NEW figures show dozens of children in Kirklees are being neglected.
Kirklees Council revealed yesterday that 240 young people in the district are classed as “at significant risk”.
More than 100 of these children are being neglected.
Several high-profile cases of child neglect and cruelty have come to light in Kirklees in the last few years, including kidnapped Dewsbury schoolgirl Shannon Matthews, murdered Deighton toddler Sanam Navsarka and murdered four-year-old Leticia Wright.
Sanam’s evil stepfather, 21-year-old Subhan Anwar, was jailed for a minimum of 23 years for her murder in February last year.
Her mother, 21-year-old Zahbeena Navsarka, was sentenced to nine years in jail after she was cleared of her daughter’s murder but found guilty of her manslaughter.
Peter Seaton, 23, and his partner, Leticia’s mother Sharon Wright, 24, were jailed in August 2007 for her murder. Both must also serve at least 23 years.
Shannon Matthews ‘vanished’ on her way to school in Dewsbury in February 2009 sparking a massive 24-day police hunt in February 2008.
Her mother, 34-year-old Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan, 41, were both jailed for the kidnap of Shannon.
She was found hiding inside a divan bed at Donovan’s flat in Batley Carr less than two miles from Shannon’s home in Moorside Road, Dewsbury Moor.
Both were handed eight-year jail terms after they were convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.
The figures come as a new survey shows up to 10% of young people are being neglected.
The charity Action for Children asked 250 young people in Yorkshire if they had noticed signs of neglect among their classmates.
Some 27% of those questioned said they had seen at least four other children in the last year whose clothes were old, smelly or did not fit.
And 18% of children said they knew at least four other young people who were often unwashed and dirty.
A Kirklees spokeswoman said the Action for Children report highlighted the problem of child neglect.
“This report lends further weight to the need for continued focus upon those families where neglect is a significant feature,” she said.
The spokeswoman outlined how the council was dealing with the problem.
She said: “Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board – a group of senior managers from key agencies – very carefully monitors the numbers of children which agencies are working with under the child protection arrangements.
“The board also arranges multi-agency training on key issues and recently ran a course for practitioners on the subject of neglect.
“Sometimes, these courses are set up in response to lessons learned from cases where particular problems arise.
“In recent years, the council and some of its partners have invested heavily in children’s centres. In fact, Action For Children run a number of these centres in Kirklees.
“Amongst a range of other work, the centres provide important additional resources to help to support some situations where concerns about child neglect have been raised.
“Working with families in which children are being neglected is extremely challenging. It raises dilemmas about what is ‘good enough’ parenting.
“Ultimately, it is for the courts to decide if a child has to be removed from home.”