Workforce increasingly professionalized - National Social Workers Day
National Social Workers Day (28th) is a chance for all Child, Youth and Family’s staff to recognise the contribution of
its social workers in improving outcomes for at-risk children and young people and turning around young lives for the
In August, Child, Youth and Family, received its highest-ever monthly number of notifications of potential abuse –
5,149. Despite this, for care and protection notifications, all timeliness according to performance standards was met or
There was also a record number of referrals for youth justice family group conferences received during August – a total
of 856. This was the highest number received in a month since March 2004 when there was 803. Almost 80 per cent of these
referrals were accepted to proceed to a youth justice family group conference.
At the same time, Child, Youth and Family’s social workers are moving to increased professionalization following the
introduction of the Social Workers Registration Act, with 1,300 staff applying for registration.
“We place a high priority on our staff becoming a registered workforce and have assisted in making this happen by
offering to pay the registration fees for all staff wishing to take this step. Registration is important in making the
workforce more professionalized which can only be good for the profession,” said Paula Tyler, Child, Youth and Family’s
Under the Act which came into force on 1 October 2004, the Social Workers Registration Board was set up and established
clear criteria for the registration of social workers.
This criteria includes holding a recognised New Zealand qualification, being competent to practice social work and
having sufficient practical experience in practising social work.
Part of the registration process requires applicants to obtain a competency assessment certificate. The Department has
over 1150 frontline social workers.
It is now ready to assist staff to complete competency assessments so as to obtain a competency certificate in order to
gain registration. This means progressing around 300 to 350 staff through competency assessments every six months.
All those holding registration are nationally-recognised in having reached a minimum professional standard.
In August, as part of the professional development of its staff, the Department also distributed individualised
Professional Portfolio folders to nearly all its social workers. These folders have been developed for staff to store
all information relevant to their professional learning and its content promote the Department’s focus as a learning
On National Social Workers Day, the Department’s sites will mark the occasion with a morning tea for their social