Residential child care in Wales has experienced “significant turnover” and a disproportionate number of conduct referrals since the introduction of mandatory registration, the Care Council for Wales reveals in its annual review.
The review, covering 2010-11, found that, of 1,500 residential child care workers registered three years ago when registration became compulsory for staff, just 1,011 were now registered.
Of residential child care staff registered in 2008, half were required to achieve a qualification before they renewed their registration in 2011 and early indications are that most would achieve this. However, the report said that the figures “suggest a significant turnover of staff in residential child care”, which it plans to examine in a report next month.
The regulator also round a disproportionate number of residential child care workers were referred for alleged conduct breaches; the group comprised 55% of the 178 referrals in 2010-11 despite accounting for only 21% of registrants. A “significant number” of referrals related to concerns over the restraint of children by staff.
Though many allegations were not proven, the Care Council for Wales said this was an “area of concern” and that it was in talks with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and Welsh government to review policy and guidance.
Just 12 cases resulted in a conduct hearing in 2010-11, with misconduct found in 11 of them. Six people were struck off, two suspended and three admonished.
The review also outlined the steps it has taken to help professionalise the social work and social care sectors. Among them are the development of a framework to increase the skills of social workers and retain more experienced practitioners on the frontline, and new qualifications in health, social care and children’s care.
There has also been work to accredit in-house learning and the production of a range of resources to support practitioners.
“Regulation of social workers and other practitioners is now well-embedded in Wales,” said Rhian Huws Williams, Care Council for Wales’s chief executive.
“We are dealing with more conduct referrals and taking action in the minority of cases where standards are falling below acceptable levels. Regulation also provides us with important data about the workforce that helps shape our plans to develop the skills of social workers and social care workers.”
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