An education welfare officer is an individual employed by a local or national government who liaises between school authorities and the families of children who either have problems at school or are frequently absent. Welfare officers investigate both the school and home problems of a child, and attempt to find solutions. Education welfare officer jobs are most commonly found in the United Kingdom, although similar jobs with different titles exist throughout the world.
Some education welfare officer jobs are entry-level positions open to high school graduates. Pay scales for these jobs are comparable with entry-level jobs in other industries, but some school districts require welfare officers to have a degree in social work, psychology, or a related field. Education welfare officer jobs that require a degree are generally better paid, but people who fill these roles are expected to work with children who have severe behavioral problems or who come from troubled homes.
Most education welfare officers cover several schools in one city or school district. A valid drivers license is usually a prerequisite of the job due to the traveling involved. An education welfare officer normally visits each school a few times a week and regularly speaks to school administrators to discuss both new and existing cases. Cases often begin with the welfare officer meeting with a child at school and attempting to find out the cause of the child's problems. Successful welfare officers have good people skills, and children are more likely to freely discuss their problems with people they feel that they can trust.
Education welfare officers arrange to meet with parents of children when the child's behavioral problems seem to indicate a domestic problem or when school officials feel that the parents should be made aware of a serious issue in school. School teachers often work with both parents and the welfare officer as a liaison on developing action plans to correct the child's behavior. When faced working with a child with serious emotional or psychological issues, welfare officers make arrangements for the child to meet with child psychologists.
Schools notify the education welfare officer about children who are frequently absent from school. The welfare officer visits the home of the child to determine if the child has a genuine health issues, or if the absences are due to parent neglect or another issue. When parents are found to be neglecting a child, the education welfare officer must report the parents to local authorities. Many child neglect or child abuse cases require the education welfare officer to appear in court and share details of their investigations.