Child Protection and Social Work

1111 Words5 Pages
Many councils in England are catastrophically incompetent at running children's services. They are so overwhelmed with work they resist doing anything difficult or inconvenient. Fateful moments to intervene effectively with dysfunctional families are being missed, sometimes with tragic consequences which I detail below. In the family justice system poor social work practice prior to a case coming to court is the real reason for a loss of confidence in Family Courts - inconsistency in decision-making gives the impression that the wrong children are being taken into care. At the root of these problems is a failure of children's services to act lawfully because of a lack of knowledge of the Children Act 1989. The 1989 Act is an excellent piece of legislation and gives social workers adequate powers for protecting children from significant harm. However, key duties and principles are being forgotten since the introduction of the Children Act 2004. This Act aimed to focus services more effectively around 'children in need' through inter-agency working. At the same time a standardised approach to assessing children's needs, the Common Assessment Framework, was introduced with new procedures for initial and core assessments and reviews. Unfortunately, this has contributed to making the detection of 'possible risk of significant harm' more difficult. Many social workers no longer feel confident about making balanced judgements in complex safeguarding situations. Furthermore, one of the key principles of the 2004 Act that 'safeguarding is everyone's responsibility' has allowed social workers to deny their own responsibility for child protection work. This has been compounded by the abolition of the child protection register, an important social work tool for working with children at risk. As a consequence, many social workers do not develop a sound grasp of the term
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