Increasing fees for social work students would negatively impact workforce capacity and outcomes for children and families
Proposed Australian Government changes are threatening to increase the cost of studying social work. This runs contrary to strong evidence of the need for more qualified social workers.
The Job-Ready Graduates Higher Education Reform Package 2020, which reportedly aims to attract students to qualifications in fields with good employment outcomes, is likely to more than double the cost of social work courses as a result of steep increases imposed on study in the social sciences.
This is despite numerous state and federal government reports recognising the value added by the social work profession across a range of community settings, along with existing and likely future shortages of available qualified staff.
Reducing available social work workforce capacity is a significant risk for the future and will undermine the capacity of teams in the child and family sector to deliver the best outcomes for children and families. It will also damage the sector’s capacity to support a strong evidence informed learning system of what works for children, youth and families.
For more about this policy, and the position of CFECFW and OPEN on this issue, please read this statement from our CEO, Deb Tsorbaris.
The OPEN Steering Committee’s Cathy Humphries, Professor of Social Work at Melbourne University has also provided this article.
This is a crucial issue for our sector – feel free to promote these concerns across your own networks.