Running the children’s hearing system in Scotland on the cheap is
undermining preventive work with young people and their families,
delegates were told.
Ruth Stark, professional officer at the British Association of
Social Workers Scotland, said under-resourcing of the system had
“crept in” since the mid-1980s. This reduced the time social
workers spent with clients and affected their ability to prioritise
prevention work over formal interventions.
She said: “One of the principles of the hearing system was to
minimise intervention but, because the lack of resources, they
[social workers] can’t do that now. We want to prevent children
being catapulted into the formal system but this takes time and
that’s been squeezed out.”
Stark said that in the 1970s she had time to visit families and
interview children separately.
“Social workers now visit families once every three weeks and don’t
have time to speak to the child on their own.”
Social workers now spend too much time “regurgitating information
and filling in forms”.
“We are losing the analysis about what the issues are,” Stark said.