Frank Field MP
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We need a better care mechanism for children

ARE WE becoming insensitive to the neglect and even cruelty suffered by perhaps large numbers of children?

This is a question I’ve been pondering over for quite some time.It’s no use simply blaming social services.

They are over worked and under resourced.Recently I asked a small group of Birkenhead headteachers how many children in their school they believed should be taken into care that day. Twenty per cent came the reply.There is no way Wirral has the money to meet that level of need.

I recently met with our excellent head of Children’s Services in Wirral. The needs of children in Wirral are such that his department has taken on some extra staff and is heading for a deficit at a time when the council is trying to cut budgets.

The press regularly carry reports of children being so badly treated that parents or parents’ friends are up on murder charges.That there are not more such cases is a tribute to the social workers manning our children’s services.And yet the social workers are mocked and degraded in the media to such a degree that I wonder why anybody would want to take on this role.

Social workers carry out one of the most important roles in society. Clearly we need a better mechanism to value their contributions and therefore I hope to be able to spend some time with our social workers on Wirral to get some first-hand experience of their daily work.
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