“Why am I going to confide in someone I have only known for 5 minutes?”
Those were the words of a seventeen-year old young man who experienced four changes of social worker during the last 22 months of his life. According to the serious case review report the records indicate that he saw no one social worker more than five times during that period.
The young man was subject to a full care order. He was found hanged and later died in hospital. According to the coroner, the exact causes of his death still remain unclear.
Vulnerable children and young people cannot be expected to form trusting relationships with their social workers if the social worker keeps changing. High turnover of children’s social workers is an important cause of poor quality and unsafe services. There’s no point wringing hands and blaming the local authority concerned in this case. Failing to retain children’s social workers is a national disease which has been going on for years and years. It’s about time for some more effective medicine.
We need a national strategy on retention and we need it now.