Social workers working with children and families feel
ill-equipped to carry out their job, according to the findings of a
Community Care child welfare survey,
The study reveals that more than half of the 200 social workers
quizzed believe they and their colleagues have not been “adequately
trained” to meet the demands placed upon them.
In addition, 11 per cent feel they do not receive enough support
from their manager when making difficult decisions about the
welfare of children in child protection.
Of the government’s various initiatives aimed at improving child
welfare, Quality Protects is deemed to have been the most
successful, with 80 per cent of those surveyed describing it as
very or fairly effective.
Fifty-eight per cent of social workers feel Sure Start – an
initiative aimed at helping parents in areas of need to promote the
physical, intellectual, social and emotional development of
children under four – is also very or fairly effective.
However, the Connexions strategy – under which all 13 to
19-years-olds will be allocated a personal mentor – and the
Children’s Fund appear to have made less of an impact, with around
60 per cent of social workers claiming to be uncertain of either
One in five social workers believe there is a greater number of
child abuse cases going undetected these days than compared with
five years ago – partly as a result of a lack of resources and
staff shortages. Almost three quarters feel a children’s
commissioner for England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, similar
to the one recently appointed in Wales, would improve the
Drug abuse among parents – in particular heroin abuse – was
cited as a growing factor in child protection cases over the last
five years by almost eight out of 10 social workers.
A third of respondents also believe sexual abuse has become more
of a problem in child protection cases over the last five years,
while three-quarters believe there is a direct relationship between
the viewing of child pornography over the net and the abuse of
More than two thirds of the social workers surveyed had been
threatened with violence an average of five times in the course of
their work over the past five years, and twenty per cent had been a
victim of violence an average of twice.