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University of Stirling


Certificate in child welfare and protection

This is a vital course for professionals working with vulnerable children, young people and their families. The modules are designed for interdisciplinary learning and may be appropriate for staff working in a broad range of roles and settings.

Key facts

  • Start date: Spring and Autumn starts available
  • Application deadline: End of July for Autumn starts and end of November for Spring starts
  • Study method: part-time
  • Duration: 3 modules, each delivered over 7 days, across 1 year
  • Credit value: SCQF level 10, 60 credits
  • Fees: £2,100
  • Course objectives

    The course consists of three 20 credit modules (Scottish Qualifications and Credit Framework), which are designed to be taken sequentially across one year of study.

    Each module is delivered over seven days through a blend of direct teaching and structured learning activities. Modules are structured to accommodate the pressures experienced by professionals combining adult learning with demanding workloads.

    Unique to this course, there is a final day in the timetable which provides you with the tools and opportunity to review your learning across the course. This review of learning is designed to facilitate embedding of learning in practice and to dovetail the learning outcomes from the course with your ongoing professional development.

  • Structure and content

    Module1 - Understanding children's needs: context and frameworks

    In this module, you'll consider the key theoretical and conceptual frameworks which inform and direct effective child-centred practice. Direct teaching by experienced practitioner academics covers essential learning in areas of child development, attachment, resilience and parenting capacity. Law tutors provide direct teaching on key legislation.

    Module 2 - Understanding children's experiences: assessment and decision making

    This module examines the components of accurate and empathic assessments of the impact of adversity on children and young people. You'll gain an improved understanding of the processes of analysis, judgement and decision making and the impact of different assessment frameworks and models on professional judgement and decision-making. Psychological, sociological and practice specific research will be used to help students explore their own practice and consider how individual and agency practice can be further developed.

    Module 3 - Improving outcomes for children and young people

    This module provides you with the tools to critically analyse how the different forms of intervention and care can improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. With a solution-focused approach and drawing on the concept of resilience the module will enhance and promote interventions that are focused on children and young people’s developmental needs. Consideration of outcomes for children and young people will be at the heart of planning, implementation and review of care plans.

  • Teaching

    This Certificate is delivered locally at venues throughout Scotland. Timetables are available on request from the course administrator -

    Teaching includes tutor-led workshops and structured learning opportunities using module resources on the course website. The timetable is designed to be flexible and responsive to the demands of practice.

    The course has been designed in partnership with professional agencies. It's delivered by a team of highly experienced educators, whose professional practice, research and writing ensures that the course remains at the forefront of post-qualifying education.

  • Module co-ordinator

    Mr Duncan Helm

  • Employability

    This Certificate is now part of the newly University approved MSc Applied Professional Studies. This means those who complete the Certificate (at level 11) will now be able to progress onto a postgraduate diploma and then an MSc. It is possible for those who studied at level ten to undertake a portfolio (at level 11) if they wish to progress onto the postgraduate diploma.

    Diploma (one year)

    You can choose from a range of modules within the MSc framework in their second year of study, allowing them to build credit and relevant study towards a Diploma in Applied Professional Studies.

    MSc Applied Professional Studies (normally six months)

    You'll receive online and seminar teaching on research methods. You'll be allocated a supervisor who will support you to undertake an empirical study on a topic of your choosing and to submit a 15,000 word dissertation.

  • Industry connections

    The Social Work course team has an international reputation for high quality research and teaching in child welfare and protection. They have been established for many years and have a recognised strength in delivering learning opportunities which are grounded in practice, and use theory and research to develop effective child-centred assessments and interventions.

    University of Stirling Social Work has an established reputation for post-qualifying courses and we have very strong links with the agencies sponsoring candidates onto our course. We have regular agency liaison events and regular communication regarding candidate progress. These links ensure that candidates are well prepared and supported for study. Where necessary, we are highly responsive and provide flexibility for candidates whose studies may be affected by external circumstances.

  • How to apply

    Please complete the application form and email it back to

Contact us

For more information contact our course administrator:

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