Social workers’ caseloads likely to rise, charities warn

Charities are warning children's social workers will see their caseloads rise over the next three years unless the government takes immediate action.

The government has been urged to take immediate action

More than a million children will be living in ‘vulnerable families’ come 2015, three leading children’s charities warned today.

In a joint report Action for Children, The Children’s Society and the NSPCC warned that an extra 78,880 children will be living in families with four or more vulnerabilities in 2015, compared to 2010, bringing the total to 1,002,650 across Britain.

Lisa Harker, head of strategy at the NSPCC, said that unless the government takes immediate action to address the problem social workers will come under even more pressure in the next three years.

“The Communities and Local Government department estimates that there are child protection concerns in one in three vulnerable families so social workers are very likely to see their caseloads increase if nothing is done,” she said.

The charities’ report, In the Eye of the Storm, sets out seven signs of vulnerability. They are: poor quality or overcrowded housing; no parent in work; no parent with an academic or vocational qualification; a mother with mental health problems; at least one parent with a limiting long-standing illness or disability; income below 60% of the national median average; and an inability to buy items of food or clothing.

The report estimates that by 2015 a further 38,826 children will be in ‘extremely vulnerable’ families – affected by six or seven of signs of vulnerability.

The charities blamed a cocktail of recession, tax and benefit reforms and public service cuts for the expected rise and called on the government to address the problem.

Clare Tickell, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “Through our own services we are already seeing first-hand the damaging effects taking their toll.

“This report is an opportunity for the Government to take stock of their decisions so measures are taken with children’s futures in mind.”

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