Letter: Children let down by shift in fostering

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The Independent Online
Sir, On the one hand Kenneth Redgrave asserts that insufficient funding and training are responsible for the parlous state of child care by social service departments. But on the other he seems to blame those departments for that state of affairs.

A few years ago the social work profession wanted a three-year basic training, the Qualifying Diploma in Social Work. The Government said that was too expensive and opted for the two-year Diploma in Social Work, which we all agree is a basic qualification only. Further, it is the Government that restricts local authority spending by the standard spending assessment and capping for those who exceed it.

Mr Redgrave refers to the "careful planning and assessment which used to be available". In the present system a social worker can do all the assessment possible but at the end has to accept whatever is available, very often something entirely unsuitable. A full inquiry certainly, but let us not start by blaming the social workers who "admit" - as though they are guilty of something - that their specialist training is defective. Very often the recently qualified are the only ones available.

ROBERT CAMERON

Romsey, Hampshire

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