A quarter of newly qualified children’s social workers in England feel their caseloads are too high, a survey by Ofsted has revealed.
Only 55% said their caseloads were protected sufficiently to allow them to undertake their safeguarding responsibilities.
“Caseloads are too high, which means children and families are not visited as often as they should be,” said one respondent. “There is an acceptance that social workers will work in their own time.”
More than 4,000 local authority social workers responded to the survey, of which 11% had been in post for less than 12 months.
About half of all respondents said there weren’t enough qualified and experienced staff in their department and only a quarter said there was an effective caseload management system in place.
Children’s charities responded with concern to the findings. “We know from talking to social workers ourselves that they do not feel that they have adequate time to work with the children and families on their workloads, and this continuing problem needs to be addressed immediately,” said Clare Tickell, chief executive for Action for Children.
“With cases of child neglect increasing over the past year, it’s more crucial than ever that these barriers are removed.”
The Children’s Society said young people found it more difficult to disclose abuse to overworked social workers because they did not have time to build up a trusting relationship.
“Young people in care are amongst society’s most vulnerable children and in order to meet their needs and to develop positive relationships, social workers need to be well supported,” said Penny Nicholls, director for children and young people.
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