Displaying items by tag: Social Services
Amid chronic staff shortages and rising unmet care needs nationwide, a homecare worker commissioned by Warrington borough council sometimes stayed for just three minutes, despite the family paying for the full visit. The council was found to have allocated 15-minute care calls to over 300 people in the region, despite national guidance stressing these were ‘not usually appropriate’ resulting in inadequate care and placing workers under ‘stressful unfair pressure’. The case that triggered the investigation involved a woman with dementia paying the full costs of her care. In 15 minutes two agency carers were expected to wake her, prepare her meal and drink, ensure she ate and drank, administer her medication, change her incontinence pad, administer personal care and tidy the kitchen. Electronic monitoring showed they regularly stayed less than 15 minutes and her care needs were not met or dignified. Meanwhile Rishi Sunak postponed social care funding reforms.
A recent report revealed Bradford social workers turned a blind eye when a 15-year-old grooming victim took part in an Islamic marriage to one of her abusers. One of her social workers even attended the ‘wedding ceremony’. Despite the teenager not being a Muslim, professionals who were meant to protect her allowed the family of her 'husband' to foster her after she became pregnant. The council even paid them for fostering her. The terrified girl was trapped in 'domestic slavery', too scared to leave the controlling relationship, fearing she would be the victim of an honour killing. The report, which makes difficult and distressing reading, found that children suffered abuse no child should have to experience, and some youngsters in Bradford still remain unprotected. The report’s authors said, 'We believe that practice across all agencies is improving, but there is still much more to do.'
Child protection services in England do not provide enough early support, says an independent review. With council budgets squeezed over the last ten years, spending has increasingly focussed on expensive crisis services which local authorities are legally required to provide. This means that cuts to early support for vulnerable families have dwindled, causing even larger needs for investigative interventions in ‘crisis’ situations. The current system is unsustainable and failing young people. Over the last three months, the review team spoke to over 1,000 young people, families and staff working in children's services. They found a system under significant strain with an increasing number of families being investigated. Deprivation was a key factor among families needing help. Many asking for support found assessments and investigations added to their stress. The annual number of inquiries into whether a child is at risk of significant harm has risen to 201,000. But 135,000 needed no child protection plan. Concerns about risk have unnecessarily dominated workloads.
A year ago Boris Johnson promised to tackle the social care crisis. Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said the PM must honour this pledge, or thousands of elderly people will continue to suffer needlessly and the social care sector will never recover from the hammer blow caused by the pandemic. A huge petition, signed by 110,000 people, was handed in, to put pressure on him to deliver on his promise to provide the decent level of care the elderly deserve. Also the UK Home Care Association, which represents those providing home help, said that unless he acts the vulnerable will continue to receive rationed, underfunded services that are started too late to prevent independence deteriorating. When Mr Johnson became Prime Minister, he said his job was to protect people from the fear of having to sell their home to pay for care costs.
Drug deaths have reached their worst level in Scotland since records began, (934 in 2017). Statistics show Scotland's drug death-rate is roughly two and half times the UK rate and ‘massively worse’ than anywhere in Europe. The official ‘Drug-related deaths’ paper shows methadone, the heroin substitute, was present in nearly half of all deaths. Methadone is prescribed by the NHS to keep people off drugs! Annie Wells, the Scottish public health spokesperson, said, ‘ We need a radical and urgent drugs strategy, not one that waves the white flag in the face of drug-dealers and those who profit from this despicable industry, but one that gets tough on the issue. We need to help vulnerable people beat the habit once and for all, not park them on methadone just to watch them die from that very substance years later.’ Pray for God to inspire ministers to implement a successful, revitalised substance use strategy.
The Competition and Market Authority found some care homes applied large upfront costs, and charged families for weeks after their relatives had died. The watchdog also highlighted how those paying for themselves were charged an average of 40% more than council-funded residents - effectively paying a multi-million pound subsidy every year to keep the ailing £16bn sector afloat. It said another £1bn of government money was needed to create a fair and properly-funded system. Also highlighted were an inadequate complaints system, making it difficult for families to raise concerns; unclear terms and conditions; fees being raised after residents moved in; insufficient support at a national level to help families navigate their way round the system; and people being unfairly banned from visiting.
Ninety children a day are taken into care in England and Wales, and currently there are 72,670 children in care - up 3% from 2016. Social workers are ‘firefighting’ the most serious cases late into the night. Professor Ray Jones, working in social services improvement, says that staff fear that children slip through the net as they try to keep up with rising pressures. Local government associations say children's services will face a £2bn a year funding gap by 2020. Social workers are spending a lot of time, late at night and during weekends, preparing for court proceedings. They are closing down work where children are unhappy and distressed because they have to concentrate on those in immediate danger. This causes considerable stress over concerns that they may be missing something.
Scores of Vietnamese children rescued from traffickers and placed in council care have gone missing, and are feared to have fallen back into the hands of slave masters. Figures suggest that gangs are re-trafficking victims, and local authorities are failing in their duty to safeguard children. Over 150 Vietnamese children have disappeared from care since 2015, but the true figure is likely to be higher; almost ninety others went missing temporarily. Most go missing within two days of entering care. At least 21 have vanished this summer, including 12 from Rochdale, a council whose child protection record is already under intense scrutiny. Children of other nationalities have suffered a similar plight, with growing concern about the number of missing Albanian children. Baroness Butler-Sloss described the figures as ‘very disturbing’, and said she believed there were far more at risk.
Campaigners claim that disabled people are being ‘increasingly marginalised and shut out of society’ as they bear the brunt of Government spending cuts, most notably in their right to independent living. There are calls for the UK to take the human rights of disabled people more seriously, as officials prepare for an examination on the issue at the UN. The UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had previously commented that the UK’s welfare reforms led to ‘grave and systematic violations’ of disabled people's rights. The Government strongly disagreed, saying that the UK is a world leader in disability rights and spends billions of pounds to support those with disabilities and health conditions every year.