Flinders appointment for Australia-first social work scheme

A major milestone has been reached in the establishment of South Australia’s Social Workers Registration Scheme – the first in Australia.

The board has been appointed to work with the Scheme’s Director, Professor Sarah Wendt to build and oversee the scheme. The scheme will officially commence in 2025, develop professional standards in South Australia and help build momentum toward national registration for social workers.

The new Board’s Presiding Member is Dr.Carmela Bastian, a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Flinders University, with more than 20 years’ experience in child protection, family support and human services as a social work practitioner and academic.

“Registration of social workers in South Australia is a big deal for the profession as it is the first state to implement the social work registration scheme and will lead the nation in this process,” said Dr.Bastian.

“The function of the board is to administer the legislation, provide a definition of social work, establish and maintain a register, implement codes of conduct, professional standards and ethical guidelines.  The board will also determine the appropriate qualifications for registration and establish a process for handling complaints.”

“It is a privilege to be appointed as the inaugural presiding member for the board and I look forward to working closely with the other board members and the Director, Professor Sarah Wendt.  The members of the board bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge that will ensure the board will fulfil its functions.”

She will be joined on the board by Kerry Beck, Jane Mussared, Ruka Taite, Sarah Macdonald, Nicole Lancaster and Jodie Stevens.

The Board is the state government authority responsible for regulating social workers, and will develop and maintain a social workers’ register and prepare and endorse codes of conduct, professional standards and ethical guidelines. Members have been appointed for three-year terms.

Minister for Child Protection Katrine Hildyard said social workers are dedicated, highly skilled and well qualified professionals who, with compassion, walk alongside people when they face really difficult times and most need support.

“They deserve to be valued and have their profession recognised.”

“I am proud that South Australia is the first jurisdiction to progress its Social Worker Registration Scheme which will bring well-deserved benefits, respect and support to the social work profession.”

“Our new Board members are experts in their fields, with decades of experience, skill and dedication. I am grateful to them for carrying the important role of overseeing this nation-leading initiative.

“The new scheme will help enhance public confidence in the vital roles social workers play in supporting and empowering children, young people and families, and in helping to build stronger communities.”

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