£1.7 million investment to help protect our children
FORTY new social work jobs are to be created in Notts to cope with the increasing number of vulnerable children.
The county council is spending £1.7 million on beefing up its social services department.
It comes after a 90 per cent rise in the number of children in care in the past four years – from 405 in 2009 to 776 in 2012.
County councillor Phillip Owen, chairman of the children and young people's committee, said: "The increase in children in care has placed significant pressure on our frontline staff managing child protection cases, children in care and staff in our fostering and adoption teams.
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"These additional permanent jobs will ensure that key services have the capacity to meet current and predicted demand and additional responsibilities that have arisen out of the future direction of services for children in care."
The council has had to make cuts to many services in recent years but in the coming financial year has increased its budget from £491 million to £512 million.
The money will see 20 social worker posts created. There will also be:
Supervising social workers – who will look to recruit more foster parents.
Support workers – who will try to prevent children having to enter the care system at all.
A "home-finder" social worker – who will help find homes for children who are difficult to place with a family.
Mr Owen said the money would lead to a saving in the long run. He added: "As well as meeting our statutory responsibilities, investment in additional staff will help reduce our spending on expensive agency staff and put our fostering and adoption services in a better position to deliver quality services with the increased demand that's created by the number of children in care."
Social worker Lara Thorpe said the increased workload previously meant some children were failed by the system.
She said: "We now need to find homes for more children, and elevate these children to a situation where they can be safe and protected, well looked after and cared for."