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Reforming Social Work: Improving social worker recruitment, training and retention

Social workers play an essential and often unrecognised role in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. For individuals and families who come into contact with them, the services and guidance they provide can be essential, providing guidance, support, and access to vital services. The goal of this report is to highlight ways in which the social work profession can be reformed in the face of significant challenges to effect improvement in the lives of the most vulnerable.

For social services to be effective, they must have enough skilled, motivated, and qualified staff. Unfortunately, the long-term outlook for the social work workforce is bleak. The profession faces two key problems: the recruitment of social workers with the right skills and retaining the most effective and experienced social workers. More importantly, failing to develop an effective social work workforce this means that vulnerable groups in society do not get the support or help they need. This report outlines barriers to achieving this.