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Worcestershire News: Children our No.1 priority; WORCS: New protection team targets abuse and violence.

Byline: By Emma Cullwick

A NEW organisation launches in Worcestershire tomorrow with a brief to protect children from being bullied, abused, neglected... and murdered.

The Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board will see the county council, police and health chiefs working together to protect youngsters in the county.

It has been created after calls from Lord Laming, chairman of the inquiry into the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie, who died in a London house in 2000, malnourished and with 128 scars on her body.

The board will have a wide range of responsibilities, including protecting children from abuse and neglect as well as probing all child deaths to see if there are lessons that can be learnt to prevent them happening again.

Richard Hubbard, director of children's services at Worcestershire County Council, is to be chairman of the board.

"Keeping our children and young people safe should be our collective first priority," he said. "We all need to be clear about what to do and how to do it if we have concerns and make sure vulnerable and needy children do not fall through gaps between services and systems.

"We need the courage to challenge rigorously our procedures and believe that we can always make them better.

"The setting up of the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board will be an important step in making this happen."

The board's priorities in its first year includes forming policies to protect and support children who are the victims of bullying or have found themselves living amid domestic violence.

It is also set to ensure all organisations, whether they are statutory or voluntary, are using strict background checks when recruiting staff and all workers are suitably trained in keeping children and young people safe.

For more information about WSCB, which is to be launched tomorrow at Worcester Rugby Club, call Adrienne Plunkett, on 01905 752800.

CAPTION(S):

CHAIRMAN... Lord Laming.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 5, 2006
Words:313
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