This guide has been designed to strengthen the competencies of child protection actors. The term "child protection actors" covers three categories of actors:
- Social Workers: Professional social workers who hold accredited social work qualifications (e.g. accredited social workers, caseworkers, social service specialists, etc.)
- Para-social workers: Professionals in the child protection field who do not work as social workers or who lack accredited social work qualifications (e.g. facilitators, community development workers, probation officers, unaccredited social workers, etc.).
- Community actors: Community members who play an informal role in child protection (e.g. members of community-based organisations, children’s groups, mothers’ groups, community leaders, teachers or religious leaders.)
The goal of this guide is to develop the basic professional competencies of child protection actors, particularly social workers and para-social workers. This guide will also help trainers develop training content
and ensure that child protection actors acquire the required information (knowledge), know-how (skills) and interpersonal skills (attitudes).
The first part of the guide is intended for those who train child protection actors and is based on a child protection competency matrix. It presents the training methodology to strengthen essential knowledge, attitudes and skills, including the information and tools needed to facilitate the learning and development of child protection actors. It also highlights the core and cross-cutting competencies that child protection actors require and includes exercises and tips to help trainers to develop and adapt to their specific contexts and targeted participants.
The second part of the guide includes sessions on themes specific to Terre des hommes (Tdh).
Each session offers an illustration of the core competencies required by child protection actors in a given context. However, it is essential that child protection actors aim to master all of the key competencies in
the framework. We therefore strongly recommend that users refer to the document entitled "Key competency framework for child protection actors in West and Central Africa" in their practice.
The themes discussed in this guide include:
• The systems approach
• Protective accompaniment of children affected by migration
• Restorative juvenile justice
The chapters are divided into sessions, with each session composed of learning objectives, exercises and illustrative examples. Each session also includes a presentation of basic knowledge (what actors need to know) and good practices (what actors need to do). The themes discussed in the guide are used to strengthen existing, or introduce new child protection practices. For experienced child protection actors, the guide is a reference document to strengthen their professional practice. For inexperienced child protection actors, the guide sets out clear expectations. Exercises, case studies and opportunities for reflection
have been incorporated to allow child protection actors to reflect on their own practice and to set the pace for trainers. The exercises can be found in the back of the Annexes. They have been specially designed to encourage participants to contemplate and internalise the concepts and methodologies discussed.
As you work through the guidebook, Bintou and Sekou will help you better understand your role and responsibilities as a child protection actor. Their experience has taught them that child protection actors must both know (theory) and do (practice). They will help you to think through and question your practice, identifying what you already know and do and helping you to develop additional competencies.