School social workers will lead to more child abuse referrals

    Referrals concerning vulnerable children will increase once social
    workers are based within schools and doctors surgeries, the
    Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) has warned.

    Strategic adviser for social care, and a former director of
    Cornwall Council, Nigel Druce said the rise would come because
    professionals such as teachers currently often tried to deal with
    concerns themselves.

    Speaking at a fringe meeting on the Children Bill, Druce said: “In
    my experience of being a director of social services in Cornwall,
    the moment you put social workers in surgeries, for example,
    referrals shoot up.

    “There will be many more referrals coming into the system and I
    don’t think that has been factored in by the Department for
    Education and Skills,” he added.

    Druce said the day after the Children Act was published there would
    be no more children at risk than there were now but they would
    become more visible and councils would need to be prepared for the
    extra demand on their services.

    “For the past 25 years we have damped down the scale of children in
    need of services but it has become a growing problem – but largely
    hidden.”

    Paul Roberts, strategic adviser on education at the IDeA, added
    that there could be funding problems once adult and children’s
    services were split as overspends on children’s provision were
    currently frequently covered by other parts of the social services
    department’s budget.

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