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Children facing too many care worker changes, affecting much-needed continuity

The Education Select Committee heard how pressures on social care staff and staff retention meant children are too often facing different care workers.

13/05/24

Children facing too many care worker changes, affecting much-needed continuity

MPs heard how pressures on social care staff and staff retention meant children are too often changing care workers, affecting much-needed continuity.

The Education Select Committee was also told that families are required to engage with a range of services but how a multi-agency approach can help provide better coordination and a holistic understanding of any support required.

Professor Michelle McManus, a specialist in multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, looking at how people, systems and organisations work together to make communities and services better, appeared as an expert at a special education select committee alongside leaders from charities and government.

Prof McManus told the committee of the need to understand the day-to-day experiences of children in social care but that it was not just the responsibility of any one agency.

She highlighted the pressure on social sector practitioners and the pressure of mandatory reporting adding complexity for practitioners when the focus should be on resolving wider issues in the sector and workforce.

“It’s a very important topic for the government and society to be looking at, as the system is placing an ever-increasing strain on practitioners and the expectations around their role,” Prof McManus said.

“To be able to really understand the day-to-day lives of these children, we need to build from seeing safeguarding as ‘everyone’s responsibility’ to a collective one. This requires practitioners to first have the capacity, confidence and expertise to engage with the child and family.

“Then, importantly, to exchange information with other sector practitioners who have sight of that child and family to help build a more accurate picture. This ‘collective’ responsibility informs risks assessments and actions, providing a more effective and supportive response.

Professor McManus was supported at parliament by Peter Wasson, Public Affairs Manager; Metropolis, the University’s policy thinktank; and her co-author for the written submission to the education committee, Research Associate Emma Ball.

Prof McManus has previously provided evidence to parliament: two written submissions published by the Women and Equalities committee, under ‘The escalation of violence against women and girls’. One submission centred on evidence regarding best practice evidence in police responses to victims of domestic violence and the other submission focussed on the perpetrators of domestic violence.

See more news from the Education Select Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/news/

Photo: Research Associate Emma Ball and Professor McManus who provided evidence to the education select committee

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