This week it was announced that the Frontline Children’s Social Work Training Programme would receive vital funding, the aim being to increase the number of Children’s Social Workers within the UK by 2021. Government data published in November last year shows the current number of Children being taken into care is the highest it has been over the past 10 years, with 75,420 Looked After Children at the end of March 2018; a 4% increase on 2017.The pressure on our sector is the highest it has ever been, with the number of Children in care increasing every year since 2008 when the total was around 60,000.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has identified the essential need for more skilled Social Workers within our sector and pledged £45million of funding in order to increase the amount of training offered by a further 900 places. With Frontline research showing “44% of adults aged 18 – 34 are considering a change of career this year" it is the perfect time to implement such a programme. Hinds commented that "Social Workers are heroes, often unsung, of our society - working on the frontline to offer care and support to some of the most vulnerable children and families in the country"; showing he understands the current pressure on the industry, and the crucialneed to increase numbers of skilled social workers.
With the pressure on our current Social Work force, I’m sure we can all agree bringing on-board more capable and dedicated workers will benefit everybody. I recently spoke with a current Locum of mine, Christine Allen – Operational Commissioning Manager in Wokingham Borough Council about the news and here are her thoughts:
“Great news from Damian Hinds, Education Secretary. A recognition of the challenges of the need for more frontline social workers to respond to the needs of vulnerable children and their families. There is a growing body of evidence to show that, compared to intervening later in the lives of vulnerable children and their families, early help is more effective at changing behaviour, is more cost effective and has more chance of being successful. Hopefully this can now be possible with increased social worker numbers."
To achieve this retention has to be a key factor, whilst there is an acknowledgement that it will take time before social worker numbers increase, when it does so this will have a noticeable impact on workforce stability and reduce caseloads of frontline social workers. Thereby hopefully reducing the incidences of ‘burnout’ and allow vulnerable children and their families to have continuity of social worker over a period of years as opposed to days/months, as can often be the case. This can only be of benefit to society”
As a Social Work Recruitment Consultant in Children Services myself, I am always keen to stay on top of updates within our sector and hear your thoughts. Please do get in touch with me to let me know what you think of the news. I personally am looking forward to being able to support the new recruits that will be joining us in the coming years, along with our current experienced work force!
For more details on the Frontline programme please see below: