media release

Professional child protection workers needed

The State Liberals are calling on the Weatherill Government to end its practice of recruiting unqualified staff to work in the child protection system and adopt the Liberal policy of opening up recruitment to people holding a broader range of degree-level qualifications.

“The practice of recruiting unqualified staff as ‘care and protection workers’ and ‘caseworkers’ who perform essentially the same role as a qualified social worker, with similar case loads and work complexities must end,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.

“Child protection is an extremely challenging field to work in and it is essential that frontline workers have appropriate qualifications.

“The Liberal policy based on a recommendation of the Nyland Royal Commission would enable teachers, early childhood educators and occupational therapists to be employed as child protection workers to increase the selection pool and diversify the workforce’s specialist skills.

“Enabling graduates with these types of qualifications to work in the child protection system will enhance the level of care provided to children in state care.

“Most other jurisdictions do not restrict their workforces to those holding an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in social work.

“There is going to be a surge in the number of child protection workers needed during the next five years so it’s critical measures are adopted now to increase the pool of degree-level applicants.

“Introducing a range of appropriate qualifications for frontline child protection workers will enable a multidisciplinary approach to caring for the most vulnerable children in our community.

“A better trained, more highly qualified workforce is essential to the repair of South Australia’s child broken child protection system.

“The graduates from other fields will require additional training to overcome the lack of experience most are going to have in child protection.”