The role of the child protection practitioner requires specialist child welfare knowledge as well as the ability to exercise legal delegations. As such it is paramount that staff are well prepared and able to practice in this dynamic and challenging environment.
There are clearly defined categories outlining criteria and mandatory qualifications and these are broken into three groups:
The curriculum content of these degrees is most compatible with the graduate attributes sought for entry into child protection practitioner positions. These courses include specific child wellbeing and protection core curriculum. They encompass the basic attitudes and values, knowledge and practice skills needed to promote the wellbeing of children, young people, and families and to prevent or respond to child abuse and neglect. Supervised practical placements form a core component of the program. The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) accredits these degrees.
Category B - Relevant qualifications
These courses are at minimum bachelor level degrees with child protection associated core content including child development (comprising physical, cognitive, social and emotional development), human behaviour (that is, how behaviour is shaped by biology, learning experiences, cognitive, social and emotional development), family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma. These courses may contain units of study in counselling, casework practice and/or a supervised practical placement.
Category C - Minimum education requirements
The following qualifications are the minimum requirements for entry into a child protection practitioner role. These include diploma level qualifications and are studied over a minimum of two academic years of full time study (or part time equivalent). They include child protection associated core curriculum such as child development, human behaviour, family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma. These courses also include a minimum of 400 hours of supervised field work placement ideally completed within the child and family welfare sector, and at least one unit of study in case management, case work practice or counselling. The Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) approves these courses.