Child protection officer

Child protection officers promote children's wellbeing and protect them from harm or abuse.

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm; on a rota

Future employment

There will be 6% more Child protection officer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

You day-to-day duties may include:

  • working with other professionals to identify children at risk
  • speaking with children, families and carers to assess their needs
  • investigating reported concerns and allegations
  • advising on child protection issues
  • promoting children's rights, safety and wellbeing
  • writing care plans and arranging support
  • making referrals to partner agencies
  • recording case details and writing reports
  • giving evidence in court
  • attending training courses

Working environment

You could work in an office or visit sites.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

You could do professional development training with your employer then go into child protection work. For example, you may be a police officer and complete relevant courses before moving to a child protection unit within your force.

Volunteering and work experience

Experience of working with vulnerable children is essential.

You can get experience by volunteering in the community, with a charity or through paid work. You can get information on volunteering opportunities from:

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs if you're a qualified professional. Employers often look for social workers but other relevant roles include:

  • youth worker
  • teacher
  • police officer
  • family support worker
  • probation officer

You'll need several years' experience of working with children, young people, their parents and carers. Management experience will also be helpful.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • You'll usually need a driving licence.
  • pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Association of Child Protection Professionals for career development opportunities and to meet others doing this job.

Further information

You can find out more about working in child protection from the British Association of Social Workers and NSPCC Learning.

You could become a lead officer, co-ordinating the work of your organisation's child protection team.

You could also work for safeguarding partnerships between local authorities, schools, health bodies, charities and social services.

With further training and experience, you could become a children's services inspector or a self-employed consultant, delivering training and advising organisations on child protection policies and regulations.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • active listening skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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