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Social worker recruitment drive to provide stability for families

The recruitment drive is aiming to train and keep key workers in the island Credit: PA Images

Social workers are the focus of a new recruitment drive by Jersey States.

It is five months since the schools watchdog Ofsted reviewed the island's Children's Services, reporting 'widespread failures' and 'vulnerable children not being made a priority.'

Part of the problem is the high turnover of temporary staff, 50% of child social workers are from UK agencies, which experts say is disruptive for vulnerable families.

From next month, staff from the Children, Young People, Education and Skills department are set to attend a number of UK social work recruitment fayres, with the aim of attracting a permanent workforce.

Efforts are underway to provide suitable accommodation for new recruits. A tower block in St Helier is being refurbished to offer 48 one and two bedroom flats with affordable rents for key workers.

Meanwhile, a longer term plan for educating local social workers is being developed at Highlands College.

The first on-island degree in Social Work starts in September. The course is being run in partnership with the University of Sussex.

These investments will significantly reduce the costs of hiring temporary and agency staff in the future.

Having a stable and highly skilled workforce of social workers is crucial as we seek to protect the welfare of our most vulnerable children and young people in Jersey.

– Jersey's Children's Minister, Senator Sam Mézec