The purpose of the report is to assess the current level of competence in relation to the competence requirements that will mainly come into force in 2031. The goal of increased competence among employees is to improve the rights and welfare of children and young people. Through a review of the competence requirements and an assessment of current competence, the report can contribute to strengthening the basis for a more effective implementation of the new competence requirements.

In the municipal child welfare service, the requirements for case handlers and managers in 2031 will be a child welfare master's degree, or alternatively a combination of a child welfare bachelor's degree, sufficient relevant additional postgraduate education and relevant work experience. In 2020, the proportion of those with a master's degree is 9% and 16% for case handlers and managers, respectively. If one also takes into account child welfare additional postgraduate education for child care workers, social workers and nursing assistants, the proportion of employees with relevant competence rises to 36%.

For the child welfare institutions, from 2031 it is required that managers have a relevant master's degree or a relevant additional postgraduate education in addition to the bachelor's degree. For the professional staff, the requirement is that all new employees from 1.1.2022 must have a child welfare bachelor's degree. In 2020, 9% of the managers had a relevant master's degree. Approximately 40% of the professional staff did not have a child welfare bachelor's degree. Many of the employees without a child welfare education are over 54 years old and will leave their jobs when the competence requirements come into force and will eventually be replaced by new staff.

The choice of definition for what is considered relevant additional postgraduate education will affect the conclusion of how many current employees already meet the requirements of the new Child Welfare Act, and how many will need to take further education to become qualified to work in child welfare. This report has evaluated different variants and the differences are partly large. The definition will also impact differently for younger and older employees. While the younger one’s have completed their education to a greater extent, the older ones have taken courses within several educations without necessarily completing the entire educational degree.

In 2020, there were no major regional differences in competence, but this may change if imbalances occur between demand for competence and supply.

In order to fully meet new competence requirements, child welfare institutions will need to replace over 2,000 employees without relevant education with individuals with child welfare education as they leave. The transition is not tied to any deadline. This will result in increased demand for child care workers, social workers, and nursing care workers. The requirement for a bachelor's degree in child welfare institutions may make it attractive for many to work there, instead of further education to work in the municipal child welfare service.

It will be necessary to monitor the development of competency until 2031 and also after the requirements of the Child Welfare Act have been implemented. Our recommendation would be to conduct annual table assignments rather than establish this as official statistics.