- Promote children's wellbeing and protect them from harm or abuse
- You'll need counselling skills including active listening & a non-judgemental approach
- Your working environment may be emotionally demanding
As a child protection officer you'll be responsible for promoting children's wellbeing and protecting them from harm or abuse.
- Working with other professionals to identify children at risk
- Speaking with children, families and carers to assess their needs
- Investigating reported concerns and allegations
- Advising on child protection issues
- Promoting children's rights, safety and wellbeing
- Writing care plans and arranging support
- Making referrals to partner agencies
- Recording case details and writing reports
- Giving evidence in court and attending training courses
You could work in an office or visit sites. Your working environment may be emotionally demanding and you may spend nights away from home.
This role would be ideal for someone with counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach, sensitivity and understanding and patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
You can apply directly for jobs if you're a qualified professional. Employers often look for social workers but other relevant roles include youth worker, teacher, police officer, family support worker and probation officer. You'll need several years' experience of working with children, young people, their parents and carers. Management experience will also be helpful. You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults and you'll usually need a driving licence.
Experience of working with vulnerable children is essential. You can get experience by volunteering in the community, with a charity or through paid work. You can get information on volunteering opportunities from: NSPCC, The Children's Society and Do-it.
You could also do professional development training with your employer then go into child protection work. For example, you may be a police officer and complete relevant courses before moving to a child protection unit within your force.
You could join the Association of Child Protection Professionals for career development opportunities and to meet others doing this job.
With experience, you could become a lead officer, co-ordinating the work of your organisation's child protection team. You could also work for safeguarding partnerships between local authorities, schools, health bodies, charities and social services. With further training and experience, you could become a children's services inspector or a self-employed consultant, delivering training and advising organisations on child protection policies and regulations.