Letter: Children in care

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Sir: Young people have been let down by the state childcare system (report, 19 November), but we need to be clear as to what action needs to be taken.

The Government refuses to fund a third year of basic social work professional training, leaving UK social workers with an inferior qualification to those in many European and other countries. The social work profession still awaits a regulatory body independent of employers - anyone can call him/herself a "social worker". There is no process for de-registering a social worker. Unless sufficient and appropriate training and regulation are introduced, working with vulnerable children and young people will be relatively easy to achieve.

Rhetoric is not the answer - a quality, well-funded and resourced service is. More important is to put money into preventive services in local communities. Social workers all too often feel as if they are reacting to crises rather than being able to prevent them.

We are taking steps to improve the state care of children, but we will have to accept that abuse and ill-treatment will always occur, because of the deviousness of its perpetrators. We therefore need to look at how to improve care, to minimise the need for children to live away from home and to give a clear message to anyone who ill-treats a child that they will be dealt with in the most severe and uncompromising manner.



Association of Professional Social Workers