Social workers should have a key role in the personalisation agenda for disabled children to ensure the needs of families do not eclipse the needs of children, according to the Council for Disabled Children.
At the National Adults and Children’s Services conference in London Christine Lenehan, director of the Council for Disabled Children said personalisation offered the chance to really get to grips with this issue which had long dogged disabled children’s services.
“And I think only social workers have the skills to be able to work constructively with families but always keeping the needs of the child at the centre of our focus.”
Ann Baxter, director of children’s services at Camden, said often personalisation was hampered by the fear of both middle managers and social workers of letting go and giving parents more power over their children’s care.
Clive Miller, principal in social care for the Office of Public Management, said often what was needed was an acceptance from both sides that parents and social workers brought equal but different expertise to the process.
One member of the audience said there needed to be more debate about the role of the social worker in personalisation for children. “I think they are needed only if a case has safeguarding issues or if a child becomes looked-after. Otherwise what is needed is a ‘get-it-done’ worker.”
However, Lenehan said she hoped social workers would remain as brokers in the personalisation process. “We often hear these arguments that social work assistants can do this kind of work but in my opinion it takes real skill to tease out some of these issues around conflicting need and I hope very much that it will remain a social worker role.”
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