How devolution is affecting social care: Jane, children’s social worker, Wales

Jane, a children’s social worker from Cardiff, talks about her experiences*.

“Since Baby P, we have definitely seen an increase in referrals. The only real change in practice, though, is that senior managers now regularly take a random collection of files to look at, and asking about boyfriends and stepfathers has become much more high profile; there’s more of an emphasis on finding out what happens in homes in the evenings and at the weekends.
“As for family support services, they are always there when we need them – I use them a lot. But we struggle with Flying Start (an initiative to support 0- to three-year-olds in disadvantaged areas). It delivers some excellent services – but is only available in certain parts of the city. There are a lot of needy families who miss out because of where they live. We end up picking them up, but we haven’t got the same resources. We can’t provide free nursery places for the little ones, which Flying Start can, for example.
“In terms of the Care Council for Wales, I’m not really sure what they do, but I know it’s something to do with if you get reported. It’s useful to know they’re there though – a lot of people don’t understand what we do so, if you’re asked to do something that’s not appropriate, you can say ‘this is my role and if I do x I would be in breach of my code of conduct and could get struck off’. I’ve used that line a couple of times.
“I don’t think devolution has made any difference in terms of how we practice social work in Wales. But when we get new initiatives they do tend to be a version of English initiatives, just a year or so later. I don’t think that’s right. We should have things in line with England. And it’s also my understanding that we don’t get the same level of resources per capita as England either. I think that’s the case for health services in Wales too.”
* Name has been changed.


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