Rise in demand for social workers with adoption expertise in drive to boost number of adoptions
Jobsgopublic explains that the push to place more children with adoptive families has seen the number of roles for social workers with adoption experience more than double in the last three months alone. Figures from Jobsgopublic show the number of adoption roles available on its job board has risen from 35 to 83 in the three months to July, reflecting the trend in the broader market.
In April, three new voluntary* adoption agencies were opened as part of Government changes to increase the number of potential adopters, with the three agencies aiming to attract 300 more adopters in the next three years. Local authorities and the voluntary sector have received £66 million in additional funding to support the implementation of adoption reforms, including recruiting more adopters.
Jobsgopublic says that local authorities are looking to build on big improvements in adoption rates achieved in recent years. The overall number of adoptions has gone up 18% in the last year alone, from 5,696 in 2012/2013 to 6,745 in 2013/2014**, although adoptions of children aged five and over have not experienced the same growth, going from 1,822 to 1,853 over the same period.
Miles Skelton, Managing Director of Jobsgopublic, comments: “New targets and funding are playing a part in the improvements in adoption speeds recently. Recruitment in the sector has picked up markedly in the last three months as adoption teams expand, both within local authorities and the voluntary sector. There is a specialised set of skills required in this area, and social workers with that skillset are in strong demand.”
Jobsgopublic says that a lot of adoption specialist social work posts require at least three years of direct experience in adoption combined with a degree level or even a Masters qualification in social work. Many candidates must also demonstrate they have undergone assessment of their skills by the Health and Care Professionals Council.
Another key skill is to have strong knowledge of key legislation, including the Adoption & Children Act, and the ability to apply that knowledge in a wide range of environments, such as in child protection conferences and court.
Continues Miles Skelton: “The demand for adoption specialist social workers is likely to be sustained for some time as the Government aims for the improvement in overall adoption rates to be reflected in the five years and over age group.”
“Securing adoptions for these children is more challenging, and more experienced social workers are needed to drive improvement. Maintaining a deep pool of talent within the sector is crucial for local authorities and agencies to be able to deliver on the testing targets the Government has set.”
* Independent of local authorities
** Year end March 31