What children's social workers do and how they can help
Social workers have a legal responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable children who may be at risk of harm. If a social worker has asked to visit you it is usually because you have asked for help, or someone who knows your family has contacted Children's Services because they are worried about your children and think you might need some help.
The social worker's prime focus will be making sure your child or children have the care and support that they need. The social worker will try to support parents to make sure children's needs are met. If parents have care or support needs their own right to a referral to adult services or other community based services might be appropriate. Agencies such as Citizens Advice can provide information for support with debts, health services, health concerns, substance misuse.
The first thing a Social Worker will do is explain -
- why they need to visit you
- who is worried
- what those worries are
The social worker may need to visit your family to do an assessment. The purpose of the assessment is for you and the social worker to talk about what support you might need to help keep your child safe and well.
The assessment will usually take place in your family home and the social worker will need to speak to -
- your children
- your wider family if needed
- any other professionals working with you to share information about the sort of help and support you might need (such as your family GP)
Once the social worker has gone through the assessment with you they will talk to you about suitable services to support you to make the changes needed. It may be that you just need a small or short service which you could access in the community, but the social worker can tell you about what's available and help you to get in touch with these services.
If there are several worries and you need more help, the social worker will put together a plan of support with you and your family. They will arrange to meet with you, the family and friends you have said could help and other professionals, such as the school and/or health visitor. In this meeting you can agree what the support or safety plan will look like.
The support or safety plan will be written down so everyone is clear about what needs change, who in your family will be helping and what services are going to be involved to support you.
The social worker will co-ordinate the services and regularly meet with you and the others in your support/safety network to review the plan with you. The aim of the social workers involvement is to help you build on the things that are already going well in your family and to reduce the worries that were identified in the assessment, so your children can remain safe and well. As things change the social worker will talk to you about how things are going and whether more or less help and services are needed.
How to contact a social worker
For children and young people who current have an allocated social worker contact your locality children’s safeguarding team or 01482 300 300.
87 Preston Road
Telephone: 01482 615 075
Email address: email@example.com
Telephone: 01482 612 900
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 01482 614 001
Email address: email@example.com
A social worker must have a recognised qualification such as a Diploma in Social Work or a Degree in Social Work and be registered with Social Care England.
If you are unhappy with the social work service you have received to meet your child's needs
Feedback on how we are doing is extremely important. Compliments and complaints are how we know how we are really doing and learning how we can improve the service we deliver.