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BASW England statement on Care Crisis Review

The review dovetails with BASW's 80-20 campaign for more relationship based, direct practice...

The Care Crisis Review report highlights a number of complex social, political, economic, practice and leadership factors that are contributing to the increase of children entering the care system and an increase in care proceedings. Children living in deprived areas are 11 times more likely to end up on a Child Protection Plan and children from Black Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds are overrepresented on child protection plans. Austerity means that local authority spending is not keeping pace with the steadily rising demand for children’s services. In England, the reduction in funding for early help and family support intervention and more community strength focussed approaches is affecting our ability to prevent children coming into care. Social workers and partners need to be empowered to be wider system and Practice Leaders, but they need the time and support to think and practice differently.

BASW England Manager, Maris Stratulis, says ‘Social workers want to work do a good job and develop appropriate relationships with children and families, one of the core messages from the report is that there needs to be more focus on relationship-based practice – children, families, practitioners and research is telling us that needs to happen, we must listen to the voices that count. BASW England has been strongly advocating for a national focus on relationship based social work and launched the 80/20 campaign in collaboration with the Office of the Children's Commissioner. We are currently working with partners to explore innovative ways to reduce the amount of time social workers spend on red tape bureaucratic processes and administration and re-focus on investing in relationship based social work. Effective high quality social work is only viable if employers create a conducive work environment, manageable caseloads, regular good quality reflective supervision, investment in continuous professional development underpinned by leadership that creates a culture of meaningful partnership with staff, children, families and partnership organisations.'

There needs to be a move from protective intervention practice to meaningful relationship based social work at a national, regional and local level and we need to learn from good practice in other nations and from an international perspective and involve children, families and practitioners at the heart of this culture change.

Collectively we have got to support social workers and move away from the blame culture and challenge negative media coverage – social workers, young people and families need to be supported to tell the good news- stories.

BASW supports the options for change and is committed to working in partnership with children, families, partner organisations and government to make this happen.