By politics.co.uk staff
The recruitment of children's social workers continues to face devastating consequences, six months after the court judgement.
A survey of councillors in charge of children's services, published today, reveals three out of five councils are experiencing difficulties in recruiting children's social workers.
Two out of five councils are reporting difficulties retaining the staff they have and the same number think recruitment of child social workers will get even harder over the next six months.
The findings come just days after the boyfriend of Baby P's mother was found guilty of raping a two-year-old girl.
Last Friday, Cllr Margaret Eaton, chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), which undertook today's survey, said the case "revealed cruelty of the most appalling nature".
But the re-emergence of the case in the media again puts local councils on the back foot, and increased concerns that the story will continue to impinge on councils; ability to attract competent staff to children's services.
Council leaders say that a long term drive is needed to raise the status and recruitment of social workers, similar to that which has changed the teaching profession over the last decade.
They say this will ensure that the brightest and best staff are attracted to working to ensure vulnerable children are better protected.
According to the survey:
. 57 per cent say that, over the last six months, it has got more difficult to recruit child social workers
. Of these, 87 per cent say they are having difficulties recruiting the frontline staff who protect vulnerable children
. 38 per cent say that, over the last six months, they have been finding it more difficult to retain children's social workers
. Of these, 91 per cent say they are having difficulties keeping frontline workers
. 40 per cent expect the recruitment of children's social workers to get harder over the next six months
Ms Eaton, said: "These figures confirm the fear that councils are really struggling to recruit and keep the expert staff they need to ensure that vulnerable children are safe.
"The way in which the profession has been attacked over recent months has had a highly damaging effect on councils' ability to get the expert staff they need to protect children at risk."