Child protection officers promote children’s wellbeing and protect them from harm or abuse.
Salary range: £25,000 to £40,000
How to become a child protection officer
You can get into this job through:
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could do professional development training with your employer then go into child protection work. For example, you may be a police officer and complete relevant courses before moving to a child protection unit within your force.
Volunteering and experience
Experience of working with vulnerable children is essential.
You can get experience by volunteering in the community, with a charity or through paid work. You can get information on volunteering opportunities from:
You can apply directly for jobs if you’re a qualified professional. Employers often look for social workers but other relevant roles include:
- youth worker
- police officer
- family support worker
- probation officer
You’ll need several years’ experience of working with children, young people, their parents and carers. Management experience will also be helpful.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the Association of Child Protection Professionals for career development opportunities and to meet others doing this job.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of psychology
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- active listening skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
You’ll usually need a driving licence.
What you’ll do
You day-to-day duties may include:
- working with other professionals to identify children at risk
- speaking with children, families and carers to assess their needs
- investigating reported concerns and allegations
- advising on child protection issues
- promoting children’s rights, safety and wellbeing
- writing care plans and arranging support
- making referrals to partner agencies
- recording case details and writing reports
- giving evidence in court
- attending training courses
You could work in an office or visit sites.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding and you may spend nights away from home.
Career path and progression
You could become a lead officer, co-ordinating the work of your organisation’s child protection team.
You could also work for safeguarding partnerships between local authorities, schools, health bodies, charities and social services.
With further training and experience, you could become a children’s services inspector or a self-employed consultant, delivering training and advising organisations on child protection policies and regulations.