Children Put Social Workers Under The Microscope

Social workers need to be more accessible, follow through on their promises and see children alone during visits, according to a new report released by the Children’s Rights Director. Most children and young people made very positive comments about their social workers, overall rating them eight out of 10. However, as with any group of people, there are good and bad ones. There are areas where change is necessary to ensure children receive the care they are entitled to.

The children consulted felt their social workers changed too often and did not always share information with each other. Children also felt that social workers did not always seem to listen to them, did not act quickly enough when problems arose and sometimes concentrated more on what was best for the adult looking after them. Many said that their social worker does not speak to them alone during visits.

Some of those consulted felt they should be included in the recruitment process for social workers. They also said they were not guaranteed a good social worker for their needs, even if the council had received the highest CSCI star rating.

The views of 13 groups of children and young people were collated from visits or group meetings held at consultation sessions throughout the year. In order to obtain a wider view from all age ranges, question cards were sent to over 500 children and young people from different care settings. Views were also collated from the young people’s mobile phone texting panel “BeHeard”.

Dr Roger Morgan, Children’s Rights Director said: “In my consultation sessions with children and young people receiving social care services, this subject area always came up, as it is a major part of young people’s lives. As usual, they have been totally honest with their comments. Their views are simple – they just want help with personal problems, to be listened to and included in the decisions made about them, treated with respect and to be able to liaise with a social worker who shows empathy.”

Dame Denise Platt, Chair of CSCI said: “Children need social workers to go the extra mile on their behalf if they are to get the help and guidance they need. Many get it right, but as these children tell us, some don’t. As new services for children are created, managers and social workers should seize the opportunity and heed what children say to get it right this time.”

Barbara Herts, Chief Executive of Young Minds said: “This report is excellent and should be on the reading list for all professionals working with children and young people. It’s all the little things that matter- good listening, a quick response and continuity of care. If you think about it, these are all the things a good parent would do.”

For further information on the views contained in the report, please visit