Child protection services in the UK have developed into a complex inter-agency system that aims to combine the expertise of various professional groups, with the joint objective of safeguarding children. This is a brief guide to qualification in this specialised and important field.
Most child protection workers, or those given child protection duties and responsibilities, are members of professions like teaching, social work or medicine. In order to enter these professions, university qualification is required. Police officers do not require academic qualifications, although many have them. However, they have to undergo specific training provided by their police force. Some universities provide specialised training in child protection that can be taken as part of a degree qualification. Example An example is the University of Leicester’s Centre for Child Protection Studies, which offers various qualifications including a Post Graduate Certificate in Supervision and Mentorship (Child Care), diplomas and Masters programmes in Child Welfare Studies. Some of these programmes can now be taken by means of distance learning.
Specific agencies which are involved in child protection also offer their own specifically designed training courses, targeted for the development of new to experienced practitioners in the field.
NSPCC Most notable is the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a well-established child welfare charity, which runs a range of training seminars at various venues in the UK, throughout the year. These range from very basic introductory seminars to week-long intensive training about specific issues. They also provide training to organisations on request and offer their online Educare child protection awareness programmes.
SAFEchild SAFEchild is a training organisation staffed by highly qualified and experienced child protection experts, which provides online, face-to-face or blended child protection courses for anyone working in the field. They develop their own training courses to fully comply with relevant government guidelines and legislation. CEOP The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre is a policing branch dedicated to detecting and eradicating child sexual abuse, particularly where this happens or is facilitated by the internet. They provide their own courses for child protection workers who work within the criminal justice or penal system, with offenders, or carry responsibility of safeguarding children from sexual offenders.