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Government Announces Another Child Protection Review

Climbié: Review seeks to prevent similar child deaths

A government review of child protection aiming to free up social workers, could ensure that children are not abused and killed like Victoria Climbié 10 years ago.

The government today announced an independent review of child protection and social work in England.

Prof Eileen Munro, from the London School of Economics, will examine ways of cutting bureaucracy to give social workers more time with children.

The review is one of the first steps by new Children’s Minister Tim Loughton to ‘shake up’ England’s child protection system.

Professor Munro said:

“The way the system has evolved has been so focused on improving the procedures and the guidance that it’s accidentally undermined the importance of the social work skill.”

Professor Munro added that there was a clear need for social workers to focus more on developing their relationship with families instead of being bogged down by paper work.

Victoria Climbié was abused and died at the hands of Marie Thérèse Kouao and Carl Manning in 2000. Her death led to the biggest public inquiry into child protection that this country has ever seen.

Mor Dioum, Director of the Victoria Climbié Foundation (VCF) said that social workers needed more time to be allowed to interact with children and families rather than only working by the book.

He said:

“We’ve been raising issues of bureaucracy since 2008. Social workers need to be allowed more time to work with families.”

At the 10 year memorial event marking Victoria’s death last February, Tim Loughton said:

“An overhaul of bureaucracy and a fresh approach to quality training will re-centre social work on the professional judgement of frontline workers in their dealings with children and families.”

However the union Unison said the review ‘should not waste precious time going over old ground’ and should instead use the recent Social Work Taskforce recommendations as a ‘starting point’ for an immediate overhaul of the sector.

By Dominic Bascombe

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