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Kent children's services significantly improve

Kent's children's service, one heavily criticised for leaving children at risk, has been rated as providing a good service by Ofsted inspectors.

The service was described as "inadequate" in 2010 and has struggled to cope with a huge number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children over the last few years.

In Kent almost 2,000 vulnerable children are being looked after by the local authority.

During its difficult period, the leader of Kent County Council put his job on the line and said he would resign if things did not improve.

As Sarah Saunders reports.

Sarah spoke to Cllr Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, Con, Andrew Ireland Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing and Roger Gough, KCC Member for Children, Young People and Education.

Budget cuts put children's centres at risk of closure

The council is looking for more efficient ways to help families Credit: PA

Support services for families in Buckinghamshire are to be reviewed in the council's bid to make savings of £53m.

The review will focus primarily on the role of thirty five children's centres across the county. The local authority says it faces difficult decisions and wouldn't rule out possible closures.

Our Children's centres are extremely popular in their local communities but it's my job to make sure that they deliver services that are focussed on those children and families who really need help.

We face difficult decisions, but if we don't provide a more targeted service, we won't achieve the savings we need to make - this is the reality of the difficult budget decisions the Council had to make back in February. A do-nothing approach is not an option.

– Zahir Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills


Campaign fights plans to merge children's centres

A campaign is underway in Hampshire to prevent the closure of dozens of children's centres. Plans currently being debated would mean 54 being reduced to just 11.

Sure start centres in the New Forest, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Winchester and the Test Valley are under threat.

Leading the fight is Catherine Ovenden who says her centre played a vital role when she was a new mum. Richard Jones reports.

Plans to merge children's services in Hampshire

Hampshire County Council is trying to save £98m Credit: ITV Meridian

A ten-week public consultation has started on plans to merge all children's services in Hampshire as the council tries to plug a £98m funding shortfall.

Under the scheme, fifty four centres would be reduced to eleven and 60% of staff would lose their jobs.

The council says the move would save eight point five million.

But campaigners who fought to keep the centres open when they were under threat in 2011 plan to protest

ITV Meridian spoke to Deputy Leader of the county council, Keith Mans.

Damning report into Surrey Children's Services

Widespread and serious failures are leaving children at risk of harm - that's according to a damning report that labels children's services "inadequate" at Surrey County Council.

The Ofsted Inspection published last month called for urgent action, but children's charities say they're not convinced enough's being done to safeguard youngsters. Rachel Hepworth reports.