The future could be very bright for social work

 The remodelling social work delivery project was established by the Children’s Workforce Development Council www.cwdcouncil.org.uk earlier this year. There are 11 pilot sites across England involved in the project and there are a number of different delivery options being explored. The Department for Children, Schools and Families wished to encourage innovation through the active engagement of the private and not for profit sectors in establishing new approaches to working with the most vulnerable children and their families.

The CWDC project runs until March 2011 with 11 local authorities from across the country developing a number of different delivery options. Each pilot will explore ways for social workers to look at new ways of organizing their working practices,  organize their staff teams more effectively; and look at how they can provide more ‘front line’ contact with children and young people.

Click here www.cwdcouncil.org.uk/social-work/remodelling for more information about the pilot projects

Interestingly a number of local authorities have decided to proceed with exploring this option outside of the pilot scheme.

The remodelling social work project forms one element of a broader programme of work supported by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and CWDC. This programme of work has been designed to improve the outcomes and experiences of children and young people in contact with social care and particularly with social workers. The overall programme will address three priority areas of quality of initial training, skills and qualifications; workforce capacity and remodelling; and recruitment and retention.

Social work models being developed in the delivery pilots

A number of developments and themes are being explored in the CWDC pilot projects.

Structures

o Creating a single entry point for children and families to receive integrated services across a broad range of needs.

o Improving the interface between children’s centres and social work services, forging closer links between universal and statutory services to ensure early intervention

o Addressing the difficulties in delivering children’s social care within a large rural community,

o Making more effective use of IT and mobile technology

o Developing models of multi-disciplinary working, by locating social workers in multi-disciplinary teams working with children in need.

o Physically locating social workers in schools, health centres, children’s centres

o Closer working between social workers and residential child care workers

o Creating practices which allow social workers to spend more time in direct contact with the children themselves and bringing a “whole” team approach to all work.

Models of Intervention

o Improving the speed and quality of assessment and decision-making about placing young people into care, avoiding placement in care where possible. If remaining in care is appropriate, ensuring that effective planning is in place to promote permanency and placement stability.

o Using social work models of practice such as BHLP and solution-focused interventions. (Interestingly CBT is not mentioned).

o Expanding the use of Family Group Conferences with children already in care.

o Multi-agency family support panels to consider children’s needs through the Common Assessment Framework and implement coordinated plans to meet those needs. Working across services through Youth Inclusion Support Panels,

Recruitment and Retention

o Reviewing and improving recruitment and induction practices. (This could be linked with the Newly Qualified Social  Workers pilots)

Creating social work consultant roles, which will have a responsibility for supporting social workers undertaking court proceedings, (especially those in their first year of practice or undertaking court proceedings for the first time).

o Developing new career pathways for practitioners

o Training in brief therapy social work interventions

o Improving skills and knowledge in assessment and risk management

Perceptions of Social Work

o Improving the communities understanding of the role of social workers

o improving both the visibility of social care, and access to it by the public,

Is this the start of a new era for social work? This is a very exciting development and we will keep you updated .

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