Social Workers and Looked After Children
When you became looked after, you will have had some contact with a social worker from the Children’s Access or Child Care Operations team in your area.
Children’s Access Social Workers do the short-term work for the Department by running a duty service, answering people’s questions about children and families and suggesting places where they might get help and advice. They also take on some cases which they hope can be sorted out quite quickly, usually within three months, so they might well have been involved in making arrangements for your placement. If cases take longer to sort out, or a young person becomes looked after, then they are transferred to the local Child Care Operations team.
So, if you have had a social worker working with your family for some time, the chances are they are from the Child Care Operations Team, and it could be that team which has arranged for you to be looked after. Not all the workers in the Access and Child Care Operations teams are social workers so it might be helpful to explain who’s who!
- Team Manager – the person in charge of that team who doesn’t usually have cases of their own but should know at least something about all the other cases
- Senior Practitioner – a qualified social worker with a lot of experience, who has their own cases but helps less experienced workers with their cases too
- Qualified Social Workers – teams vary in size but there will be between 4 and 8 of these
- Child Care Support Workers – workers experienced in working with children and young people, who have some cases allocated to them and who also supervise contact and do some lifestory work.
- Team Support Workers – our brilliant helpers, Team Support Workers will do lots of the ‘sorting out stuff’ in teams, getting you where you need to be, or moving your belongings, or taking you to see your family, that kind of thing. They might also get involved in helping put together a life story book.
It’s the job of your allocated worker to make sure that everything possible is being done to help you get the best out of your time in foster or residential care, that your health needs are being met, that you go to the right school and are being encouraged to do the best you can there, to keep you in touch with your family if that’s the right thing to happen for you and to check out that your placement is ok.
Whilst the worker can’t always sort all of these things out themselves, they should be able to find someone who can deal with them on your behalf. The worker needs to see you regularly to keep in touch with how things are going, and there are also going to be regular meetings called Reviews of Arrangements with someone called an Independent Chair to double check that everything in your care plan is still right and being dealt with.
If your social worker is not available when you try and contact them, ask for the duty social worker to pass on a message for you and your social worker should get back to you as soon as they can.
Page Last Updated: 30 March 2006