Certificate in Child Welfare and Protection

The Certificate in Child Welfare and Protection is a vital programme for professionals working with vulnerable children, young people and their families. The modules are designed for inter-disciplinary learning and may be appropriate for staff working in a broad range of roles and

This is a post-qualifying course for staff working in child welfare and protection, including those in social work, health, education, the police and associated disciplines. With a focus on improving outcomes for children, this course tackles core challenges in practice including assessment, planning and effective practice. The course builds professional knowledge and competence sequentially through consideration of key frameworks (such as attachment theory and resilience), critical reflection on multi-professional judgement and decision-making, through to examination of the latest research and practice developments in care planning and intervention.

Study method: Part-time

  • Credit value SCQF 10 60
  • Fees £2,100


The Certificate 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 students with the tools and opportunity to review their 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 the student’s ongoing professional development.

Structure and Content

Understanding children's needs: context and frameworks

In this module, students 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.

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. Students will 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.

Improving outcomes for children and young people

This module provides students 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.

Dates on campus(s)

The Certificate is delivered locally at venues throughout Scotland. Timetables are available on request from the administrator (cpdsocialwork@stir.ac.uk). Teaching includes tutor-led workshops and structured learning opportunities using module resources on the programme website. The timetable is designed to be flexible and responsive to the demands of practice.

Module Co-ordinator(s)

Mr Duncan Helm

Our students

A few words from past students of the Certificate:

“The course has made a huge difference in my work and has inspired me to keep the momentum going and help me become more reflective and analytical”.

“The tutor has an excellent teaching style that keeps you listening and ensures everyone gets a chance to participate”.

“I can see a difference in my practice. I feel more confident”.

Our Staff

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

Application Procedure

Applied Professional Studies UG Application Form and return by email to cpdsocialwork@stir.ac.uk


Taking the learning further

This Certificate is now part of the newly University approved MSc. in Applied Professional Studies. This means those who complete the Certificate (at level 11) will now be able to progress onto a 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 Diploma.

Diploma (one year)

Students 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)

Students will receive online and seminar teaching on research methods. They will be allocated a supervisor to support them to undertake an empirical study on a topic of the student’s choosing and to submit a 15,000 word dissertation.

Industry connections

The Social Work CPD team has an international reputation for high quality research and teaching in child welfare and protection. The course team has been established for many years and has 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 CPD has an established reputation for post-qualifying courses and we have very strong links with the agencies sponsoring candidates onto our course. Partnership working with sponsoring agencies is supported by 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.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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