Extra £2m for Welsh councils to meet child care abuse inquiry recommendations

17 Feb 00
The National Assembly for Wales has announced an extra £2m for children's services following a damning report that traced two decades of child abuse in local authority homes.

18 February 2000

The inquiry, led by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, uncovered more than 200 cases of physical and sexual abuse in children's homes in North Wales.

It found that council staff in the former counties of Gwynedd and Clwyd failed to protect children in their care and that a ring of highly placed paedophiles may have operated in the 1970s and 1980s.

The inquiry, ordered in 1996, has been one of the largest into child abuse in history at a cost of £13.5m. It makes more than 72 recommendations, including the appointment of a children's complaints officer for every social services department.

Announcing the extra funds to help local authorities implement the report's recommendations, Jane Hutt, Health and Social Services Secretary, said the inquiry 'would help to shape future public policy on the care of children for years to come'.

Meanwhile, the government gave all local authorities just 48 hours to check that they were not employing 28 individuals named in the report, Lost in Care. 'I am determined to ensure that those named in the Waterhouse report are stopped from working with children,' Health Secretary Alan Milburn said. He also announced the creation of a national children's rights director who will be responsible for policing the inspection of children's homes.

In a statement Gwynedd Council, now a unitary authority, said its children's services had changed 'significantly' since the 1980s. It has since closed several of the care homes named in the report but is still dealing with 17 compensation claims.

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