More than 750,000 care workers will be registered, trained and vetted for the first time, the government has announced.
Liam Byrne, care services minister, said the workforce must become more professional to ensure public confidence.
“Registration will provide clarity. It will enable older people and their families to have complete confidence in the people who care for them, or their loved ones,” he said.
“Registration is about public safety. It will allow us to train our care workers to look after our vulnerable people properly.”
The social care workforce is about 1.6 million people – bigger than the NHS workforce.
But barely one in four have any form of professional training. Staff turnover rates are high and social care workers take more sick leave than any other public sector group.
“It is clear that the workforce needs our help,” Byrne said. “We know there are lots of excellent care workers out there and they are a mainstay of our society.
“However, they are not yet a world-class workforce equipped for the challenges posed by the government’s decision to offer choice.”