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Qualifications and requirements

The role of the child protection practitioner requires specialist child welfare knowledge as well as the ability to exercise legal delegations. As such it is paramount that staff are well prepared and able to practice in this dynamic and challenging environment.

The role of the child protection practitioner requires specialist child welfare knowledge as well as the ability to exercise legal delegations. As such it is paramount that staff are well prepared and able to practice in this dynamic and challenging environment.

Whether you need a qualification and experience to work in child protection depends on the level of the role you are applying for. Roles in child protection are classified by the Child Protection Practitioner (CPP) grading system.

The requirements required at each CPP grade are:

  • CPP2 - No experience or qualifications required
  • CPP3 - Qualification required
  • CPP4 - Qualification required and minimum 2 years work experience
  • CPP5 - Qualification required and more than 4+ years experience
  • CPP6 - Qualification required and extensive experience

To work in child protection staff must either hold a mandatory or relevant qualification, however there are also pathways for those who bring significant cultural or lived experience.

There is more than one qualification pathway to be able to work in Child Protection, divided into four streams:

  • Stream 1 – Social Work degree
  • Stream 2 - Welfare degree 
  • Stream 3 – Psychology degree
  • Stream 4 – Combination of qualifications and work experience

Stream 1 – Social Work degree

Qualifications in this category mean you are eligible to work in child protection and the curriculum content of these degrees is most compatible with the graduate attributes sought for entry into child protection practitioner positions.

  • Qualifications recognised by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). You can find out if your degree is recognised on the AASW website.
  • Include a primary focus on child development, human behaviour, family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma
  • Have, preferably, a supervised practical component such as counselling or case work practise. 
  • The curriculum content of these degrees is most compatible with the graduate attributes sought for entry into child protection practitioner positions. These courses include specific child wellbeing and protection core curriculum. They encompass the basic attitudes and values, knowledge and practice skills needed to promote the wellbeing of children, young people, and families and to prevent or respond to child abuse and neglect. Supervised practical placements form a core component of the program.

Stream 2 – Welfare degree

Qualifications in this category mean you are eligible to work in child protection and the curriculum content of these qualifications is compatible with the graduate attributes sought for entry into child protection practitioner positions.

  • Qualifications recognised by the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA). You can find out if your qualification is recognised on the ACWA website.
  • Minimum diploma level qualifications that are with a registered training organisation. Usually these are studied over a period of 1 – 2 academic years of full-time study (or part-time equivalent). The core unit must include stages of development and influences (comprising physical, cognitive, social and emotional development including attachment theory), human behaviour (that is, how behaviour is shaped by biology, learning experiences, cognitive, social and emotional development), family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma. These courses may contain units of study in counselling, casework practice and/or a supervised practical placement. 

Stream 3 – Psychology degree

If you have a qualification in this category you can be eligible to work in Child Protection.

  • A psychology degree or major accredited by the Australian Psychologist Accreditation Council (APAC). You can find out if your qualification is accredited on the APAC website.

Stream 4 – Combination of qualifications and work experience

If you do not have qualifications that fit into Stream 1, 2 or 3, you may still be able to work in child protection based on other suitable qualifications combined at least 12 months’ relevant work experience.

  • A combination of degrees or diplomas that had core units including child development and human behaviour. Units on family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma are also highly desirable. This meets the minimum requirements to work in Child Protection.

Upon submission of your online application, your qualification, transcript and experience will be assessed by the Child Protection Recruitment team as part of the recruitment process.

Still studying?

While you need to have completed your qualifications to apply for a position as a CPP3 Child Protection Practitioner or above, if you don’t have the required qualifications you may want to consider applying for a CPP2 Child Protection Practice Support role.

If you are currently completing your final year of study you may wish to read more about our employment pathways for students through our student placements and employment programs.