The Supervising Social Worker position is integral to the Progress team. It is a unique collaboration alongside Foster Carers to ensure the statutory i’s are dotted, and t’s are crossed in-line with current legislation. They also interlink within the fostering household, sharing beneficial knowledge & skills.
We wanted to take a look at a day in the life of a Supervising Social Worker, so we took the opportunity for a one-on-one with the fantastic Victoria Smith.
“I feel humbled to be trusted with the children, young people and families I work alongside, throughout the fostering task. It is a privilege to make a positive impact on their lives.
Before I joined Progress, my belief towards a private fostering agency was a general ‘relaxed’ approach towards social work. On the contrary, I find in my role I am continually assessing, evaluating, reviewing and re-focusing. Not only does this apply to my perspective and that of my colleagues within the Progress organisation, but also the point of view of the Foster Carers, local authority colleagues, school colleagues, health professionals, and the individuals in care themselves.
I found the strength of working within a smaller, private team is ultimately that we are partners, working collectively to assist and support individuals onto their next chapter; whatever that may look like for the person. I cannot say I recall a ‘relaxed’ day at work, but rewarding moments I have in abundance.
There is no ‘how to guide’ for the fostering task. There is a lack of research within the domain and identified gaps in statutory guidance and law. There is also the consideration of the views each Foster Carer, members within their support network and surrounding professionals have and their perception of what makes a ‘successful parent’. Without a be-all-end-all approach, sometimes it can be a challenge getting all parties to agree.
Though primarily my role is about child-centric support, the relationships I build and the support I provide extend far beyond that. Specifically, those I have with Foster Carers and the Local Authority Social Workers, allowing for foundation agreements and expectations to be laid out from the start of placement. I feel this is fundamental to enabling us to work towards the same goals with the same approach, without which, there can be a disruption in the placement outcomes.
At Progress, we pride ourselves on our excellent internal relationships across our Fostering, Residential and Hub (community and home support) services. We achieve this through sharing our expertise and experience with each other as well as creating excellent environments for individuals and their families.
The fostering team might be a small but ultimately, I also contribute to the wider organisation. I would highlight one of the biggest challenges in the role we face, is the fact that we do not have as many Foster Carers as we need to achieve the placement volume requirements presented by our Local Authority colleagues. It is heart-breaking knowing there are organisations and Foster Carers who would be able to help a child or young person if they had a vacancy. Ultimately, we need more fantastic Foster Carers to contribute to the incredible work we are achieving.
The supervising Social Worker position can certainly provide daily variety, offering both good and bad days. As an organisation, we at Progress invest considerably into the children and young people we care for, as well as our staff, in helping them be the best they can be. Achieving the greatest outcomes possible for young people is the motivation that encourages our staff; rewarded by seeing the results, every single day.
Seeing children and young people making a breakthrough, excelling at the incredibly hard task they have been pursuing is an unparalleled feeling. Knowing you were part of their journey and helped to make a difference, to me is the biggest reward of my role.
I never lose sight of the fact my duty is support and ‘how’ I am needed can change every ten minutes, each time as important as the last. The smallest amount of seemingly insignificant help can go a long way.”