New Zealand First is renewing calls for the mandatory registration of social workers after the Government announced the expansion of its Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) programme.
A further 80 schools will be covered in the expanded SWiS programme, with 35 new full time social workers already announced for primary schools in Kaipara, Greater Auckland and the South Island.
Social Policy/Welfare spokesperson Asenati Lole-Taylor says it is imperative that social workers are registered, particularly if they are going to work with vulnerable children.
“In the last census 14,000 people identified themselves as social workers yet only 3425 are registered. Experts predict a further 2500-4500 would meet registration.
“That means about 6000 social workers of doubtful ability are out there doing whatever they think they should be doing, and potentially causing all sorts of damage.
“The statistics show us that there is about a 50 per cent chance that a social worker isn’t qualified. That is shocking.”
Mrs Lole-Taylor says the Public Service Association, Children’s Commissioner and social work education providers are all on the record as supporting the registration of all social workers.
“We accept that most social workers are honest, hardworking people but clearly a small percentage aren’t.
“The experts support our calls for mandatory registration which would help weed out the shonky operators.
“It is time for the Government to stop sitting on its hands and take action now.”