Following the death of 17-month-old "Baby P" in Haringey, north London, Lord Laming was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to report urgently on the progress being made across the country to implement effective arrangements for safeguarding children. Much progress has been made since the green paper "Every child matters: change for children" (Cm. 5860, 2003, ISBN 9780101586023), the Children Act 2004 (ISBN 9780105431046) and "Working together to safeguard children" (2006, ISBN 9780112711872), but in March 2008 37,000 children were the subjects of care orders and 29,000 children were the subject of child protection plans. 55 children were killed by their parents or by someone known to them in 2007-08. Lord Laming proposes immediate action on six tasks: (1) the setting of explicit strategic priorities for the protection of children and young persons for each of the key frontline services; (2) establishing a powerful National Safeguarding Delivery Unit to bring coherence and drive to implement change in departments and agencies whose work is to protect children; (3) addressing the inadequacy of the training and supply of frontline social workers: without the necessary specialist knowledge and skills, social workers must not be allowed to practise in child protection; (4) health service workers must engage more, and more confidently, with child protection work; (5) resources devoted to police child protection teams and their training must be increased; (6) shortening of the time taken in court processes relating to the care of children. A total of 58 recommendations are made in the areas of: leadership and accountability; support for children; interagency working; children's workforce; improvement and challenge; organisation and finance; legal matters.
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