Papering over the cracks
One year after Baby P the Guardian has an article today in which social workers and others involved with child protection give their views on how much progress has been made in children's services. It makes pretty uniformly depressing reading, with recurring complaints of excessive workloads, excessive bureaucracy, shortages of qualified staff, poor remuneration, constant scrutiny and lack of respect. Here are a couple of typical examples:
"It is obvious to social workers that the orders from above are focused on a social worker's ability to fill in forms, rather than whether we have time to sit down with the family or sit and think about how that family functions for the child. Social workers are then being disciplined for not meeting the deadlines."and:
"Around the country I am regularly coming into contact with people ... who are burnt out after 18 months in the job. Social workers are literally serving the machine in office hours and then doing their proper field work at evenings and weekends, all the while facing a barrage of negative press"Is it any wonder that the BBC reports today that a growing number of social workers are leaving the profession? The government points out that there is no shortage of people applying to become social workers, but how many of those will be burnt out 18 months into the job? It seems to me that far more is required than just a flashy recruitment-advertising campaign.