Sinn Fein MLA Maeve McLaughlin will become a social worker for one day tomorrow after taking up a challenge set by the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers. In her role as Chair of the Health Social Services and Public Safety Committee, the Foyle MLA will shadow a number of social work teams in Derry including the local Gateway child care team, a children’s home and adult mental health services.
The moves come on the foot of comments made by the Sinn Fein assembly member this week after she met with a group of social workers. Ms. McLaughlin said: “A child is said to be accommodated by the Trust when he or she is looked after in a foster home or children’s home for more than 24 hour Normally between 400 and 430 are formally accommodated in the Western Trust area but this year it is 523. That means there are more than 100 cases where children have not been allocated a social worker.
“The system is currently so busy that staff have told me that the department is ‘running hot’. I have written to health minister Edwin Poots outlining my concerns about the high number of children formally accommodated in the Western Trust and the resources in place to deal with the situation,” she added.