Better understanding the social service workforce—from professional social workers to community-level frontline workers—as well as their skills, functions, and training needs is a key question facing the child protection and family welfare field. This research, conducted by the CPC Learning Network for UNICEF’s West and Central Africa regional office, sought to better understand how social workers and related professionals are trained and educated –in both formal and less formal ways– to engage in social work practice, especially in regards to child protection, in the region. Research first involved a desk review and phone interviews, then semi- structured interviews and group discussions with 253 individuals in five West African countries from November 2013 to February 2014. The findings suggest tremendous variability in the formal social work training available country and highlight challenges facing the social service workforce, including lack of clarity of job descriptions and legal mandates and inadequate adaptation of training curricula to cultural contexts.
This report is available in English and French below.
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