The South Belfast MLA stated: “I am happy to be sponsoring an event this morning at Stormont to reinforce how vital social work is and how important it is to include it in all its forms as part of the overall transformation agenda of Health and Social Care.
“It is alarming just how many vacancies there are now in social work, in part as a legacy of the pandemic but also as a result of a failure to prioritise it sufficiently in government. We are seeing children and young people effectively excluded from vital services because there are simply not enough people to provide them.
“We hear a lot about prevention and early intervention in our health system, but we must recognise that nowhere is it more essential than in social care and youth services. The fact is that children and young people are among the victims of the ongoing failure of politicians to live up to their responsibilities.
“This is yet another area where what we need is an efficient government responding quickly and decisively to urgent and evident needs. It is beyond time that those holding us up got back to work, to ensure children and young people no longer pay the price for the gridlock they had no part in bringing about.”