A total of 53 recommendations have been put forward for improving the way agencies deal with vulnerable young people and their families in Pembrokeshire, following reports into two serious cases.

The independent Overview Reports looked at the cases of local youngsters known as Child B and Child C.

The review of the Child B case involved a ten-year-old girl who was sexually abused by the adopted son of her foster carer.

Enquiries by police and social services discovered that she had been regularly abused by the adopted son in her foster home from the age of six.

In 2006 he was convicted of rape and sentenced to a minimum of six years imprisonment.

However, the review found "no evidence that any agency or professional was aware of information that should have led them to invoke safeguarding procedures to protect Child B or any other child in the household."

The second review examined the case of a 15-year-old boy, who took an overdose of drugs in January 2007.

Child C suffered serious and permanent impairment of his health as result of the overdose.

Local child protection agencies had previously been involved with both children and in July 2007 the Pembrokeshire Safeguarding Children Board began two Serious Case Reviews.

Independent authors were commissioned for both Serious Case Reviews. They have written Overview Reports and Executive Summaries of the Overview Reports in both cases.

In the case of Child B the report puts forward 33 recommendations on how services can be improved.

In addition to suggesting improvements in the way agencies work together and are more consistent in their approaches, the report also recommends a tightening of procedures governing the number of children in foster homes, improvements to the training of foster carers and changes in the way they are assessed.

The council said that over the last four years the local authority had made a significant investment in its fostering service. This has 'contributed to better outcomes for children and young people looked after by Pembrokeshire County Council in a number of ways.'

A larger pool of foster carers means that placement choice and stability has increased while support for children in placements has improved with fewer foster children being placed in each foster family, and better levels of support for foster carers.

The service is also inspected annually by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) and has received positive reports.

The report also recommends that the Welsh Assembly Government should consider issuing guidance and advice on the risk to children of different sexes, who are not biologically related, living together in foster homes.

In the case of Child C, 20 recommendations have been made including calling for improvements in the way agencies work together to address the cumulative harm in families and vulnerable children affected by chronic needs and risks that do not meet levels that trigger formal interventions.

It also suggests improvements in the way agencies deal with families that intimidate agency workers and calls for a review of multi agency arrangements dealing with youngsters who persistently offend or are at risk from the misuse of drink and drugs.

The Pembrokeshire Safeguarding Children Board has developed action plans to meet these recommendations. Since the cases referred to in the reports took place several years ago, many of the issues raised in the reports have already been addressed.

The Executive Summaries are public documents and will be available to the public on Pembrokeshire County Council's website www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk