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More Children in Care Equals Higher Risk of Claims

30 September 2011

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement (29 September 2011) that only 60 babies were adopted last year, comes the news that the number of children in care in England has increased to 65,520.

Monitoring these placements is not easy, it involves social workers working with multidisciplinary teams and families to try and work out what is best for each child. We are seeing an increasing number of claims arising out of such placements (and indeed failure to make such placements). To defend each claim we have to read lots of paper and electronic documents. We also need to spend valuable hours with practitioners so that we can explain what Social Work Practice means on the ground, and why decision making is not simple. The amount of time this involves is breathtaking yet quite often the value of the claim relatively low.

Sadly my view is that Social Workers may, like health professionals, have to become used to the idea that giving evidence in professional negligence claims is simply part of the job. Employers can make that change of culture easier by providing regular training and support.

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