barn gungar i grupp
School children at play in the municipality of Tyresö. Photo: Patrick Sörquist / SvD / TT.

Report: staff shortages put children at risk

Widespread staffing shortages at the nation's social service centers mean at-risk children may not get the help they need, according to an investigation by Swedish Radio's Kaliber program.

The program surveyed 222 municipalities in Sweden and found that half of their social services offices had vacancies in the departments that worked with children and young people.

As of October 1, 16 municipalities were falling short between 20 and 30 percent of their desired staffing levels while 13 municipalities were falling even more.

At one such department in the central municipality of Sundsvall, social worker Karin Gustafsson said the lack of personnel meant cases were lying dormant for several months before being investigated.

"We do not have the time to adequately speak with both families and others who know the child to find out what exactly it is that this child needs in terms of help and support," Gustafsson told Kaliber.

Sundsvall's Social Welfare Committee even added four new positions in May to strengthen its social service center but the jobs remain unfilled to this day.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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