The Role of the Supervising Social Worker
The Role of the Supervising Social Worker
A foster carers guide to working with their Supervising Social Worker
Introduction to working with a supervising social worker
All foster carer’s will have their own Supervising Social Worker, these are sometimes called fostering social workers, or link workers.
As a foster carer one of the most important relationships you will have will be with your Supervising Social Worker.
The Supervising Social Worker (SSW) is there to support and assist the foster carer, they are also there to ensure the foster carer is working to and meeting all the National Minimum Fostering Standards (NMS) in their practice and providing a safe home where they promote the life chances of foster children and help them to thrive.
They should provide all the information, advice and support to enable the foster carers in their role and to deliver the best outcomes and quality care for their children and young people.
Although this is a professional relationship, developing a good relationship with your Supervising Social Worker is fundamental and crucial to our role.
Fostering is a devolved sector, meaning each local authority and agency creates their own policies based on the National Minimum Standards and the Fostering Regulations (2011) so some things may vary.
Your fostering service should provide you with what to expect from your Supervising Social Worker and supervision, so check with them.
The role of the Supervising Social Worker
- Give you Foster Carer Agreement that you sign, and they sign, you should have a copy yourself and they should keep one on file.
- Give you a copy of the fostering service’s Foster Carers Handbook/Manual, a copy of the Foster Carer’s Charter (if they are signed up to it) and the Children’s Guide.
- Do a minimum of 6 weekly supervision visits, and return copy of supervision notes before the next supervision session and be signed off by your SSW and yourself.
- Discuss training with you and create a plan for your personal development.
- Ensure you have a Safer Caring Policy for your house, and specific to the children you have.
- Help you with your communication and work with the Child’s Social Worker.
- Assist you in dealing with things like education and health.
- Ensure the needs of your birth children are being taken into account.
- Carry out your Annual Household Review.
- