"I get a lot of positive feedback from parents who value my help" - Roxy, Barnsley
Published Wed 8th Mar, 2023

Roxy Green, Children’s Social Worker at Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

My interest in children’s social work stemmed from working voluntarily with a child in care. At the time, I’d also been working as a teaching assistant and was considering a career in teaching. But when I attended a children’s social work taster day this really opened my eyes to the diversity of the role on a level that perhaps teaching wasn’t able to offer. I knew at that point, that this was the job for me.

Since qualifying in 2020, I’ve spent a lot of time working closely with local children in need in their family homes, getting to understand their lives and views and working out their needs. Spending one-to-one time with the children, making positive changes and the difference this makes to their lives, is definitely the most enjoyable part of my job.

As children’s social workers, we see the effects of poverty, neglect, domestic abuse and mental health issues on a daily basis. But these issues aren’t unique to the area. Our level of involvement always varies and depends on a family’s individual circumstances. This can be anything from offering emotional support, to working alongside other agencies, such as mental health, antenatal, drug and alcohol services, as well as schools and the Police, to access the help that’s needed.

I once worked with a pregnant teenager with a complex family history that included social services involvement. By coordinating with our local health services and providing intensive emotional and practical support both prior to and following the birth of her child, she was supported to keep her baby, despite the challenges faced by her and her family.

Families are often, understandably, reluctant for social services to be involved in their lives. That said, I do get a lot of positive feedback from parents who tell me they value my help. Ultimately there’s an understanding that we’re there to help but building trust and developing positive relationships with families is a big part of that.

I think it’s vital to raise awareness about the role of children’s social workers as it is often misunderstood. But if more people knew about what we do, what’s involved and the rewards this brings, more people might consider it as a career. Right now, there are many families out there living in precarious circumstances who don’t have a safety net and need help. We need more people, particularly those who can reflect the diversity of the families we serve, so that we can continue to improve the quality of care we provide.

This is a job that would suit anyone who likes to be kept busy and be challenged, but most importantly, anyone who is caring and empathetic. My job is never boring and involves having to juggle lots of difficult situations, but for me this is what makes my job interesting and rewarding.