An Introduction to Children’s Social Work in England
PS: Some Local Authorities may have a different name for their teams, however, this will give you a general picture.
Children’s Duty Team: First Response Team or MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) Early Help Teams
This is the front door to any children’s Social Care safeguarding team. It is a range of support workers and social workers who take the initial calls from professionals and members of the public. They will collate all the required information and triage this to the appropriate team if actions are required. As the frontline service, demand is high and Local Authorities would consider potential candidates from abroad.
If you are a social worker qualified from abroad and looking for a job opportunity in this team, please consider:
They will only hold these cases for a short while, usually around 2-3 days before they make a decision. They have a quick turnaround and are often juggling many things at once.
Not all social workers and this team would hold the lower level cases and professionals can vary from housing workers, benefits workers, children’s centre workers, family intervention workers, parenting groups workers and so on. This team is all about the preventative work with families, and it is important to work with other agencies and professionals.
There are sometimes social workers working within these teams or managers with social work experience, but this tend to be more in the Assessment Team.
Assessment Team and what skills are required for social workers from abroad?
This is a team of social workers who complete Single Assessments within 40 days and determine what the required outcomes are: either Case closure or support Child In Need Team. You can research about single assessment, how this is conducted, and the template used for this. Also, as a social worker from abroad, please familiarise with The Children's Act 1989 and its later amendments. Our Social Work Bridging programme covers this in details, helping you to familiarise with the application of this legislation in practice.
Once a SAF has been completed the social worker will then develop the CIN plan which will be reviewed at a minimum of every 12 weeks. The child from early help, Child in Need Plan (CIN) or Child Protection Plan (CP) will be seen at a minimum of every 6 weeks. The aim is for support to be offered to the family with the hope that you can then step down to early help support or even case closure.
Child Protection Team
There may be a stereotype especially many participants from India shared during Social Work Bridging programme that 'they believe social worker is a powerful person who goes to families to remove children'. In reality, a social worker cannot remove a child or they have no right to act as a law enforcement officer. Such powers are given to Police and they could use such powers in exceptional circumstances to protect teh child from significant harm.
Child/ children have been made subject to Child Protection Plans under one of the following four categories;
As an evidence-based practice, Social Service has to prove to the court with evidence that child/children have suffered/likely to suffer harm and the 'significant harm' threshold is the criteria.
If concerns continue to be raised, the Local Authority may seek legal advice with the view to initiating Public Law Proceedings to determine whether any Cour Orders are required to protect the child/ children. Working in these teams would require skills like report writing, orginaisation, communication and observation.
As part of our Social Work Bridging programme, we can provide training and guidance with report writing and helping you to familiarise with templates used. It is important to know how evidence gathering and recording can be done and we would also provide you with information about data management systems used by local authorities and how to use this for case recordings.
Social Work Bridging programme has helped a lot of social workers from India to develop an understanding about British Culture and lifestyle. This has helped attendees to feel confident in their practice and connect with service users. One candidate remarked that he watched British soaps East Enders, Emmerdale and Coronation Street as it helped him to understand British society and customs.
Children in Care Team
Once a child is placed in care, the case will be transferred. They will have visits from their social worker every 6 weeks within the first year of being in care, and then every 12 weeks after this time. Social workers would hold 20-30 cases at a time and several local authorities would use a mixed team structure where both court team and children in care team are combined.
Looked after Children Team
Also known as the LAC abbreviation of Looked After Child Team. This terminology itself was under scrutiny recently and this has been rephrased as Child Looked After (CLA) to reflect the fact that it is the child who is important.
Once a decision has been made after care proceedings then children will be under this team until they are 21 years old (25 years old if they are engaged in education or training). They will have visits from their social worker every 6 weeks within the first year of being in care, and then every 12 weeks after this time. Looked After Children Teams are more stable compared to all other teams discussed earlier and Local Authorities would invest in recruiting permanent workers as it provides stability and continuity of care. Many children in care might have seen several professionals coming into their life, and several Local Authorities are actively trying to invest in social workers who are able to remain with them for 3-5 years or more. Using 360 Social Care for International Social Work Recruitment helps to achieve this as candidates would commit to a minimum of three years and often extending to another two years or even longer after that.
360 Social Care as recruitment partner for Local Authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies are not only doing the job of introduction but retention and ongoing support are included in our support package. All candidates have completed our bridging programme which is an extensive training helping them to bridge their knowledge and experience to expectations of practicing as a social worker in the UK.
Children’s Disabilities Team
Also known as CDT. This is for children with a permanent disability who without support they would be impaired without access to specialist provisions, adaptations or equipment. Each Local Authority has a different criterion of what level of cases they hold. They support children and their families with organising and providing support and services. This support is available until the child reaches 18 years old and then the case would transfer to the adults team. They will hold regular reviews and oversee the plan that is in place to ensure that the outcomes are being achieved for the child and their family.
This will include supervising foster carers, completing form F assessments and presenting cases at the panel. They will also be involved in training events, attending LAC reviews, regularly communicating with the child’s social worker and providing ongoing support to the foster carers.
The social workers will be involved with the recruitment assessment of Adopters and will provide support to future adopters. After their adoption order is granted, support can be offered for up to three years. After this time, social workers can also support with Adoption Support Fund Applications to ensure that the correct services are in place to support the family.
Child Sexual Exploitation Team
These social workers help to reduce risk and protect children who are at risk of child sexual exploitation. They work with children who are subject to CP plans or CIN plans. They will liaise with the allocated social worker and provide support and guidance to professionals working with the child. They will complete direct work with the child to help them understand the risks and to help raise their awareness of CSE.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC)
Supporting children who are unaccompanied minors and placed in either foster care or semi-supported lodgings. Considering many international social workers have experience working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, you bring this valuable life experience and knowledge to this team. Several Local Authorities have separate UAS Teams and always keen to recruit social workers from overseas.
Out of Hours Team/ Emergency Duty Team (EDT)
This is a team of social workers who cover from 5pm until 08:30 the next day. They complete shifts and cover any emergencies that require a social worker’s oversight or action. They will pick this up if it could not wait until the allocated social workers team is back in the following day or after the weekend or bank holiday. They sometimes have to act as an appropriate adult or have to arrange a placement for a child’s safety at the last minute.