Leading article: Social workers need support

Share
Related Topics

The shocking death of Khyra Ishaq, who starved after months of abuse at the hands of her mother and stepfather, has drawn attention once again to the failings of child protection services. Publication this week of the full serious case review into Khyra's death has revealed for the first time the extent of the communications failures and missed opportunities that contributed to the death of seven-year-old Khyra.

The 180-page report is the first serious case review into the death of a child to be published in full following reforms introduced by the coalition Government. It makes grim reading, concluding that Khyra's death had been preventable and that some professionals had "lost sight" of their responsibilities to protect her. Instead, they focused on the rights of the girl's mother and her partner. It also blamed a severe lack of communication between her school, social workers and other agencies dating back to March 2006. They also found that social workers had not listened to school staff members' concerns about Khyra, and contact by two worried members of the public was not acted on.

The publication has coincided with an Ofsted survey showing that almost two-thirds of front-line social workers felt that they could not properly assess individual cases because of bureaucracy and high workloads. Many complained that the sheer level of paperwork and the amount of time recording information on computers got in the way. The Government has already commissioned a major review of the system to slash the red tape to allow them to spend more face-to-face time building relationships with vulnerable families.

Social work has always been a Cinderella service, underpaid, understaffed and under-resourced. Many of the families that social workers have to deal with are uncooperative at best and can often be threatening and intimidating. The surge in child protection cases following the death of baby Peter Connelly in 2007 has only put an overstretched service under even more pressure. And the public spending cuts threaten to make matters even worse.

Social workers need better training and more support if they are to have any chance of truly protecting the most vulnerable children. These youngsters need a high-quality service delivered by fully professional, highly trained and motivated staff. It is time to stop reforming the system and start supporting good social workers by ensuring that they have the support, training and respect they deserve.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ukip leader Nigel Farage  

Election 2015: Ukip is a non-sectarian, non-racist party with a forward-thinking plan for Britain

Nigel Farage
Nicola Sturgeon with voters today in Inverness  

Election 2015: It's not about independence or another referendum — but having our voices heard

Nicola Sturgeon
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power