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Rise in referrals necessary, but more money needed to cope

Commenting on Cafcass’ announcement that the number of children referred into care in England has hit a record high, Sue Kent, BASW professional officer, said:

“It is necessary that referrals are on the rise, as child protection is every member of society’s responsibility, but social workers are seeing resources being cut, not increased.

“The government must put more money into preventative services, so that social workers can intervene with families who are struggling to cope at an early stage, rather than expecting the care system to pick up the pieces when things go wrong.

“Removing a child from their family must always be a last resort, but the government focuses on shutting the door once the horse has bolted, when these families need help straight away.

“Today’s announcement of increased care applications comes as no surprise; members have been reporting their concern over recent months about their ability to cope with such a high and increasing demand.

“As local authorities review their spending and cut back on provision, social workers are left struggling on the front line to provide a good service to children who need protecting.

“Our members report that they are working far more than their contracted hours and dealing with a rising number of cases. They are also experiencing such levels of stress and ‘burnout’, that they are leaving the profession altogether.

“The government must stop cutting resources aimed at protecting children and ensure that social workers have the time and resources to carry out the difficult job of keeping children safe from neglect and abuse.”