Increasing demand for adoption experts prompts new social work course

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering is launching a post-qualifying programme in adoption to plug the skills gap

child's drawing of a house
Photo: REX/Denkou Images

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) is setting up a post-qualifying programme to keep up with increasing demand for social workers with adoption expertise.

Community Care’s job site has seen an increase in adoption-related jobs advertised from 59 from February-April to 100 between May and July of this year.

Public sector recruitment site Jobsgopublic has seen a rise in the number of adoption roles available on its job board from 35 to 83 between May and July.

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced measures to improve the rate and speed of adoptions including encouraging “fostering for adoption” and removing the need to search for an ethnic match. This drive has led local authorities to look to recruit more social workers with the necessary skills linked to adoption work.

Many voluntary adoption agencies and local authorities have received expansion grants of around £66 million in total to support their progress on adoption reforms.

However BAAF director Alan Wood said additional funding is not the whole answer.

Wood said: “Job boards are looking to recruit more people with adoption expertise but the pool of people can only go so far. We have to try and add to that pool.

“Otherwise it’s a case of workers from children’s teams having to move from local authorities to adoption agencies, but that’s not necessarily going to increase the pool of skilled staff.”

The BAAF course, run jointly with Sheffield Hallam University, will be the only one in England looking specifically at issues linked with adoption and aims to arm the workforce with the skills needed to successfully place children.

The course is due to accept its first cohort in May next year.

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2 Responses to Increasing demand for adoption experts prompts new social work course

  1. June Jellies October 9, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Lets hope that the Hallam speaks to real adopters and gets their input into this very important and long overdue programme.

  2. David Howden October 10, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Hardly a new course, more like a re-launch. Sheffield Hallam have been running a BAAF award under the ‘old’ PQ framework for years; and it had a good reputation. This will likely be the same programme, just under the newer requirements. Notwithstanding this, a good programme that is much needed.