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Child Rearing

Question for Department for Education

UIN 77463, tabled on 18 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parental alienation is part of a social worker's (a) initial and (b) ongoing training.

Answered on

23 November 2021

All social workers in England must meet the professional standards set by the regulator, Social Work England. Providers of initial training must meet the education and training standards, also set by the regulator, to ensure their students can meet the professional standards. The department has also introduced clear post-qualifying standards, setting out the knowledge and skills expected of child and family social workers.

These standards cover working with parents, including managing tensions between parents and family members, the effect of different parenting styles and assessing parental capacity and capability to change.

It is for providers of initial education, ongoing training and local authority employers to decide specific areas of focus, for example, parental alienation, within social worker training, with reference to the relevant standards. This enables training at all levels to be tailored to the needs of individuals, responsive and up to date.

The definitions and risk factor categories defined in the department’s data collection on initial and end of assessments are not intended to be exhaustive, and parental alienation is not a specific category. However, all potential risk factors will be assessed including the impact of such behaviours on a child and the extent to which they may be considered harmful.

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