D4 Published development or research report or study
Osaaminen lastensuojelun sosiaalityössä : Esitys asiantuntijuutta tukevasta urapolkumallista (2020)

Yliruka, L., Petrelius, P., Alho, S., Jaakola, A.-M., Lunabba, H., Remes, S., Keränen, S., Teiro, S., & Terämä, A.-M. (2020). Osaaminen lastensuojelun sosiaalityössä : Esitys asiantuntijuutta tukevasta urapolkumallista. Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos. Työpaperi / Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos, 36/2020. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-343-571-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Yliruka, Laura; Petrelius, Päivi; Alho, Sirkka; Jaakola, Anne-Mari; Lunabba, Harry; Remes, Silja; Keränen, Saara; Teiro, Sanna; Terämä, Anne-Marie

eISBN: 978-952-343-571-1

Journal or series: Työpaperi / Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos

eISSN: 2323-363X

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 36/2020

Number of pages in the book: 71

Publisher: Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos

Place of Publication: Helsinki

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-343-571-1

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73476


As part of the Programme to address child and family services (LAPE) the observation was made that there is no outline for child welfare at the national level. A need exists to specify skills and knowledge and the structures that support them. A working group (Lasto) took up this challenge because giving words to skills and knowledge and the structures that support them is seen to be of significance both for the effectiveness of child welfare and for the well-being of the employees. The Child Welfare Act sets a frame of reference for the work, but it does not define professional skill and practices.High turnover in personnel, and the fact that it has not been possible to create a career path in work with customers are challenges in child welfare work. At the practical level career advancement has meant rising to positions of administrative, or development work. Those engaged in demanding child welfare work do not have structures in which special expertisewould be recognised, with the exception of the tasks of the special social workers of some communities. The goal of the Lastoworking group has been to put together a proposal for a description of the skills and knowledge needed by a social worker and to consider what kinds of structures that support new skills and knowledge need to be added to training for a degree in social work. The aim is for social workers tak-ing positions in child welfare to attain a good command of their sector from the very beginning of their careers in child welfare. Matters to consider have included the junior model of child welfare social work and a unified structure of familiarisation.Universities have defined some of the skills and knowledge that a university education and the practical teaching of social work as a part of it aimsat. At the same time, Valvirahas asked universities to draft cri-teria for the skills that a social worker should have to achieve the goal of customer safety. Evaluating these criteria in parallel shows,that achieving these skills and knowledge in child welfare requires further educa-tion and experience. The question arises whose responsibility is it to ensure the accumulation of these skills. In this publication we first seek to describe what kinds of processes and structures enable the accrual of such competence. Second, the working group has visualised what subject matter should be mastered after basic education so that the criteria recognised by Valvira could be met in the context of child welfare and above all, to enable child welfare to carry out its fundamental task with distinction.The working group has examined both international and Finnish experiences on the processes and struc-tures that are used to provide support for competence in child welfare. To support its work the working group also drafted a national questionnaire targeting social workers specialised in child welfare. The mate-rial for the questionnaire was compiled in August and September 2019. The total number of social workers responding to the survey was 232. The purpose of the survey was to studythe needs and shortcomings in skills and knowledge among child welfare social workers and how their skills and knowledge could be supported in different phases of their careers. The survey targeted students of social work, those in the early phases of their child welfare careers, and experienced child welfare social workers. Results that we have received show that a large volume of customers in child welfare social work significantly increases feelings of stress experienced by social workers. Stress is notaffected by the length of a person's working career; having large numbers of customers has been found to be stressful for so-called novices as well as seniors. Extensive experience at work does not seem to protect against work-related exhaustion. According to the survey, social workers with more than six years of work experience are the best at utilising their skills and knowledge. Practical application of capital deriving from skills and knowledge requires a relatively lengthy career in child welfare work. Working conditions together with sufficient orientation in the early stage of the career, the possibility for teamwork and work in pairs, and input into occupational well-being made it easier to cope with the work. One individual change in the working culture that many were hoping for was an expansion of the systemic child welfare operating model to cover the respondent's own working com-munity. The survey showed that one in three social workers had received training in the operating model for systemic child welfare. Excessively large numbers of customers and structural shortcomings neverthe-less impede the optimal adoption of the operating model.Members of the working group represent four universities and university consortia (University of Hel-sinki, University of Tampere, Kokkola University Consortium, University of Jyväskylä, University of Tur-ku), three municipalities or federations of municipalities: Jyväskylä, Helsinki, and Kymsoteand the Heikki Waris Institute of Socca,the Centre of Excellence on Social Welfare in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. To support skills and knowledge in child welfare, the working group is proposing the idea of a career path model, combining strong support in the early stages (the so-called junior stage) with fewer customers, and a career path based on continuous learning and professional and/or scientific qualification that recog-nises and supports professional qualification and special skills and knowledge.The implementation of the career path requires reflective structures from the organisations, enabling learning for the employees, and which reinforce psychological security, experiences of meaningfulness, and coping with work. The working group proposes that creating and establishing thesestructures should be the duty of the employer as part of regional Research and development, innovation, and teaching structures (for example, as part of the Centres of Expertise and Support), while nevertheless requiring the support of national guidance, a career path frame of reference, and support. In the future, the career path model should be developed through experimentation, and it requires funding, for example, from the continuous learning programme of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The career path model also requires the support of a digital work platform. In fact, the aim of the career path model is to reduce, for its part, turnover among social workers in child welfare work with customers, which is a critical question from the point of view the customer experience and the rights of children.

Keywords: social workers; know-how; familiarisation; professional development; expertise; child protection; career; career development

Free keywords: special skills and knowledge; familiarisation; career path; reflective structures

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2022-14-09 at 12:25