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SA social worker registration board revealed

Members of a national-first Social Workers Registration Scheme have been named.

Apr 03, 2024, updated Apr 03, 2024
Presiding member of the board of South Australia's Social Worker's Registration Scheme Dr Carmela Bastian. Photo: Flinders University

Presiding member of the board of South Australia's Social Worker's Registration Scheme Dr Carmela Bastian. Photo: Flinders University

All South Australian social workers will be required to register in Australia’s first social workers registration scheme from July 1, 2025.

Director of the scheme Professor Sarah Wendt will work with Dr Carmela Bastian, who has been appointed as the board’s presiding member to establish the program.

Bastian, a senior lecturer at Flinders University, told InDaily the scheme was “a big deal for social work in South Australia”.

“Social workers in South Australia and in other states have been under scrutiny for many reasons, and I think this will enhance the confidence of the public,” she said.

Other board members include veteran social worker Kerry Beck, advisor to the minister for health and aged care Jane Mussared, managing solicitor at the department of child protection Nicole Lancaster, and member of Women’s Safety Services SA board Jodie Stevens.

Director of social work at Central Adelaide Local Health Network Sarah Macdonald and social worker Ruka Taite complete the board, which is a state government authority.

The board will be responsible for regulating social workers and maintaining the register once developed.

The board will also establish codes of conduct, professional standards and ethical guidelines to which registered social workers will be required to adhere.

Child Protection Minister Katrine Hildyard said the new board members were experts in their fields. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

“With that registration comes the accountability. It gives the public confidence about… the professional standards to expect from social workers, and also the ethical guidelines,” Bastian said.

She said the requirement to register would not only enhance public confidence and social worker accountability, but would also demonstrate the qualifications of social workers.

“Many other professions are registered. I think it elevates the professionalism of social workers, it demonstrates that they’re suitably trained and have the qualifications,” she said.

“It also encourages the social workers who are registered to maintain high professional standards.

“It really is about that accountability…demonstrating that they’re keeping up with their professional qualifications and standards, and that they demonstrate their competence in the field.”

Child Protection Minister Katrine Hildyard said the social work profession needed to be “recognised”.

“I am proud that South Australia is the first jurisdiction to progress its Social Worker Registration Scheme…the new scheme will help enhance public confidence in the vital roles social workers play,” Hildyard said.

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