Edinburgh referrals put pressure on staff

Children on Edinburgh Council’s child protection register are not
as safe as they should be, according to an external review ordered
after the death of Caleb Ness and published last week.

Front-line workers are dedicated and hard-working but the system is
weakened by under-resourcing, says the report. The problem is
compounded by a 150 per cent increase in referrals from other
agencies since the O’Brien report into 11-week-old Caleb’s death
last October.

The “dramatic and intense” rise coincides with the loss of staff in
children and families teams, which is a “major cause for concern”,
concludes the report.

Authors professor Stuart Forsyth, Douglas Kerr and Anne Black
examined in-depth 41 cases on the child protection register between
December 2003 and July 2004.

Their report says there are 38 vacancies in children and families
teams, while social workers undertake tasks below their skills,
such as driving children to nursery.

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