Reflecting on preparedness for child protection practice: what are the messages of newly qualified child protection social workers and their managers for social work education/training providers and their curriculum?

    Project Details


    In 2021 the UK was again shocked by the details of high-profile child deaths (headlined by the cases of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Sky Hobson). While similar issues were being raised by the ‘independent’ review of children’s social care (McCalister, 2021), messages from partners (including employers, placement agencies and graduates) within CMSWTP continued to highlight areas where newly qualified social work graduates were ill-prepared for the rigours and demands of child protection practice. This narrative perpetuates that espoused by social work practitioners nationally (e.g. BASW, 2021), including in areas like court work, assessment, working with resistance, and managing the demands of a high caseload (Murphy, forthcoming), and links back to concerns raised within the Munro Review of Child Protection (2010; 2011) a decade ago.

    At the same time, a growing body of research continues to highlight the increasing challenges faced by contemporary child protection professionals, as they negotiate, amongst other things, the longstanding ‘cost’ and legacy of austerity (Murphy, 2021); the pressures of an anxiety-provoking inspection regime (Murphy, 2022a); and a continuation of the ‘Baby P effect’ (Murphy, 2022b).

    Thus, this is a timely juncture to explore with frontline practitioners their experiences of knowledge and skill deficit in the context of child protection practice – which will be used to inform curriculum development across the partnership and could lead to findings of national significance (i.e. a consideration of the strengths and limitations of different qualifying routes). There is also potential for the findings to be shared with the lead investigator(s) of the ‘independent’ review of children’s social care.
    Short titlePreparedness for child protection practice
    Effective start/end date4/07/2231/03/23


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