Calderdale child referral demand on the rise as extra social workers recruited

Halifax town hall
Halifax town hall

Extra social workers are being recruited to deal with increasing referrals caseloads in Calderdale.

Following a period of increasing contacts and referrals in the children’s social care Multi Agency Screening Team (MAST) and increased caseloads being undertaken by the Children’s Assessment Team (CAT), an extra two social workers are being added to the former and an extra “pod”, meaning additional social workers and an advanced practitioner will be needed.

A permanent practice manager has started this month to support the creation of that fourth “pod”, memberEx

Three agency social workers are providing cover for the Locality teams, who are otherwise almost fully staffed, it said.

In December, the service was overseeing, through multi-agency plans, the support and care of 320 children in need, 248 children in child protection and 330 children it was looking after.

Councillors had asked for an average of figures in each section for the past 18 months.

There were an average of 319 Child In Need plans, 250 Child Protection Plans and 305 children subject to Looked After plans, where the council is the corporate parent.

Statistically, these were just under or just over national averages and slightly more or slightly less than county and comparative authority figures.

In terms of caseloads, social workers on the Child Protection Team had 23 each, those on the Child Sexual Exploitation Team 20, those on the Disabled Children’s Team 19, those working in the Central and West and upper valley child protection pods 15, with the same for social workers in the North and East and Lower valley child protection pods, and those working with Looked After children 13.

The service has a cap of 23 cases maximum per social worker, hence the increases in the pipeline at MAST and CAT.