Child Protection Reform Too Slow-Lord Laming; INQUIRY Criticism Aimed at Social Services and Its Inadequate Training

The Birmingham Post (England), March 13, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Child Protection Reform Too Slow-Lord Laming; INQUIRY Criticism Aimed at Social Services and Its Inadequate Training


Byline: SAM MARSDEN

Too many child protection authorities have failed to adopt reforms introduced after the Victoria Climbie tragedy in 2000, a report has revealed.

Lord Laming, who led the damning Climbie inquiry, criticised public bodies for not doing enough to turn the policy changes he recommended six years ago into frontline practice.

The Government asked him to carry out an urgent nationwide review of child welfare services in the wake of Baby P's violent death in 2007 while on the child protection register. Yesterday Lord Laming said child protection had not been given the priority it deserved, noting that 200,000 of the 11 million children in England lived in homes with a known high risk of violence or abuse.

Child protection issues have not been given the priority they deserve in the six years since the damning public inquiry into the Victoria Climbie tragedy.

There was overwhelming support for reforms after his landmark 2003 Climbie report, he wrote.

Writing in block capitals - in an expression of frustration - his report said: "In such circumstances it is hard to resist the urge to respond by saying to each of the key services, if that is so, 'NOW JUST DO IT!"' Lord Laming reserved much of his criticism for the workings of social services departments, which he said suffered from "low staff morale, poor supervision, high case loads, under-resourcing and inadequate training".

Child protection work was felt to be a "Cinderella service" and social workers were losing confidence because of an "over-emphasis on process and targets".

Lord Laming singled out current computer systems for recording information about vulnerable children, saying they were "hampering progress".

Social workers' professional practice and judgment are being compromised by an "over-complicated, lengthy and tick-box assessment and recording system".

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