Government continues children's social care reform

Funding for over 460 new children’s social worker apprenticeship opportunities across the country

Recognising the vital role social workers play in supporting some of the most vulnerable children and families, local authorities will today 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.

Supporting children’s social workers is an integral part of the ambitious, wide-ranging children’s social care implementation strategy. 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 today 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."

Recognising the need for high-quality training, the government has appointed the first wave of early adopter local authorities for the early career framework training programme which will support children’s social workers as they join and develop in the profession.

The local authorities, including Birmingham and Tower Hamlets, are now working with the department to co-design the programme, alongside an expert writing group that is drafting the framework itself.

The government is also supporting local authorities to provide positive working environments, to attract and retain children’s social workers to these important roles. A national virtual hub is to be created containing resources to support local authorities to improve working conditions, workload, health and wellbeing and organisational culture and the national workload action group is looking into unnecessary drivers of bureaucracy to promote more time with children and families.

Department for Education
David Johnston OBE MP