International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

The Experiences of a Commissioning Organization in Using Volunteers to Work alongside Child Protection Case Workers
Teresa Cleary, Jane Akister

This paper explores the experiences of a commissioning organisation in the use of volunteers to work with families in complex child protection cases, where there is an identified risk to children who are known to statutory children’s services. Can the volunteer working alongside professionals promote meaningful change and contribute to positive outcomes. At a time of austerity in public spending and political rhetoric of ‘Community Involvement’ this is a key and relevant discussion for social work practitioners, managers and policy makers since such schemes are becoming more widespread in the UK. The use of volunteers in the delivery of public services raises some important questions in relation to seeking to provide a cheap alternative to professional intervention, for potentially diluting the role of the social worker and for failing to take on board more farreaching criticisms of a fundamentally flawed welfare system. However, the findings from the commissioning organisation involved in this study indicate specific benefits in the use of volunteers in promoting positive outcomes for children and families. The recruitment, management and supervision of the volunteers are critical to the success of such schemes.

Full Text: PDF