Values at risk in children’s services, says top director

The joint president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services has warned that social work values could be lost through the marginalisation of social workers within children’s services departments.

John Coughlan (pictured) last week told a Local Government Association conference on working across children’s and adults’ services that in his own local authority, Hampshire, 2,000 people worked directly for the children’s services department of which 200 were qualified social workers.

“They [the social workers] are a minority now and I worry that important values shouldn’t be lost,” he said.

Care services minister Ivan Lewis told the conference that the government was reviewing the training arrangements for social workers, but refused to say whether the three-year degree course would be split into children and families degrees.

“The government is looking at making sure training reflects the realities of a different system and society so it needs to be consistent with Every Child Matters and also with an adult social care system that is going to have a much bigger emphasis on personalisation,” he said.

The Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health last month denied a split was being considered.

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 Amy Taylor

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