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“Our Guardians have rightly upped their expectations of local authority practice and local authority social workers have upped their game – a combination which can only give children at risk better protection.Annie Hudson, Chief Executive of The College of Social Work said:
“It is fantastic news that Guardians consider that, in general, local authorities are bringing the right cases to court, in a timely way and with the cases being well prepared, but it does not come as a surprise – we have been working hard with social workers, local authorities, judges and ADCS (Association of Directors of Children’s Services) to get to this point. We have to go on improving as one child poorly served by the family justice system is one child too many.”
“These survey results are encouraging. They testify to the expertise and commitment of local authority social workers and Guardians to making sure that children’s needs are at the heart of the complex and necessarily finely balanced family justice system decision making process.The continuation of this research enables Cafcass to track trends against the changing context in which social work decisions are made since the original Three weeks in Novemberstudy was published. This includes an unprecedented high number of care applications in 2012/13 and significant legislative and practice reform taking place in the family justice system. Care case duration has dropped from a national average of 56 weeks in November 2011 to 33 weeks (with legislation placing a 26-week target) and the revised PLO emphasising robust analysis and planning to secure early permanence for children.
New expectations and requirements have at times been professionally very demanding of social workers and this valuable study shows that they have risen well to this challenge.”
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