Current UK social work courses last two years. During this short period students are required to develop a sound set of values, learn the statutory duties and provisions of local authorities not just towards children but to all client groups, acquire a social science base that includes an appreciation of multi-cultural, economic and political aspects, explore assessment and methods of intervention, practice social work skills and divide their time between college and agency placements.
Returning to children, CCETSW expects all students at the point of qualification to know something about children and their families and:
Essential for the qualified worker will be the ability to create effective
means of communication for all the members of the family concerned.
This includes communication with the child or young person within
their own family as well as when accommodated elsewhere. (CCETSW,
This communication will depend heavily on knowing what and who children are, how they develop, what their needs are and how they are affected when things go wrong. This is a tall order for any student on any course but particularly so for social workers. The enormous increase in concern about child abuse in the last twenty years has led to corresponding pressure on a training system which still aims to train workers generically, that is to be able to transfer knowledge, skill and practice across numerous settings and client groups. As we have seen, too, child-care law has become more complex and protection procedures more legalistic.
This begs the question why the growth in child-care concern has not led