Advanced Practitioner and Practice Educator
I am employed by Barnsley Metropolitian Borough Council as an Advanced Practitioner working with Children and their families who are subject to a Child In Need Plan, Child Protection Plan, PLO Process or Care Proceedings. Within this role, I visit families and continuously assess whether the needs of the children are being met and to form a professional judgement about whether they are safe or if further steps need to be taken in order to safeguard the child.
The Social Worker role is necessary to support parents or carers with personal difficulties such as mental health, substance misuse, learning disability or experiencing domestic abuse. It also supports parents in affording their children with good enough parenting. Without Social Workers, it is highly likely that children would be placed at continuous risk of harm or experience harm for longer periods with no legal framework being implemented by Social Care.
There is no doubt that being a Social Worker is a physically and emotionally demanding role but it is one which is also rewarding and enables the best interests of the child to be secured. On a typical day I arrive at the office at 8:30am and print off documents for meetings that I need for that day. At 9am I catch up with my student to ensure she is aware of her diary commitments for the day and to make she sure is aware of what is required for each task. I then attend my first meeting of a day; a core group meeting for 4 child subject to a child protection plan. Following this, I undertake unannounced home visits to families on child in need plan and a child protection plan. I return to the office for lunch and then meet with my student for supervision where we discuss the cases she is co-working and how this links to theory such as child centred practice and solution focussed.
The toughest problem in my role is diary management and meeting deadlines to ensure delay does not occur for children. At times this means being flexible with working hours to achieve all of the deadlines.
The most rewarding part of being a Social Worker is seeing parents making changes; being internally motivated to make change and seeing children’s behaviour and presentation changing and improving. Sometimes this cannot being achieved with parents which leads to children being placed with family members, long term foster care or adoption. It is rewarding to see children thriving in such placements.
The South Yorkshire Teaching partnership has supported my role as a Practice Educator to understand the framework which students are required to meet, understanding the process of placements and procedure when there is a disagreement.