Social services are improving in the West Midlands, official inspectors revealed today.
But Sandwell received the lowest rating possible after inspectors warned it was failing to look after vulnerable children properly.
Social service departments across the country were awarded a star rating, with the best achieving three stars. But Sandwell was one of only three nationwide to receive a rating of zero stars.
Birmingham achieved one star, up from zero last year. But inspectors warned there were still serious concerns about its services for young people. Wolverhampton, Walsall, Warwickshire, Telford & Wrekin, Solihull, Dudley and Coventry received two stars.
A three-star rating was achieved by Worcestershire and Shropshire.
Assessments of Stoke, Staffordshire and Herefordshire have not yet been completed.
The Commission for Social Care Inspection, which carried out the inspections, said the Midlands had improved overall compared with last year.
A spokesman said: " Disappointingly, Sandwell council this year dropped to a zero rating.
"This reflects CSCI's concern about the council's work to ensure children and young people are protected from harm."
Councillor Darren Cooper, Sandwell cabinet member for children's services, said: "We accept wholeheartedly that the service has not been good but I am confident of improving outcomes for children in the borough.
"We are almost a year on since the inspection and and we have begun to lay the foundations of a first class, comprehensive and integrated children's service."
Sarah Norman, CSCI West Midlands regional director, said: "I am delighted the region now has two authorities with a three-star rating.
"They reflect the significant progress both have made in relation to adult and children's social care and their excellent capacity for further improvement.
"Birmingham received its first star, for improved services, but we are still concerned about the levels of services for children with disabilities.
"Sandwell proved disappointing this year and we have already started working with them to tackle the issues highlighted."
Across the country, 75 per cent of all councils in England have now achieved two or three stars.
However, one in four councils still languish near the bottom with one or no stars at all, and five councils have lost their three-star status.
Chief Inspector David Behan said: "The overall picture in 2005 is one of improvement. But 25 per cent of councils are still only achieving one star, or none at all.
"Furthermore, ten councils have this year fallen to a one-star rating, and one has fallen to zero stars. This is unacceptable."