Social workers have a key role in protecting our most vulnerable children. It is vital that the honours degree in social work properly equips them with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to deal with child care and child protection issues. Whilst individual social workers and employers have responsibilities for continuing professional development beyond the initial qualification, it is crucial that the degree should provide a solid foundation on which deeper knowledge and skills can be built.
The Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection provide an important step forward. These are learning outcomes and competencies in relation to child care and protection in social work degree programmes and have been developed by the Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work Education in consultation with key stakeholders. They enhance and are aligned to the more generic Standards in Social Work Education ( SiSWE) as laid out in the Framework for Social Work Education in Scotland 1 .
It is now vital for those concerned with social work education in Scotland, including universities and employers, to work in partnership to embed the Key Capabilities in the degree programmes. Only through doing this can a consistent approach be achieved which will produce better outcomes for service users.
The Scottish Executive is committed to its vision for children which says that they need to be safe, nurtured, healthy, achieving, active, respected, responsible and included. We are also committed to achieving a competent and confident social work workforce equipped to make this vision a reality. The provision of high quality social work education is a fundamental cornerstone in this process and I am convinced the Key Capabilities will provide an excellent framework for new social workers to make their own contribution. With your help, we can ensure that they are given the best preparation to provide the level of care and protection our most vulnerable children deserve.