'Social care workers are portrayed as woolly minded wimps or bullying bureaucrats, and users are represented as helpless victims or scroungers,' said Fleischman. 'This has a knock-on effect on how social care is viewed.'
An awards scheme would enable social care professionals to identify journalists who had been recognised for their fair coverage of social care issues, and would improve communications between the sector and the press, Fleischman added.
SCIE, a charity launched by the Government in 2001 to develop good practice, is particularly concerned about recent newspaper reports.
A Daily Mail article in August attacked adoption policies, using the headline 'Stolen by the state'. It quoted an anonymous social worker who claimed Government incentives were 'putting a price on children's heads'.
SCIE has commissioned Furner Communications to conduct a three-month feasibility study into the awards.