“It is hard to think of a more important job than social work. It’s hard to conceive of a profession with a greater level of responsibility – one in which the rewards can be so great but the consequences of failure so severe”. (Nicky Morgan – Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities)
There’s no denying that children’s social work is challenging. But no other job in the world could compete with the personal rewards you get from knowing you’ve helped keep a child safe or a family together.
Every day is different because the difficulties each family faces are different. The biggest challenge is often getting a child to open up and trust you. We have to analyse situations and assess the risk factors to recognise the triggers that might indicate that a child is at risk.
“I do not underestimate how difficult your jobs are. I do not underestimate the wealth of skills and breadth of knowledge necessary to work in children’s services, from the social work front line to the roles of director of children’s services or lead member for children’s services. Nor do I underestimate how well you do it. Every day, up and down the country, our most vulnerable children and young people are supported by dedicated, expert practitioners: in social care, in schools, in the police, in health services. Support that will change children’s lives for the better”. (Nicky Morgan – Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities)
What’s so rewarding about being a children’s social worker?
It’s a challenging job because many of the children and families we work with are dealing with difficult issues like alcohol and drug misuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, family dysfunction, mental health issues and neglect. So we have to work with parents to help them recognise that their child is at risk. We give support and guidance so we can keep families together – for us placing a child in care is always a last resort.
So what is rewarding about being a Children’s Social Worker?
It’s the privileged position of knowing that you’ve kept a child safe – free to flourish and achieve so much more. It’s knowing that you’re making a difference to their life.
Have a look at what some of our social workers have said about particular cases.
Assessment and accreditation
The government is currently working to introduce a National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS) for child and family social workers as part of their reforms of children’s social care. As outlined in Putting children first: delivering our vision for excellent children’s social care, the aim of the accreditation process is to give employers assurance that all children’s social workers have the skills they need to do the job, as well as helping to build public confidence in the profession. The Department for Education (DfE) also hopes the test can offer “a window into practice” and act as a learning tool for practitioners.
A government consultation into the proposed NAAS ran from December 2016 – March 2017. The results of the consultation are expected to be published in Autumn 2017.
Accreditation is expected to be introduced at three levels – child and family practitioners (essentially frontline staff), practice supervisors (more senior social workers with management responsibilities) and practice leaders (assistant directors have been earmarked for this role).