Hodge promises to raise status of social work

Margaret Hodge

The minister for children and young people pledged that one of her
first tasks in her new role would be to raise the status of social
work, writes Clare Jerrom.

Margaret Hodge, in her first public appearance since her
appointment last month, said she would be looking at how the
government could provide better routes and opportunities into the

Speaking at the Local Government Association conference on the
yet-to-be-published children’s green paper, Hodge said the
workforce needed to grow “so that children are not left at
risk of abuse because we haven’t got enough people to protect

But she said the government also wanted social work
professionals to work more closely with other professionals.

“Only when we get better at working together across the
boundaries can we be certain that we are making every effort to
prevent tragedies like the death of Victoria Climbie.”

Hodge said she hoped she would soon be able to use the title of
“minister for children, young people and families” as
that would better reflect her new role.

She acknowledged that there was disappointment at the delay of
the publication of the green paper on children, but insisted that
the fact the prime minister wanted to be personally involved in the
launch demonstrated his commitment and that of the whole

Hodge added that the delay would not stop the government taking
any necessary immediate action to further the interests of
children. She said she would be announcing the first
children’s trusts pilots later this week, and would shortly
be launching a document consulting on the government’s ideas
on how to spend the £25 million Parenting Fund.

She also hinted that moving responsibility for youth justice
from the home office to the department for education and skills to
be with the rest of children’s services was a possibility in
the long-term if the restructuring appeared to work in

Further moves might occur in time, she said, “but
don’t let’s bite off more than we can chew”.

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