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Children’s Services in Crisis

(36 Posts)
Iam64 Mon 29-Oct-18 09:13:04

All the news papers this morning agree on this headline, based on recent research.
For me it’s not a complex subject. This country can afford to fund good services for children. The ideological and in my view, cold, heartless, rejecting of all expert opinion and research approach taken by our current and recent governments has led to the crisis.
Fund the Services, short term expense, long term savings. Plus we’d live in a happier, more stable country

Teetime Mon 29-Oct-18 09:17:14

All our public services are overburdened with bureaucracy, too many layers of managers and administrators and every new whacky management theory requiring reorganisation after reorganisation. Result rock bottom moral, high sickness rates, spiralling costs and reduced quality and outcomes.

stree Mon 29-Oct-18 09:47:13

In a nutshell Teetime.

Luckygirl Mon 29-Oct-18 09:47:34

Morale is so low in social services departments.

Investment in children's services pays off, not only in the personal happiness of a child, but as a long term proposition for creating a more secure society.

I do not think that a SW should be asked to work in child protection for more than 5 years; and then have a sabbatical, either in another branch of SSD or on a beach. The daily grind of responsibility and witnessing of misery takes its toll, especially in an environment where funds have been slashed.

Governments place huge responsibilities on LAs, then take away the funding to do the job properly. What do they expect will happen?

notanan2 Mon 29-Oct-18 09:53:36

There is nowhere to refer children to until they hit absolute rock bottom.
I do not know how anyone can work in CAMHS and maintain their own mental health it must be the most depressing job: not being able to put in early intervention because only the worst most desperate cases meet the threshold.

These children become broken adults so its a huge false economy to not have PREVENTATIVE services that can go in early

winterwhite Mon 29-Oct-18 12:29:03

Like your idea of 5 yrs max at a time for SWs in children’s services, Lucky.
IMO breaking the vicious circle of children at risk also needs much more funding for addictions services - drugs and alcohol as prime causes of domestic violence and family breakdown.
Also adequate social housing of course.

Iam64 Mon 29-Oct-18 21:12:39

Luckygirl, I understand your point about sabbaticals for those directly involved in specialist child protection work. I don't agree that a 5 year max would be helpful though, unless the worker themselves felt they'd given as much as they could and wanted to move into a different area of sw.
The experience and expertise that good cp sw's develop over the years are needed. Give them the opportunity to do some research, take a sabbatical, have a period in a different area of work but if we put a 5 year limit, we'd lose some excellent workers.

Iam64 Mon 29-Oct-18 21:13:42

I started this thread after reading a comment where anniebach said the politics threads seem less contentious recently, she wondered whether it was because some subjects were avoided.

Iam64 Mon 29-Oct-18 21:16:02

oh for an edit button. I made a clear criticism of this governments policies in response to Anniebach's comments and so far, no one is disagreeing with my analysis of the ideology that has driven the devastation not only of children's services but of all our public services. I notice Mr Hammond disputed its ideology and sought again, to blame the last labour government for the financial crash.

Fennel Mon 29-Oct-18 21:19:21

Is this crisis linked to the other headlines about the increase in mental health problems in children and young people?

Iam64 Mon 29-Oct-18 21:24:00

It has to be Fennel. Decimating children services including CAMHS and in todays budget finding magic money to put what they're called a mental health specialist in each school has my head spinning. Many schools had a counselling service alongside its designated safeguarding teacher. Along came the austerity approach and out went the counsellors as well as the possibility of support from CAMHS or children's services.

Anniebach Mon 29-Oct-18 21:28:10

You expected disagreement Iam?

Fennel Mon 29-Oct-18 21:35:16

I can't imagine how they're going to find a 'mental health specialist' for each school Who is going to train them? And especially when the adult mental health services are rapidly losing staff :

Luckygirl Mon 29-Oct-18 21:45:21

Indeed - anything vaguely resembling preventative work got knocked on the head and crisis management became the name of the game.

CAMHS is a joke now - one of the services to which a close relative was referred had no staff - just a clerk ringing people up to tell them there were no staff. There was an office and desks and filing cabinets and computers and phones - but no professional staff.

