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Comment: Keeping vulnerable children safe in Worcestershire
11:14am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in News
IT reads like the dream headline of a variety of newspaper columnist: ‘Senior managers sacked to help pay for more frontline workers’.
Except in this case it is the truth rather than fantasy.
Worcestershire County Council is recruiting 25 social workers to help look after children at risk of harm.
Five senior managers will go in the shake-up, which is being described as “transformational”.
The council has been stung into action after a scathing report two years ago into children’s services at County Hall, and by the national review that followed the notorious Baby P scandal.
The changes will reduce the number of children Worcestershire has to send to expensive privately run care homes.
All this places a welcome emphasis on the notion that we should do all we can to prevent children being put into care.
There is evidence nationally that care homes are often in undesirable neighbourhoods where vulnerable children are placed at further risk.
Staff need fewer qualifications to work in children’s residential care than those of social workers, and yet they must work with children and young people with traumatic histories.
Many staff are not appropriately supervised or supported to manage the emotional impact of their work.
And there are concerns that the cost of a placement sometimes takes precedence over the quality of care offered.
We have a duty to protect the most vulnerable children in our society. Putting them into care should be the option of last resort. This shake-up appears to reaffirm that principle.
Read 'Child care to get big shake-up' here