HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 c343W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to improve the(a) pay, (b) conditions, (c) training and (d) career prospects of staff in residential care establishments for children. [80473]

Jacqui Smith

The Government do not have direct responsibility for pay and career progression within social care. These are the responsibility of the individual employers. However we are taking a lead in developing partnerships with employers.

The national social care recruitment campaign aims to raise awareness about the type of work social workers and social care staff actually do and the career prospects available across all aspects of social care work, including residential child care.

The National Minimum Standards that the National Care Standards Commission is using to register and inspect children's homes includes standards for training and qualifications for residential child care staff. These start with induction training that is to be undertaken within six weeks of commencing employment and leading through foundation training to the Level 3 Caring for Children and Young People National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).

The standards also state that the registered manager of a children's home should have either a Level 4 Care NVQ or a Diploma in Social Work (DipSW) qualification and a Level 4 NVQ in Management. The inclusion of specific qualifications within the national minimum standards helps to raise the profile of residential child care staff and lay down a career path for them.

Funding is available through the training support programme grant and the training strategy implementation fund to help staff undertake these various levels of training. Funding is also available to enable social workers within children's homes to undertake further specialist training in the form of a post qualification in child care award.

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