Social workers to be put in schools to spot signs of abuse

Social workers will be placed in schools to help spot the signs of abuse and neglect more quickly and work with teachers to support children at risk.

£6.5 million will go towards a project that will place social workers in over 150 schools to work with teaching staff, reflecting that the second largest source of referrals to children’s social services is schools (18%).

The funding package comes as early evidence from pilot studies shows placing social workers in schools helps keep children safe because they are able to work with teaching professionals to identify children in need of support.

It follows news that reports of domestic abuse incidents have been on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic, with some children also experiencing exposure to drug and alcohol misuse or at risk from online harms.

The funding follows three studies, undertaken by the What Works Centre for Social Care, in 2019/20 where social workers were placed in schools in Lambeth, Southampton and Stockport, and it was shown that social care support offered through schools could help keep children safe. It also builds on the findings of the Department for Education’s Children in Need review, helping develop a stronger evidence base on what interventions are most effective to improve the outcomes of Children in Need – scaling up and evaluating projects to better support them to fulfil their potential.

Chief Social Worker for Children Isabelle Trowler said: "I am delighted to see further investment in this very promising area of practice. Keeping social workers close to children, their families and alongside their communities will help build those essential relationships, which we know to be the bedrock of effective family support and child protection."

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