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What child protection workers need to do their job well

Published: 18 August 2015

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) agrees with the Mercury editorial published today about the need for Tasmania to have more professionally qualified staff with the expertise required to work with children with challenging problems.

“We agree that these workers should be adequately supported by improved processes and better systems and have access to ongoing professional development,” said National President, Professor Karen Healy.

She says the key to having more professionally qualified staff working with difficult children is to employ social workers who have graduated from accredited courses such as the one provided by the University of Tasmania.

“After that, employers need to provide their social work staff with ongoing professional support and training. This can be as a joint endeavour with the employee’s professional body – such as the Australian Association of Social Workers,” Professor Healy said.

“We require our accredited members to complete a minimum requirement of 30 hours’ professional development every year to ensure they maintain, improve and broaden their skills, knowledge and expertise and develop the qualities required for professional practice.”

Professor Healy concluded by saying that the welfare of children is everyone’s concern and cannot be left to governments alone.

“The AASW is keen to work with the Tasmanian Government. We can advise on the skills employers should seek and the support they should provide to child protection workers to enable them to effectively do their job- that of looking after the needs of young clients, including keeping them safe.”

The Australian Association of Social Workers represents over 9000 professional social workers, many of whom work on the frontline of child protection. Its members work with communities and individuals to promote wellbeing, human rights and social justice in Australia.

To organise an interview with AASW President, Professor Karen Healy, please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager, on 02 6232 3911 or 0408 200 191.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers