Directors split over social work degree specialisation

Student

Children’s and adults’ services directors are split over whether social work degree students should be able to specialise in either client group before the end of their course.

In his report to government after the baby Peter case, Lord Laming recommended that those who want to work with children should be able to specialise after the first year of the degree, a call criticised by social work leaders.

Third year specialisation

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services, in its submission to the Social Work Task Force, said that specialisation after one year risked “losing the coherence” of the profession but there was a “strong case” for specialisation in the third year.

The ADCS said social work with children operated in a different multi-agency context to adult social work, and students going on to become children’s social workers needed to be provided with training in the core skills required by the entire children’s workforce.

Unity of degree

However, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said it supported a degree “that does not differentiate” between adults’ and children’s work and gave each equal prominence.

In its submission to the taskforce, Adass stressed the fact that “children grow up with adults, who have a major impact on their development and well-being”. It said the core training should be followed by specialist post-qualification opportunities.

Following Laming’s recommendation, the government referred the issue of specialisation in social work training to the taskforce. However, the taskforce voiced scepticism about specialisation after one year in its first report, published last month.

More information

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