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Inquiry launched into children's social care workforce

Education committee will examine what social workers need and whether they are able to intervene early with families

Published on 23rd July 2019

An inquiry examining what social workers need to ensure children receive the best possible help and protection has been launched by The Education Committee.

The children's social care workforce inquiry will explore the capacity of social workers to intervene early to support families and how effectively social workers can access professional development.

It will also look at how initiatives and reforms to social work training have impacted on the workforce and how far social workers are supported to uphold their responsibilities under relevant legislation.

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said: "Children, young people and their families receive vital support from social workers. Yet children and their families in receipt of social work support are often those who have the worst outcomes. For example, 14% of looked after children get five good GCSEs, 39% of care leavers are NEET [not in education, employment or training], and one in four women who had a child removed through the family courts is likely to go back to court to have another child removed."

The inquiry will look at the children's social care workforce, examining what is needed from social work, and by social workers.

The committee recognises that that the inquiry is likely to pick up on concerns about the impact of time-pressures on social care work, with increasing reports of time not being available to social workers to properly do their work. There is also likely to be a focus on issues such as the causes and impact of high turnover of staff in some social care departments across the country.

The committee is inviting written submissions addressing the following questions:
The capacity and ability of social workers to:

- Intervene early to help, support and protect children and their families

- Uphold their responsibilities under relevant legislation

- Access appropriate and meaningful professional development and support; and

- Work with other professionals who play a role in the care of children within the education and health systems

How initiatives and reforms to social work training have impacted on the social work workforce.

The deadline for written evidence submissions is Friday 30 August.

Robert Halfon added: "Reports suggest that children are under increasing pressures as they grow up, facing up to a rise in mental health problems, a rise in knife crime and serious violence, and experiencing a range of challenges in areas such as social media use. We want to explore what social work looks like in 2019 and examine the skills and support that social workers need to keep children and young people safe from harm and to help them grow up to thrive as adults.

"This inquiry will build on the committee's previous work on fostering, alternative provision and special educational needs, and continue to make the case for greater support for young people as they grow up. We want all children to have the very best start in life, and social workers play vital roles in keeping families together, children and young people safe and providing much needed support," he concluded.

Send a written submission to the Children’s social care workforce inquiry

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