The Government engaged widely with stakeholders and service users to understand how best to improve the capacity and training of social workers in the ‘Options for Excellence Review’ (2006). Building on these findings DCSF is investing over £63 million between 2008 and 2011 in this area and announced in the ‘Children's Plan’ (2007) commitments to improve support and training for all social workers working with children and families. This includes:
piloting a newly qualified social work status offering guaranteed induction and support; building a professional development framework setting out the standards expected of all social workers at each point of their career including those working in specialist areas, such as adoption and fostering;
investing in additional support to social work supervisors; and enhancing initial social work training so that it better equips social workers with the practical skills and knowledge to work with children and families across all areas, including adoption and fostering.
More detail about these areas will be announced in the work force action plan due to be published early this year.
The General Social Care Council (GSCC) requires all qualified social workers to undertake at least 15 days of professional development in a three-year period as a condition of their registration. In October 2007 GSCC introduced a new post-qualifying award for social workers specialising in children and families services to better equip them with the specialist skills needed in this area. The award has a focus on social workers' competence in assessing, planning, using professional judgment and managing risks to meet the needs of children and young people including in the areas of foster care and adoption.