Tributes for hard work to help children in care system

The opening of Thorndale children's home with Coun Robert Arckless, third left, and Coun Anthony Murray, right.

The opening of Thorndale children's home with Coun Robert Arckless, third left, and Coun Anthony Murray, right.

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Councillors have paid tribute to all those working to support looked-after children in Northumberland, half of whom have suffered abuse or neglect.

At today’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet, Coun Anthony Murray, chairman of the Corporate Parenting Panel, presented the group’s report for 2014/15.

He thanked everyone who works in helping the youngsters and said it was one of the most important things that the council does.

Coun Murray also highlighted the refurbished or new children’s homes in Alnwick, Blyth and Cramlington. Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services, added: “The best thing about the three new homes is that they are just that, homes, and not institutions.”

As of the end of March this year, there were 58 looked-after under ones in the county, 113 one to four-year-olds, 99 five to nine-year-olds, 92 10 to 15-year-olds and seven aged 16 or over. In 2013, half of those who were looked after for at least 12 months during GCSEs achieved at least five A*-C grades.

Just over half (51 per cent) of the looked-after children in 2014/15 were in care due to abuse or neglect.

Referring to this last issue, Coun Arckless said: “It’s a highly complex issue.”

He added: “I’m very, very concerned about the financial pressures being place on people living at the margins.”