Social workers’ image shattered by Baby P case

By staff

The image of social workers has plummeted since the Baby P case hit the headlines, a survey released today has revealed.

Forty-two per cent of people said their opinion of child social workers has got worse since the tragic case of Baby P.

Fifty-two per cent of people would recommend social work as a career for a family member or friend – compared to just 39 per cent of people who would recommend social work as a career for their own child.

The results come in a poll conducted by ComRes for the Local Government Authority (LGA) last December.

There was substantial support for more resources going to local councils’ children’s social services.

The poll appears to confirm widespread fears in the profession that the case would lead to a decline in respect for child social workers, an increase in departures from the sector and a difficulty in attracting bright young talent.

Paradoxically, such an eventuality could very well make it more likely that child abuse could be missed.

“There are real difficulties for councils in recruiting and retaining high calibre child social worker staff,” said Cllr Margaret Eaton, chairman of the LGA.

“Being a child social worker is one of the toughest jobs in Britain.

“Councils are under pressure to keep council tax down but at the same time demands on many services are rising,” she added.

At any one time, one in ten child social worker posts are vacant