20 Mar 2012

Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of children registered for neglect across the UK, a new report has claimed.

The charity Action for Children said the number of names on the Child Protection Register in NI has risen by 46% since 2006, with neglect cited as a major factor in half of all cases.

Children’s campaigners at Stormont will meet Health Minister Edwin Poots later on Tuesday and call for him to pledge his support in combating the issue.

The charity wants the Health Department to collate and analyse existing data and publish information about the scale of child neglect in the region.

It says the Executive needs to demonstrate how data on child neglect has been used to plan and integrate family support services against neglect.

The charity also wants more support to be made available and for local government departments to co-operate in delivering a strategic and long-term response.

Action for Children says it has found a “worrying picture” for neglected children, who are all too often “caught in the net”.

The report also revealed that half of social workers and a third of police across the UK feel “powerless” to intervene.

It said professionals such as teachers, health workers and nursery staff are increasingly aware of child neglect, but are unsure as to what to do.