Admin pressures accelerating children’s social worker burnout, study finds

Children’s social workers are more likely to burn out than their adult services counterparts, as a result of feeling disengaged from and drained by their work, an academic study has found. The analysis, based on two large datasets compiled between 2010 and 2013, found “higher levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation, and lower levels of personal accomplishment” among children’s social workers. Factors included the amount of “emotional labour” involved in different roles, the quantity of admin work practitioners were subjected to and the impact of staff turnover on workforce experience levels. “The key is engagement in their work,” the study’s author Shereen Hussein, a research professor at King’s College London, told Community Care. “Across adults’ and children’s [roles], the more a social worker feels part of a system, engaged, part of the decision making process, with their ideas listened to – that was strongest factor,” Hussein added. Both adults’ and children’s social workers experienced “moderate to high” levels of burnout, the research found. Gill Archer, social work lead at Unison, said the study underlined the “unbearable pressure” many social workers find themselves under and the need for extra resources to mitigate it. Read more.

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