Recognising the vital role social workers play in supporting some of the most vulnerable children and families, local authorities will be allocated a share of £11.7 million to hire up to 461 extra social work apprentices, as part of government plans to build a social worker workforce fit for the future.
The extra funding will bolster the workforce and better support the most vulnerable families and children across the country. Over 1,000 new trainee social workers have also been recruited, and will be supported in their initial education this academic year through the fast track to social work and step-up programmes.
Backed by £200 million over the next two years, the strategy will transform the current care system to focus on more early support for families, reducing the need for crisis response at a later stage. Building on the commitment to reduce the overreliance on agency social workers, the government has also published its response to the consultation on agency child and family social worker workforce.
The response sets out proposed national rules to improve the stability and quality of the social worker workforce, with the aim of increasing transparency around the use and cost of agency social workers.
Care leavers will also be celebrated this week as part of care leavers week, which begins today, with a series of events hosted by the government, including an event at 10 Downing Street for ministers to meet with and celebrate care leavers. Minister Johnston will also visit West Ham Football Club to see their Future Programme in action. The programme helps care experienced young people develop skills, access new experiences and connects them to their communities.
David Johnston, Minister for Children and Families, said:
“A strong social care workforce is key to achieving our ambition to reform the children’s care sector.
Children’s social workers play a vital role in helping the country’s most vulnerable families, which is why we’re boosting training opportunities and strengthening rules on using agency staff.
This care leavers week we want to shine a light on the inspirational care workers who have overcome challenges.”