New social workers joining councils are ill-equipped to tackle difficult work with vulnerable children and families, MPs have been told.
Fresh evidence of a gulf between what employers want and the training given to social work students, emerged during the children, schools and families committees ongoing inquiry into the training of social workers.
Jane Haywood, chief executive of the Childrens Workforce Development Council, called for systematic change in the training and support given to the workforce.
Our employers do need [for] them to understand what its like to operate as a childrens social worker in a childrens services context, she said.
They do need to be able to do the reports, start to do some of the analysis and some of the casework.
But university representatives defended the generic social work degree, saying graduates needed a rounded understanding of family problems.
Prof Sue White, chair of the Association of Professors of Social Work, admitted it was hard to prepare newly qualified social workers for some of the tasks they faced.
But she said this was not helped by the fact senior managers in childrens services without a social work background could have a poor grasp of the sector.