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High caseloads raise child protection fears

8 November 2011

Two local authorities have recently reported concerns about the high caseloads social workers have to manage. Cardiff City Council have received a 36 – 38% increase in referrals whilst Kent said that its social workers managed caseloads of more than 40 cases, and sometimes up to 60 or 70.

Although measures have been taken by both local authorities to relieve the pressures, social workers are concerned that the quality of care provided to vulnerable children will be reduced, and that something could go seriously wrong. These authorities do not find themselves in a unique position. The challenge for all authorities is to balance the necessary savings they need to make with the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society.

However, forced savings today could represent a false economy tomorrow. If those children in care now consider that the service provided to them by their social worker is inadequate future negligence claims could result, costing authorities and insurers six-figure sums to manage.

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