As the NSPCC releases its annual How safe are our children? report showing that strained frontline social work teams are struggling to provide anything other than an ‘emergency service’, BASW has called for a ‘re-think’ of service planning.
The report cites rising demand for services in the current climate of austerity, an increasing willingness by the public to report suspected child abuse and local authorities raising the threshold at which they intervene to protect children as contributing factors.
At the same time, preventative services that can help families from spiralling into crisis have been cut back.
Commenting on the report findings, BASW professional officer Sue Kent said: “Far too many social workers would endorse the NSPCC's findings that preventative social work is all-but impossible in most children's services departments at the moment.
"Social work is about working with people to find solutions to their problems and it is this kind of preventative and therapeutic approach that prevents families reaching crisis point.
“We need to think hard about a return to the sort of community based social work that supports parents where necessary and uses available resources to prevent crisis, not be forced to intervene once a child’s situation has escalated to a point of no return”.