Children’s Social Care is about changing lives. It is about a wide workforce providing support and intervention at the right time, in the right way, with the right results.
Getting our system, services and practice right for every child does not mean treating every child the same. It means understanding and supporting the unique needs, experiences and strengths of each child. Due to severe budget cuts, there is evidence of some councils rolling back their services to the statutory minimum, which has resulted in a reduction in the availability of universal provision and an increasing need to be clear about the role of the social worker and our expectations of services. More work is needed to consider how best to adapt practice, assessment and intervention for children with a range of impairments at an individual, local and national level.
What are we doing?
With the national reform programme for children’s social care, there is increasing focus on social workers having a robust set of knowledge and skills to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families. However, there is a lack of dialogue about the additional skills and knowledge required to meet the needs of disabled children. We have seen a national trend of managers of disabled children teams retiring, leaving behind gaps in expertise whilst research has revealed a lack of confidence among many social workers when working with disabled children. Research tells us that while some social workers receive training in communication with disabled children, others report a lack of relevant training available along with high staff workloads, perceiving work with disabled children as requiring specialist knowledge and much time.