Perceived needs and barriers related to continuing professional development of child protection social workers in Romania

Georgiana Cristina Rentea, Florin Lazăr, Shari Munch, Daniela Gaba, Anca Mihai, Alexandra Ciocănel - Children and Youth Services Review


In twentieth-century Romania, professional social work faced a tortuous development trajectory following the collapse of the communist regime. Such discontinuity, nevertheless, positively influenced specialized education. Trends included government-mandated (Labor Law) continuing professional development (CPD) in 2003, the formation of the National College of Social Workers of Romania in 2005, and specific regulations for child protection workers in 2006. Our paper fills a gap in specialized knowledge regarding CPD in social work in Romania by examining how child protection Romanian social workers experience CPD throughout their professional lives. Twenty-seven in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with child protection social workers with varying years of experience employed in both public service agencies and NGOs. The findings indicate that these social workers are generally motivated to engage in CPD despite barriers such as finances and time. The unidirectional top-down decisions on participation, however, produced discrepancies between completed CPD activities and employees’ perceived educational/learning needs. Implications for the enhancement of dialogue between the various key stakeholders (e.g., social workers, employers, professional bodies, government policymakers) as a measure for optimizing the CPD framework for the child protection social workers are addressed.