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Council go to USA to employ new social workers

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 March 2009 | UPDATED: 11:18 11 August 2010

SOCIAL workers are so few and far between that the council have been forced to recruit people from abroad to fill empty positions. Council officers will be travelling to the United States hoping to employ men and women who are willing to relocate to Barki

SOCIAL workers are so few and far between that the council have been forced to recruit people from abroad to fill empty positions.

Council officers will be travelling to the United States hoping to employ men and women who are willing to relocate to Barking and Dagenham.

Social workers who take up posts here from America will have to be educated to a master's degree standard and have experience working with vulnerable children and families.

This comes after Councillor Liam Smith announced on Wednesday, February 25 at the assembly meeting that he supported finding jobs for local people within their own areas.

He also praised unions who help people keep their jobs and create new ones.

It is to be a pilot project with 10 workers being recruited the first time around.

UK Pro is the company helping the council recruit new social workers from America.

On their website they say they are 'excited to announce hosting the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in March 2009'.

Candidates with experience will be considered for interviews in Boston this month.

Salaries range from £27,672 to £35, 841.

The job description includes formulating and updating child protection plans, providing reports to Child Protection Conferences and making use of the legal framework including both criminal law and the Children Act in order to protect children.

Court experience and at least two years' experience are preferred.

Anyone whose application is successful will have to pass police and reference checks as well as health clearance and UK General Social Care Council registration.

A council spokesman said: "The council is hoping to recruit qualified and experienced social workers from the United States.

"One of the main reasons the US is being used to recruit is that social work training in the US is of comparable standards to the UK in addition to the benefit of the language not being a barrier.

"This recruitment campaign is of no cost to the Council."

Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas added: "I have been reassured that it will not cost any extra money, that all the appropriate police and social services checks will be carried out and that the social workers will be trained to a very high standard.

"It has been tough recruiting social workers over the years but this seems to me to be an idea worth trying out on a trial basis and let's see what the results are."

Children, Schools and Families Secretary, Ed Balls is planning a drive to entice former social workers back to the profession, such is the shortage.

"Social workers do an incredibly difficult job every day, often saving childrens' lives.

"They take difficult decisions like whether to take a child away from its parents.

"I was concerned to hear of one area where more than four in ten posts are vacant and in other areas far too many staff have only recently qualified.

"We would never accept that in a school, hospital or police force.

"There are around 5,500 agency staff filling in posts on a short-term basis and nearly one in ten posts is standing empty.


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