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half of social workers feel ‘powerless’ to stop child neglect

24 January 2012

Research by Action for Children shows half of social workers ‘feel powerless’ to stop children being neglected due to high thresholds and inadequate resources. 80% of social workers warned that cuts will make it more difficult to intervene in neglect cases.

It is obviously difficult to make meaningful cuts in expenditure without decreasing the quality of service provided. No doubt local authorities are monitoring this balancing act very closely, and clarion calls such as this should be listened to.

However, thresholds and resources are two very different issues, and there is real danger if they are conflated. If the threshold is too low, then it is too low whatever the resources position. A lack of resources should not be a reason to lower the threshold – it would be wrong to make it easier to remove a child from his parents because social workers have less capacity to investigate the home situation. The budgets cuts create real pressure, and clear heads are needed.

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