Shock rise in drink and self-harming

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Soaring rates of self-harming youngsters and above average hospital attendances by intoxicated young people in Lancashire have been revealed in a shocking report.

Child care watchdog the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board has admitted in its annual report that it has key areas of concern, although there was also much to praise.

Councillors attending Lancashire County Council’s cabinet meeting were told of the worrying statistics.

They include: n A disproportionately high death rate among youngsters of Asian and Pakistani heritage;

n The county’s high rate of “looked after” children compared to national averages and the significant number of such children placed for care or fostering in Lancashire by other councils;

n An increase in concerns about possible child sexual exploitation – although there has been no increase in recorded crime;

n Above average rates of hospital admissions for self harm in young people (524 per 100,000 compared to a national average of 412) and of under 18s admitted to hospital with alcohol specific conditions(62 per 100,000 compared to a national average of 40); and

n Concerns about mothers smoking, child obesity and tooth decay.

County Coun Geoff Driver asked how many of those affected by excess alcohol or self harming were or had been children in Lancashire’s care. The leader of Lancashire County Council Coun Jennifer Mein agreed this should be provided, saying : “We do need to know – as corporate parents we need to know.”