services.

Gordon Ratcliffe, NSPCC head of region in South Yorkshire, said: “More people than ever are contacting the NSPCC about child neglect.”

“Some of this will be down to the public being more willing to speak out - and this can only be a positive thing - but there is clearly a worrying trend, not just in our figures, but from a range of agencies and bodies.”

“More research is needed on why this sharp increase has occurred.”

Out of the 1,056 calls from Yorkshire and Humber, 827 were so serious they required the involvement of police or children’s services - a 22 per cent increase on the number the previous year.

Callers to the NSPCC helpline described children going hungry and begging neighbours for food. Others were worried about children left home alone or outside in the cold for hours on end, or children whose parents had drink or drug addictions.

Mr Ratcliffe said: “The NSPCC is working closely with professionals and local government across the UK to find out the best ways to identify and tackle neglect before it ruins children’s lives.”

“ And we want the public to keep raising the alarm so families can be supported to prevent more children suffering the devastating consequences of neglect.”

“Obviously if families will not or cannot improve, children must be protected and taken into care.”

“But our experience shows that with the right support many families can improve their behaviour.”

“The costs in both financial and human terms for supporting families to change are far lower than the costs of taking children into care.”