Career Clinic: I chose the adult pathway. Do I need extra training to work in children’s services?

QUESTION: I qualified as a social worker three years ago when the training wasn’t generic. I chose the community care adults pathway. Would I need to do extra training to work in children’s services?

Andrea Rowe (pictured), Skills For Care, answers this question below…

ANSWER: Qualifications for social work have been generic for much longer than three years and started with the introduction of the  CQSW. I guess you did the DipSW and that was also a generic qualification. These generic qualifications always have opportunities for specialism within them particularly in the final year placement opportunities and curriculum pathways such as the one you mention. Nonetheless, if you have a DipSW you will hold a generic social work qualification which would allow you to practice in settings across adult and children’s services.

However, experience of working with children, would clearly be looked for as well as a grasp of policy in that area. Children’s policy has changed a great deal in the last couple of years and children’s social work is now the responsibility of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) provides much of the support materials for social worker development. You will need to familiarise yourself with the following policy documents which set out the government’s vision for an integrated children’s workforce: Every Child Matters Workforce Development Strategy-Building Brighter Futures Think Family – a Cabinet Office policy.

I assume also that if you are currently in work as a social worker in adult services you will be a qualified registered (with the General Social Care Council) social worker. If so you will be familiar with the code of practice and the post-registration teaching and learning requirements of all social workers, whether in adult or children’s services. Details can be found at

The CWDC common core skills and knowledge and induction standards are appropriate starting points for developing your new career. Please visit for more information on newly qualified social worker outcomes statement roles and tasks of social workers and the remodelling of social work delivery projects. These will all alert you to the changing context of working with children. You will also have access based on your generic qualification to the social care and social work post-qualifying framework where the options include programmes at specialist, higher specialist and advanced levels focused on social work with children others are offered in leadership and management practice education, and social work within mental health services.

I am not sure what setting or role you are thinking of beginning your social work with children in but there is a range of available training programmes, including for learning disability.

To foster the integration of children’s services you will probably work in multi-disciplinary settings but I am sure you will already have transferable skills like communication and networking.

As you know social workers are always on the move and it is important that they can access evidence of good practice in the field. So if you do not already, do use the Social Care Institute for Excellence (Scie) “Social care on line” facility which you will find at

Andrea Rowe is chief executive of Skills for Care. She writes here in a personal capacity

Answers to the question below to be published in 31 July edition of Community Care

I qualified as a social worker in France some years ago. I need to find out whether I need to undertake any training or qualifications to be able to practise in the UK? We will answer this question in the 31 July issue of Community Care. We want to publish readers’ advice too – send it by clicking here.

Do you have your own career dilemma? Send your comments by clicking here 

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