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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 13 December (HL3750), what progress they have made in developing a continuous professional development programme for social workers; and where details of that programme can be accessed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 13 December (HL3750), what guidance on (1) the cultures of specific minority ethnic communities, and (2) understanding different minority cultures, is provided to social workers who assess children for care or adoption.
Ensuring children are safe is our priority. Councils are expected to place children with foster parents who are best suited to their needs. For adoption, courts and adoption agencies must have regard to any of a child’s characteristics. This could include a child’s religious persuasion, racial origin, and cultural and linguistic background if thought relevant. Adoption agencies must work within the national regulatory frameworks, exercise their own professional judgement and develop their own policies to meet local needs. This is set out in the attached ‘Statutory Guidance on Adoption’ and can be found in Chapter 4.
The department commissioned the consultancy Mott Macdonald to produce materials for continuing professional development of social workers in achieving permanence. This contract was completed in December, with significant input from an expert working group of sector representatives. The department will consider how to take this forward in due course. This is in addition to the Assessed and Supported Year in Education programme, available to all newly qualified children and family social workers, the Practice Leaders Development Programme, and the Practice Supervisors Development Programme, which is currently under development.