Service for children under fire

A press conference at County Hall to unveil the new Northamptonshire County Council cabinet.  'Councillor Catherine Boardman.

A press conference at County Hall to unveil the new Northamptonshire County Council cabinet. 'Councillor Catherine Boardman.

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A Brackley foster mum has backed frontline workers after a damning government inspection labelled services for children in care as ‘inadequate.’

On Friday Ofsted published its report into Northants County Council’s services for looked after children.

One of the criticisms was that children do not get to see the same social worker.

Councillor Catherine Boardman said they had already began improving the service by getting rid of those not up to the job, or retraining others.

She also admitted a ‘root and branch’ restructuring could take up to two years and added: “Absolutely everything, right down to the tiniest, minutest detail, has been reviewed, has been rewritten, the pathways have been rewritten, structures have been written, the action plans have been rewritten.”

Chris Hester is a 2012 woman of the year, and has fostered more than 400 children in 25 years.

She said she has received good support from child care social workers but added: “They have so much work on and I think they are not supported enough, and there are not enough social workers to do the job.

“And the pressure is so much they to go off sick. They do their very best for each child, but there is only so much they can do.

“And then they bring in agency workers who may be good at their jobs and have the lots experience, but they don’t know Northamptonshire and have to start on each case from scratch.”