The decline in the safeguarding of children at Werrington YOI coincides with the departure of the social worker based there, which is no coincidence.
Two years ago, the Youth Justice Board introduced social worker posts into all YOIs in England and Wales. Since then it has continually bickered with government over who pays for the 25 posts. Almost half the posts now stand vacant because social workers, understandably, want a job with financial security beyond March 2008 when funding expires.
These posts are vital if we are to improve the prospects of young people in custody and the YJB should be ashamed to say it has a child protection and safeguarding development programme until it has resolved this issue.
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This article appeared in the magazine under the headline “Cheques not in the post”