Social workers feel ‘powerless’ to help neglected children

children, family law

A significant number of social workers feel powerless to intervene in cases involving child neglect, a new survey reveals.

Charity Action for Children talked to over 1,000 professionals who work with children, such as teachers, police and medical personnel. The report found that more than 40 per cent of social workers have felt powerless in child neglect cases and 32 per cent claimed they lacked time and resources to properly help.

Sir Tony Hawkhead is the charity’s chief executive. He said that the situation “cannot go on like this”. The combination of limited resources and an ever increasing caseload for social workers “are combining to create a perfect storm putting children in danger”, he said.

It is “unsustainable” to only respond to specific crises, Sir Tony added. He called for a better investment of funds in early action as, “in the majority of cases, neglect can be prevented or reduced”.

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) concurred with the findings. They claimed that part of the problem is the increasingly high thresholds for intervention. Nushra Mansuri, professional officer at the BASW, said that this meant “social workers can only intervene in the most serious of cases”.

She expressed concern that “a basic lack of preventative services is leaving too many children at risk”.

Social workers were not alone in this feeling. According to the Action for Children report, 30 per cent of police officers, 23 per cent of doctors and 37 per cent of teachers also reported feeling powerless in such cases.

To read the charity’s full report, click here.

Photo by wsilver via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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