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Social workers’ Knowledge LevelInfluence and Child Protection Approaches in Kajiado North Sub-County, Kajiado County, Kenya

Abstract: The study’s objective was to establish the extent to which social workers’ knowledge level influences child protection interventions in Kajiado North Sub County. The study was guided by Competence Based curriculum theory and used mixed method design, specifically convergent parallel mixed method approach. A total of 223 respondents (employers, social workers, OVCs & key informants) were sampled using census, random, purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Questionnaires, interview schedule guides, KIIs guides, FGDs guides were used for data collection.The major findings indicated that knowledge level influences child protection nterventions and singly it cannot effectively guarantee appropriate child protection. For guaranteed appropriate child protection interventions, the social worker should besides knowledge have the right skills and values as the right attitude. Most social workers felt adequately trained to make decisions on child protection interventions at undergraduate degree level and use of a combination of theories as what makes their intervention faster as it made them take the shortest time. The researcher concluded that a major gap exists between social work training and practice which need to be addressed. In addition, education sponsorship promotes institutionalization since children were placed in CCIs for education support which explained the fact that majority of the OVCs in the OVC Centre’s were of school going age confirming the problem statement. The recommendations of the study include; social workers, need to keep updating their knowledge in regard to their relevant field of practice; Employers need to engage competent social workers within the boundaries of their level of education, experience and correct attitude and have ability provide appropriate intervention like supporting OVCs with education while at their family/community and not institutions as priority; CUE and ASWEK, need to standardize the training content for social workers across all institutions of higher learning, bridge the gap between social work training and practice by developing a curriculum specific to social work area of specialization in consultation with practitioners and frequently evaluate its applicability and implementation; to the policy makers, enact the social workers act because without a legal and policy framework in place injustice for children and social workers is inevitable, the MOLSP should in the short term, have an administrative directive for any social worker undertaking child protection interventions or any other staff working in child protection to have the relevant training, experience,attitude and have undergone a background check to establish their suitability to work with children and put in place mechanisms to have available information on the previous social workers records so that in case there was any professional misconduct and they moved to a different area, the information can be obtained and protect children. Key Words: social workers, knowledge level, appropriate child protection approaches

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