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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 18:05 GMT
Group tackles social service crisis
Woman and child
The report revealed a deficit in qualified and experienced staff
A group has been set up to tackle a recruitment crisis within the child care sector of Flintshire County Council.

Local authority members on Tuesday heard how social workers were stressed out and many were off sick or were leaving the job.

Flintshire County Council
The council has set up a working group

The health and social services committee was told some areas were suffering from low staff morale caused by a poor public image.

The council has set up an internal working group to deal with the problem which has affected authorities across the UK.

It follows a Welsh Assembly report which revealed there was a high turnover of social workers in Wales, particularly those working with children and families.

The study suggested new social services initiatives in Wales had robbed the statutory social services sector of qualified and experienced staff.

Training changed

It also claimed training failed to adequately equip staff for their role.

The diploma in social work care has now been extended to three years, however that will also impact on the number of new recruits into the profession.

Latest figures show there has been a drop of 24% in the number of applications for the courses in Wales between 1997 and 1999.

A 1.5 million national advertising campaign had been launched which had created more interest among potential social workers.

But the issue remained problematic in Flintshire which, along with other counties, had re-introduced social work assistants to work with families in less high profile areas.

The report stated: "Recruitment to these posts is less problematic and 150 applications were received during the last campaign."

However on Tuesday councillors heard there was a continuing lack of experienced practitioners in the child care field and Flintshire's staffing complement reflected that problem.

See also:

18 Jan 02 | Scotland
23 Nov 01 | England
20 Oct 01 | Health
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