Poverty blamed children 'at risk' in parts of Derry hits record high
Child poverty and neglect in parts of Londonderry has been blamed for a rise in the number of children on the "at risk" register of the Western Trust.
Figures show that for the six months up to December, 421 children were on the Child Protection Register - 62 more than in the previous six months.
The Trust is also dealing with a record number of children who have been removed from their family homes.
The number of children under the care of the Western Trust has risen to 610, a record high.
Kieran Downey, Western Trust director of children's services, said: "We have seen an increase in the number of children on the 'at risk' register and the reason for that is mainly down to child poverty with families experiencing quiet a lot of hardship but also neglect.
"We have also seen an increase in the number of children being neglected, which manifests itself in malnutrition, and significant levels of poor hygiene that indicates a need for monitoring."
He added that "we need to understand why we are seeing an increase, and that is the impact of poverty".