Claims that the majority of children in care in Herefordshire could be safely returned home have been rejected by the council.

“The assertion that 70 per cent of Herefordshire children in care could be returned home with suitable support is not one that we can agree with, and we are not aware of any evidence that supports it,” a council spokesperson said.

The council spokesperson added that children’s services “have successfully reduced the rate of children coming into our care this year, and are focussed on supporting families to build on their strengths, so that where it is safe and appropriate, families stay together or are reunited”.


The council says that chief executive Paul Walker, director of children’s services Darryl Freeman, and cabinet member for children’s and family services Cllr Diana Toynbee “have met with families to listen to their concerns, and follow them up, and particular cases are being reviewed”.

Coun Toynbee said: “I am keen to listen to as many diverse voices as possible in our communities, and it’s essential that we use what we learn to improve our services.”

The claim was made by the organiser of a parents’ group at a public meeting in Hereford last month, which Coun Toynbee and children’s commissioner Eleanor Brazil attended.

Following a highly critical Ofsted examination which rated the children’s services department “inadequate”, it is currently being assessed by Ms Brazil, who is expected to decide by the end of next month whether it should remain under the council’s control.