The trouble is that once you pull back on frontline activity and preventative work, turning things around is a long term slow process.

Parents of troubled children - and indeed physically disabled children - expend vast amounts of energy (physical and emotional) knocking on door after door trying to get some basic help.

It is all very depressing indeed.

Luckygirl Mon 29-Oct-18 21:47:50

The absence of pre-school family support services is what has led us into the territory of needing mental health specialists in schools.

Once upon a time those services were available in CAMHS and in Sure Start centres. There is no point in taking funding from things that are working; waiting for the situation to deteriorate out of control and then slapping n some new idea.

Steady consistent support for frontline services is what is needed. No such luck.

Luckygirl Mon 29-Oct-18 21:50:55

Iam64 - I hear what you are saying about the rigidity of the 5 year idea - I just think that most of the child protection SWs I worked with were frankly burnt out, and there was no system for supporting them. It was sink or swim. Experience is valuable indeed; but loses its value if the person with that experience is sinking under the strain.

oldbatty Mon 29-Oct-18 21:59:44

Perhaps if children weren't forced into an educational straight jacket at 4, there would be fewer MH problems. That and proper food and hydration.

Iam64 Tue 30-Oct-18 09:00:18

Anniebach - I wondered whether any posters would make supportive comments for the austerity agenda which has decimated our services. So far, no one has.

Lucky, the department I worked for provided a free and highly specialised counselling/therapy service for any staff involved in safeguarding. That of course, included our excellent admin staff who typed out the often distressing records. The admin staff were amongst the first to go, with the result staff lost a valued source of support and friendship in the office, alongside which they were expected to do the job and keep the files up to date. The files of course stopped being a proper record of events and became increasingly tick the box. Despite that, I'd say at least 80% of time was spent on admin work, with time spent with children and families squeezed to dangerous levels.

Our children are our future, this isn't something new. The idea of placing a so called mental health expert in every school, whilst well qualified and experienced CAMHS staff are made redundant, departments closed down and all preventive, support services are closed, well I'm beyond cross.

Anniebach Tue 30-Oct-18 09:04:15

Perhaps some have taken your advice and found hobbies to occupy their time Iam

Iam64 Tue 30-Oct-18 09:04:46

Maybe Annie, maybe

TwiceAsNice Tue 30-Oct-18 09:10:43

I work in the SE now where Camhs seems to be as squeezed as it was in the S Wales area I previously worked. One advantage Wales has had for a long time is the Welsh government put in a counsellor to every senior school ( Northern Ireland also did this). It is not happening in England. Social Services were at rock bottom with staff at burn out level when I worked in that sector in the late 90's to 2003 when I left so funding hasn't changed for a long time. If you don't put in the effort with children and young people then adult services also become overwhelmed as mentioned by others on here. I don't know what the answer is but Camhs is in the worst crisis possible and time for all MP's whatever party to wake up and smell the coffee. We are failing our young people dreadfully

Iam64 Tue 30-Oct-18 09:13:38

We are indeed TwiceAsNice. I sometimes wonder why there haven't been demonstrations on the streets as a result of the devastation of our public services. I also despair that the Labour Party isn't consistently and increasingly streets ahead of the Tories in the polls. Hearing Hammond blame the last Labour government for the economic crash, again, had me shouting at the radio. It seems though, that many believe it.

Anniebach Tue 30-Oct-18 09:21:28

TwiceAsNice the high school here had a counsellor nine years ago, kept in touch with me regarding my grandchildren, it certaintly helped me knowing if my grandchildren were coping when things were difficult .

Luckygirl Tue 30-Oct-18 09:50:18

oldbatty - I endorse your statement about education.

oldbatty Tue 30-Oct-18 09:56:47

Iam, that sounds awful and frustrating. Nothing to do with politics, its just sad and wrong.

I was discussing this with a friend......young people self harming, school phobic, the apparent rice in ASD and so on.
I just don't understand it. Something is going so wrong. Sensible, early intervention has to be best morally and financially.