A dangerous lesson should put us on red alert

Matt Dunkley

While I was accurately quoted in your cover story ("A dangerous lesson to forget", 25 May), your readers may have been left with the mistaken impression that I am ambivalent about the government's attitude to integrated services for children. I am far from ambivalent. I, along with other directors of children's services, believe that bringing together education and children's social care had a substantial impact on the lives of some of the most deprived children and young people, and that they are safer and better educated for it.

Your editorial on this subject missed the point. Breakfast clubs and extended schools ensure that children are ready to learn. Working together where children might be missing education, and better awareness by those working with children of abuse and neglect, will inevitably uncover needs that would not have come to the attention of social workers. We have seen that demonstrated by the rise in the number of children in care and subject to child protection plans in the past three years. This may have an unwelcome effect on my shrinking budget, but I am proud that these children are getting the support that they need.

Matt Dunkley, Immediate past president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS); director of children's services, East Sussex County Council.

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Matt Dunkley

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