Social workers are ‘firefighting’ serious cases

family law

Social workers are overwhelmed and struggling to meet demand for their services, a high profile academic has claimed.

Professor Ray Jones is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at Kingston University. Speaking at a social care conference in Bournemouth, he claimed:

“What I am hearing from social workers is that they are having to spend most of the time ‘firefighting’ with the most serious concerns that get presented to them. They are spending a lot of time, including late into the night and at weekends, preparing for court proceedings.”

He continued:

“…something that social workers are telling me is that they are closing down cases very quickly or even turning them away. And they are not able to work through potential cases where children are unhappy and distressed, because they are having to concentrate on cases where there is an immediate danger.”

His claim followed the release of new official figures showing that 32,810 children have been taken into care to date during 2017, bringing the total to 72,670, three per cent more than during 2016 and the biggest rise in seven years according to the Local Government Association (LGA) – the equivalent of 90 children a day.

LGA chair Richard Watts insisted:

“Children’s services are at a tipping point with growing demand for support combining with ongoing council funding pressures to become unsustainable.”

Care proceedings have increased by 130 per cent over the last nine years.

Photo by Rob Swystun via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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