Social workers are routinely ignoring the suffering of children neglected by their parents, a charity has warned.
Six out of ten admitted that while they would act rapidly to protect a child from physical harm, they would do nothing or wait to help a youngster going hungry or without clothes and medical help.
The report – carried out by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and specialist journal Community Care – revealed that a third of the 242 social workers, family support workers and court guardians questioned said neglect was the main concern in half of the cases they dealt with.
However, 59 per cent admitted it was ‘quite unlikely’ or ‘very unlikely’ that social services would take swift action, with only one in ten saying they were confident departments would take the right steps to protect the youngster.
This compares with more than three quarters who said they would help a child suffering physical or sexual abuse.
The survey also found that three quarters of social workers believed neglected children were left with their parents because their departments were more concerned with helping the adults, many of whom had problems with drink or drugs.
Others said that neglect cases were ignored because children’s services were ‘overly concerned about cultural sensitivities’.
Social workers also blamed courts and judges for demanding evidence that was very difficult to obtain.