"My colleagues are always there if ever I need it" - Nasreen, Rotherham
Published Wed 8th Mar, 2023

Nasreen Arif, Children’s Social Worker at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

My route into the profession wasn’t straightforward; at school I was bullied and left without any qualifications. But I wasn’t prepared to give up and felt that it was my destiny to become a children’s social worker. After completing a BTech in Health and Social Care, I went on to graduate with a Degree in Social Work. In the nine years since leaving school, I’d gone from having no qualifications, to achieving the highest grade in my year; proof of what you can accomplish if you’re determined enough!

My day-to-day job varies but is centred around protecting vulnerable children from harm. For example, a school might contact me if they have concerns that a child might be at risk from, say, neglect, domestic violence or sexual exploitation. My job is to assess those potential risks and decide what level of intervention, if any, is needed.

We often work alongside other agencies, such as local health services, schools or the Police and any intervention on our part is continually reviewed with those agencies, as well as with the families themselves. In Rotherham we also have a specialist Sexual Abuse Risk Assessment panel for where there are concerns about individuals who pose a risk of sexual abuse against a child. Their level of professionalism and breadth of knowledge has really helped me to learn and to grow in my job. 

I spend a lot of time with every child I work with, listening to them and taking on board their views. I always try to find a connection to help build up trust and get them to open up to me, whether it’s through play, music or taking them out for the afternoon. We take a very person-centred approach. What works for one child doesn’t always work for another.

Children’s social work can be stressful because when you see the effect a situation can have on a child, you feel that too. But the way I see it, the rewards of being able to help keep a child safe from harm, or being able to stop a destructive patten of behaviour in a family, mean that the good days far outweigh the bad. My colleagues are always there to provide that extra little bit of support if ever I need it, which helps me to be the best I can be in my job. My head of service for example, thinks nothing of coming with me on a home visit and getting involved with the children and families I work with.

While there’s an understanding and recognition of the work we do, I feel there’s also some stigma attached to it. I think it’s important that more people know about the kind of work we do, so that more people can take up the role and help achieve those positive outcomes.

There are families who, having initially been reluctant to work with me, tell me they’re grateful for my help. Many of the children tell me they’re glad I’m there for them and one child recently told me they would never forget me. Conversations like these make me feel honoured to be a part of a child’s journey and remind me of why I chose to do this as a career. For me the job I do is the best job and I find it extremely rewarding.

To be a children’s social worker you need to be a caring, compassionate person who wants to make a positive change in young people’s lives. If this is you, then children’s social work could also be the job for you.