Herefordshire Council’s children’s services department is still failing the county’s families, according to protesters.

About 25 protesters who felt they had been mistreated by the department gathered at the Grange in Leominster to call for it to show greater openness and accountability.

Organiser Angeline (we are not using her surname to protect her privacy) said: “Parents who were only seeking support have had their children taken from them. Some will never see their children again. One was ready to take her own life.”

Herefordshire has an abnormally high proportion of children in care – “more than double most regions, with most of them in long-term foster care”, she said.

Meanwhile, the department is failing to keep “positive paperwork” from schools and other agencies which would support families’ cases, she claimed.

“It’s not about the money, or the staffing. All the families are repeating the same social workers’ names. The good ones leave or are sacked.”

Some in the department “have spoken up, and more need to do so,” she said, though she claimed that those who have raised issues “have been suspended, disciplined, or their contracts terminated”.

Meanwhile, the “improvement team” brought in by the Department for Education over a year ago in the wake of a damning High Court judgment against the department, “should be helping families, but aren’t – they have all been brought in from another failing authority”, Angeline said.

Coun Terry James, who has long tried to highlight the department’s failings, said it is “still totally unfit for purpose”.


Herefordshire Council said in a statement: “Our social workers continue to do their best to support families and protect vulnerable children in our community.

“We have undertaken a thorough analysis of all aspects of our children’s social care practice and made it our top priority to ensure we make the changes required.

“We have reduced caseloads for our social workers, recruited more staff for home visits, modernised our record keeping systems and made lasting cultural changes to ensure our staff are provided with better supervision, and feel listened to and supported.”