Professional training for social workers to split, Social Care Institute for Excellence claims

The government could soon announce a complete split in the professional training of adults and children and families social workers, a major inquiry has heard.

Social Care Institute for Excellence chair Allan Bowman made the claim at yesterday’s meeting of the Conservative party’s commission into the future of social work, of which he is a member.

The idea won the backing of Association of Directors of Children’s Services representative Andrew Christie, who said, “We need to raise the bar” in terms of the expectations and preparedness of children and family social workers with more specialist training around childcare issues.

Giving evidence to the commission, Christie added: “People are emerging from social work training not properly prepared for the childcare social work job.”

Christie suggested the social work degree could be a four year course, with a joint foundation year for both children and adults’ social workers and stressed that training must ensure they understood each other’s roles.

But he said separate training would imply separate professional registration, although he suggested social workers could convert from one area to the other or have double registration.

Academic and chair of service user organisation Shaping Our Lives Peter Beresford said he believed training should remain generic as the world was not “segregated” into children and adult issues.

He added: “If we start by separating it we will do the students a disservice by isolating them from issues which they may encounter.”

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