As one with an MSW degree who had 2 years of graduate level education that focused on social work, along with 2 different field placements which allowed for diverse learning experiences, I have some difficulty in how those from another profession can be ‘fast tracked’ as social workers. While it is important to choose applicants for their personality, characteristics and grades not everyone has the skills to make a switch to children’s social work. Why the focus only on children’s social work? Social work is so much more than that-seniors/older adults, adults with mental health issues, war veteran’s, community social work, school social work, assistance for those with learning disabilities, developmental disabilities are just a few.
Also, the continuous 2 year placement in a single local authority-why? Diverse field placement experiences are a good thing and allow one who has never been part of the field of social work at any level to ‘try out’ the population they want to work with, to have 2 supervisors, different experiences of working with various colleagues with different levels of experience. One learning experience could be focused on case management with the next focusing on counselling or child protection.
After reading: the IPPR Report  detailing the changes,

“Children’s social work is under enormous strain. Chronic funding pressures, a ballooning workload and a poorly trained and supported workforce have all combined to put vulnerable children’s lives at risk.”

I would imagine that all social service agencies and programs are underfunded, most workers have ballooning case loads and to me it makes sense to offer additional training to the existing social worker’s instead of recruiting new workers from different fields and providing them with free education, wages for their placements and then NOT requiring them to work in the field after graduation for a set amount of time.

It will be interesting to see how Frontline is received by current BSW’s and MSW’s and by those who have worked in the field of social work for years.




Social Work/Social Care & Media

JoshMacAlisterIt’s been an exciting and busy time for Frontline over the last few weeks and we have high hopes for the future. I am now working full time to make Frontline, a programme to boost the number of high potential graduates and career switchers in children’s social work, a reality.

Never far from my thoughts is the question of how Frontline will contribute to addressing the three points most people agree on, as outlined in the IPPR report published in October 2012. Firstly, the status of the social work profession is low. Secondly, the work requires a demanding mix of skills and attributes, and thirdly, protecting vulnerable children is one of the most vital and rewarding professions. How then can we develop, promote and implement Frontline in a way which acts as a catalyst for wider change – attracting more people with the right skills and attributes to be outstanding…

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