Unfilled social work jobs put children at risk


Children are being put at risk because a number of permanent social worker positions are unfilled, new figures indicate.

A series of Freedom of Information requests by the Press Association have revealed that, nationally, 11 per cent of children’s social work jobs are vacant. This number is much higher in some local authorities. For example, in Waltham Forest in London there is a 45 per cent vacancy rate among permanent positions for children’s social workers.

Sutton, a local authority in south-west London, has a vacancy rate of 37 per cent. In Bournemouth it is 34 per cent and in Coventry it is 27 per cent.

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) warned that such gaps could “up the ante” for children who need the most help. Nushra Mansuri is a professional officer at BASW. She said that vulnerable children are at increased risk “if people haven’t got enough capacity to do that work rigorously and thoroughly”.

“It’s not rocket science”, she added.

The College of Social Work (TCSW), the profession’s “centre of excellence”, also expressed concern at the figures. Chief executive Annie Hudson suggested that one factor keeping permanent positions from being filled could be that social work with children is “a difficult job” with “an uneasy public profile at best”.

This summer, social workers in were heavily criticised for their failure to prevent widespread child abuse in Rotherham.

Photo by drpavloff via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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