Child sexual exploitation training to become mandatory for children’s home workers

Government announces new qualifications for residential child care as study shows skills shortage in sector

Photo: REX/Voisin/Phanie (posed by models)
Photo: REX/Voisin/Phanie (posed by models)

Training in child sexual exploitation and cyberbullying will become mandatory for all residential children’s home workers as part of two new qualifications announced this week.

The qualifications will teach staff and managers how to spot early signs of child sexual exploitation and cyberbullying, as well as how to act upon them to keep children safe.

Staff without relevant qualifications will have to gain new ones – at NVQ level 3 for care staff and level 5 for managers. New care staff will have two years after beginning their roles to complete the qualifications, whilst managers will have three.

The government said the structure of these qualifications is “much simpler” and will plug gaps left by previous ones, which were made up of optional modules that could mean staff missed out on important skills.

Children’s Minister Edward Timpson said the new qualifications will equip care home staff with the skills and confidence required to keep children safe from harm.

“I have no doubt that the vast majority of care home staff display great commitment and relentless dedication in providing a stable and caring environment for those they look after, the simple fact is that quality matters,” the minister said.

Staff lack skills and training

This announcement came at the same time as census data published by the Department for Education showed children’s care home managers find it difficult to recruit staff with the appropriate level of skills and training for the advertised position.

91% of managers said that applicants do not have the required experience, whilst just over half felt they do not have the necessary qualifications.

The census data, taken from 841 homes in England (49% of all eligible) also showed how pay for care staff varied in the public and private sector. No local authority managers sampled in the census reported that their staff were paid below the national minimum or living wage rate, whilst 15% of privately run residential homes reported this was the case.

2 Responses to Child sexual exploitation training to become mandatory for children’s home workers

  1. Alex Knapp January 6, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    O dear same broken record…

    When are we going to realise that it is not training that safeguards children and young people, but what staff put into practice?

    Practice not paperwork

  2. Claire Chandler January 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    Alongside that it is recruiting the qualified staff. I am sure there is a correlation between the calibre of staff and practice. With the last paragraph is true you the saying is ‘you pay peanuts you get monkeys’ Any experienced worker will already be proactive in this type of abuse and bullying and are already safeguarding children in there care. The training should be delivered by front line staff that understand the care system and all the red tape that at times can work against safeguarding children.
    The children’s minter acts on information presented to him and lacks the first hand experience of dealing with these issues. Sexual exploitation is not new, due to the media it is now being highlighted within in the care system. It is a reactive approach.