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Social workers being ‘distracted’ by serious case reviews

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Social workers are spending “a lot of time” on serious case reviews rather than protecting children, an academic has claimed.

Ray Jones is Professor of Social Work at London’s Kingston University. Appearing on the Today programme the day after Amanda Hutton was convicted of starving her son to death, he said social workers were under considerable time constraints  and often had “to cut corners to get the day job done”.

Serious case reviews must be  carried out whenever a child is seriously injured or dies due to abuse or neglect, in order to establish any lessons to be learned. Approximately 200 are carried out each year. According to the Telegraph, Professor Jones told listeners:

“The process of doing the serious case review is very time consuming and it’s a big distraction for managers from what’s happening now. If you were going to go through them all, you’d actually spend a lot of time reading serious case reviews rather than trying to protect children.”

Social workers already know the fundamentals of child protection, he insisted, saying there is “not much learning left to be done”.

“We know what makes good child protection practice. But it’s very difficult to drill down into that because we have a system under tremendous pressure. People are having to cut corners to get the day job done and that’s not going to make children safer.”

The UK has a much lower rate of fatal child neglect than other European countries, he added.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Tulsa Divorce Lawyer Matt Ingham says:

    It sounds like the social workers are too bogged down with litigation concerns and are unable to focus enough of their resources on doing what they were actually hired to do: protect children.

  2. Nick Langford (@4orseti) says:

    Karen Woodall – of the Centre for Separated Families – has recently expressed very clearly and succinctly why social workers are not protecting children. It is the “systemic use of gender biased practice which focuses practitioners not on the needs of children, but on the rights and needs of women”. She continues, “Gender biased family services, upholding the rights and needs of women above those of children, are killing those children in a neighborhood near you and until we name it, we are never going to stop it”.

    It is important that serious case reviews continue to be published so that we can see for ourselves the consequences of these policies. Professor Jones appears to suggest these reviews be halted so that the public can no longer see what is done in our name and social workers can continue to allow children to die without scrutiny or accountability.

    It is abundantly clear that social workers do not know “what makes good child protection practice”.

  3. Andrew says:

    Karen Woodall is spot on and it is, unfortunately, just as well that it is a woman who said it.

    In that wretched case in Birmingham recently it is fascinating and worrying to see that after both parents were charged the mother – now convicted of murder – was bailed while the father – convicted of lesser offences and given a non-custodial sentence – was remanded in custody. Stereotyping at work, anybody?

  4. Singledad says:

    I applaud Nick Langford on that one. You read my mind. How about more male social workers – i’d like to hear some experiences of males with a clear CRB that have applied to social services departments and nurseries and have been denied a job, and the reasons behind it. Its not a coincidence that its a female dominated area of work.

  5. Paul says:

    “Lessons to be learned”, how often do we hear that phrase, now utterly devoid of any meaning whatsoever? It is all hogwash and public relations. These people, both through their belief systems and practices, show they never learn the lesson. Much too tricky, it is, diving into sink estates to save babies or toddlers from abuse. Far easier to go after a separated father falsely accused by the mother of his children who is in dispute with him over custody and care arrangements. That represents a nice afternoon’s child protection work for a social worker and police officer. They can get comfortably back in time for tea to slag off the father in some futile joint agency report and boast about having “safeguarded” some hapless child who never needed protecting in the first place.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Singledad, the problem isn’t that there are no male social workers. There are several, and Ray Jones (who can be heard pathetically apologizing for their failures above) is surely to be counted among them. What is true, though, is that social workers – men and women alike – are indoctrinated with anti-father propaganda, and trained to target fathers only. It is the usual ‘purge fathers, help mothers’ ideology. Would be interesting to hear Jones come out and admit that, rather than participating in yet more deceit and cover-up.

  7. Yvie says:

    It’s a sorry state of affairs when social services prefer to believe mothers rather than challenging them, thus putting mothers, good, bad or indifferent, over the welfare of children. In many of the cases where mothers have ill-treated their children, the natural father seems to have been wiped out of the child’s life.

  8. Stitchedup says:

    In the last few weeks I’ve heard of 3 instances on the national news of child murder/manslaughter by the mother. During the news, a BBC journalist quoted a statistic that on average one child a week is killed by a parent, usually the mother. I’m not sure where he got the statistics from, but if true, it does make you wonder why social workers appear to be indoctrinated with so much anti-father propaganda.

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