Guidelines to Strengthen the Social Service Workforce for Child Protection, developed by UNICEF in consultation with UNICEF headquarters and regional offices and the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, are informed by evidence of what works in practice, and lessons learned in the field. They are designed to accelerate programmes on strengthening, supporting and developing the social service workforce with national and regional partners.
The guidelines recognize that a qualified social service workforce – paid and unpaid, government and non-governmental, professional and para-professional – is often the first line of response for children and families in need. It is also the most important element in a well-functioning child protection system.
The guidelines provide recommended strategies and interventions to strengthen the social service workforce to strengthen child protection systems by:
- increasing the understanding of the role and function of the social service workforce within the child protection system;
- increasing the understanding of the composition of the workforce and the key actors that constitute the workforce
- recommending evidence-based strategies and interventions for strengthening the social service workforce in the short, medium and long term;
- highlighting the specific role that UNICEF can play in strengthening the social service workforce at the regional and national levels;
- strengthening country-level, regional and global monitoring for measuring progress on strengthening the social service workforce, and its impact on child protection prevention and response services.
The Guidelines focus on three key aspects of social service workforce strengthening:
- planning the social service workforce
- developing the social service workforce
- supporting the social service workforce
Under each of these areas, the Guidelines highlight a series of interventions that focus on enhancing the capacity of the workforce to deliver promotive, preventative, and responsive interventions that support families and children in communities. Additionally, the Guidelines provide examples of how social service workers provide these services by facilitating and coordinating efforts across various sectors.