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TONI-ANN TRAGEDY A 'SYMPTOM OF CRISIS IN CARE'

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Dozens of social workers were flown to Britain from Zimbabwe in a desperate bid to solve a staffing crisis at Birmi...
Dozens of social workers were flown to Britain from Zimbabwe in a desperate bid to solve a staffing crisis at Birmingham City Council condemned last week over the death of seven-year-old Toni-Ann Byfield, reports The Observer(p6).

She was shot dead last autumn alongside the man she believed was her father - Bertram Byfield, a crack dealer with Yardie connections - in his London bed-sit. She was in the care of Birmingham social services department, which was sharply criticised by an official inquiry.

It has now emerged that more than one in four children's social work posts in Birmingham are unfilled, which forced the council to hire the 50 Zimbabweans last year.

The newspaper also reports that s national survey yet to be published reveals that 17% of children's social work jobs are vacant, rising to 60% in some areas.

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