Strengthening the social service workforce to protect children
Social service workers are on the frontlines for children at risk of violence, abuse, discrimination and poverty.
Social service workers are often the first line of response for children in harm's way.
Working closely with children and families, they identify and manage risks that children may be exposed to at home and elsewhere, especially those related to violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect, discrimination and poverty. Social service workers promote children’s physical and psychological well-being by connecting them with critical social services – like health care, education and social protection – and by challenging harmful norms that violate a child’s rights.
One of the most important elements of a well-functioning child protection system is a qualified social service workforce – one that consists of both government and non-governmental professionals and para-professionals.
But in too many places, the social service workforce is often under-resourced, lacking the financial, and sometimes political, support to protect children and their families. In the absence of well-equipped social service workers, the laws, policies and programmes that governments establish to protect children risk being undermined.
UNICEF works closely with governments and other partners to develop and support the social service workforce.
We assist governments with policy, legislation, regulatory frameworks and human resources that strengthen the workforce, while aligning diverse sectors to leverage local knowledge and help train social service workers.
Our efforts put individuals at the centre, focusing on recruiting, training and retaining workers; investing in quality management; and promoting career development.