The development of a skilled and well-supported social service workforce is particularly important as countries move toward reforming their care systems and work to reduce reliance on residential care, strengthen families, prevent separation and promote family and community-based alternative care options. This is a challenging undertaking that requires social service actors from national to community level who are competent and willing to make changes to the way they deliver care, and are able to establish and manage a new range of preventive and responsive care services to children and families.
Strengthening the social service workforce in any country is complex. It involves creating supportive legislation and policies; developing recruitment, selection, employment, supervision, support and registration procedures; establishing education and training programmes; improving working conditions, ensuring licensing and practice standards; recognizing the status of care professionals; and raising awareness to change mindsets on care.
All of this requires working with a wide range of actors involved in supporting children and families. Substantial allocation (or redirection) of financial resources is also required, to ensure that sufficient numbers of skilled social service workers are available to work directly with children and their families at the community level, as well as at a higher administrative level to oversee care services and regulations.
This section contains documentation of social service workforce development within the context of national care reform and child protection system strengthening, including guidance, lessons learned and training tools.