Child protection social workers' engagement in continuing professional development: An exploratory study

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Social Work Education, 33(6): 819-834

Brady, Eavan

Journal article

This paper reports the findings of an exploratory study into the nature of child protection social workers' engagement in, and understanding of, continuing professional development (CPD) in Ireland. Qualitative methods were used given the exploratory nature of the research. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight child protection social workers from a community-based child protection department in Ireland. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. A review of the literature is provided and key findings are outlined and discussed. These findings relate to the nature and frequency of participation in CPD, perceived motivators and barriers to participation in CPD, and social workers' views on the potential impact of statutory registration of Irish social workers (which was implemented in the months after this study was carried out) on CPD participation. Research limitations and suggestions for future research are considered, along with the implications of this study for social work practice.