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IfG: Children in care: a personal view from Andrew Adonis

Andrew Adonis, Director of the Institute for Government, discusses how Teach First could be extended to social work and the role for state boarding schools in helping children in care:

The social work profession has had a terrible time, overwhelmed by horrendous cases of child abuse and neglect which social workers failed to prevent. Care homes have fared even worse in the wake of abuse scandals.

The failures are real enough. But so are the successes, and so is the selfless dedication of social workers, foster and adoptive parents, and staff in care homes, who work day-in day-out to support children from inadequate, dysfunctional or non-existent birth families...................

The biggest challenge is to recruit and motivate enough good social workers. A social worker is both guardian and gateway - the guardian of children at moments of extreme vulnerability, and the gateway to new or better arrangements for their parenting.

Yet social work is in a state akin to inner-city comprehensive school teaching a decade ago: an undervalued profession in semi-crisis, with low self-esteem and alarming vacancy and turnover rates..................

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