Sector faces more threats to quit as play therapists are hit by regulations

Play therapists are joining independent social workers in being forced out of adoption support work because of new regulations.

The British Association of Play Therapists claims that members are unable to take on adoption support work because of the Adoption Support Services Regulations 2005, which came into force last December.

The news follows claims by the British Association of Social Workers last week that conflicting advice on the regulations from the government and the Commission for Social Care Inspection was forcing independent social workers from adoption work.

Play therapists have a crucial role in helping children through the adoption process.

A BAPT delegation has met CSCI officials to raise their concerns.

Lisa Gordon Clark, the BAPT’s communications committee chair, said the problem centred on the qualifications needed for people to register with the CSCI as adoption support agencies.

National standards on the fitness to provide adoption support services say people must have a qualification relevant to working in a child care setting, either at NVQ level four, social work diploma or equivalent.

But Gordon Clark said most play therapists came from an education background so did not hold relevant qualifications. Members of some other professional bodies and play, drama and music therapists registered with the Health Professions Council are eligible to register, but not play therapists.

Gordon Clark said the CSCI’s 414 registration fee for small adoption support agencies could also deter freelance play therapists. BAPT understood the need to put protection in place “but full members of BAPT have done appropriate training and had Criminal Records Bureau checks”, she said.

“Having an extra tier of hierarchy has not been thought through.”

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