VULNERABLE children in Reading are safer now than last year but social services is still too reliant on agency staff fresh from university.
The child protection teams have improved their performance across a swathe of categories since last years damning assessments by Ofsted which rated them inadequate.
But 25 of 80 posts in the two key child protection teams are covered by agency staff, and although eight new permanent staff have been recruited in recent weeks some do not start until July.
At Tuesdays Reading Borough Council Cabinet meeting, department director Anna Wright said: People are increasingly saying they dont want to work in child protection.
Borough childrens services leader John Ennis, appointed to the role earlier this year after Cllr Pete Ruhemann resigned over the failures in his department, said: Morale is low, but progress is being made and we have to acknowledge that. We still cant recruit social workers, but there are one or two teams that are beginning to be settled now. Weve got to assist them while maintaining scrutiny.