My vision for child and family social work 

By Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for England (Children & Families)

Featured here courtesy of Scie.

Social work reform has been an important topic in recent weeks following the introduction of the Children and Social Work Bill on 19 May.

I recently spoke at a SCIE lunchtime seminar about my vision for child and family social work. The Bill and its contents are one part of achieving that vision, so let’s start there.

I suspect that the headline proposal for the majority of social workers is going to be those clauses allowing government to legislate for a new regulatory body for social workers. This is important for all social workers, and it is very much a joint proposition between the Education and Health departments.

The body will ensure the quality of social work education continues to rise with a much greater emphasis on post-qualification education and practice. It is still early days but it will be a really important body with responsibilities ranging from overseeing the delivery of child and family social worker accreditation to approving courses for and registering Approved Mental Health Professionals and Best Interest Assessors.

The Bill will also allow the provision of greater support to young people in care making the transition to adulthood, to make clear the duties of the local authority and extend the offer of support from a personal adviser to all care leavers up to age 25. Central to this will be the new corporate parenting principles and ‘local offer for care leavers’, which set out the responsibilities we have as a country towards all those in public care throughout childhood, towards independence and into young adulthood.

The Bill also sets out the government’s intentions for ensuring high quality decisions about permanent care, making sure they are always in the best interests of the child and take account of the impact of the abuse and neglect they have experienced.

The Bill represents only a part of the government’s wider vision for social care reform, and in the Department for Education alone, there is a great deal going on.

The government is committing nearly £200m to innovation and improvement over the next four years and the opportunities for innovation and improvement keep growing. We received over 70 applications in the first round of wave 2, and the results of the independent evaluation of wave 1 projects will be published in the next few months.

We have been saying as social workers that we must be trusted to use our professional judgement rather than be forced to follow the rule book, which often fails to take into account the complexity of our work. The Bill will give our best performing local authorities, including the recently announced Partners in Practice, the opportunity to test new approaches to improving services through a Power to Innovate.

Of course, there is much more going on around the assessment and accreditation process, Teaching Partnerships and more. There will be plenty of opportunity for social workers and other stakeholders to be involved in the various reforms as they progress and I will be continuing to visit local authorities around the country and engaging with as many of them as I can.

This article has been provided courtesy of Scie. It first appeared on their website as a Featured article – 28 June 2016. Read the article at source: here

Visit the Scie website for a range of relevant publications.  A couple to get you started: 

It Is Time to Give Looked-After Children a Voice

Improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of looked-after children: Can you help make a difference?

Some relevant articles by Isabelle Trowler:

Isabelle Trowler on practice, professionalism and private influence in social work

Chief social workers: Closer link with government will benefit profession

Education Committee Oral evidence: Social work reform

Isabelle Trowler: 2015 could be a big year for social work

One thought on “My vision for child and family social work 

  1. @IsabelleTrowler To improve care for children, there also has to be complete transparency and accountabilty within the Family Courts, plus a standard of evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt as opposed to on the balance of probablities. All proceedings in Family Courts should be videotaped as evidential. All occurances of perjury in relation to Family Court proceedings should be followed up by criminal prosecution. All cases should have the same allocated Judge throughout, so that there would be no further instances of cases being heard before THIRTEEN different Recorders and Judges before final resolution. All social workers should wear body cameras as a matter of routine when interacting with families and children for evidential purposes. All childen over the age of criminal responsibility should be allowed to address the court either in person, by video link if they so wish, by video pre-recording, or by authenticated written means. THEN justice will not only be better served, but also, seen to be done with transparency and accountability and with true regard to the best interests of the child. Legal Aid should be re-instated for all Family Court disputed cases.


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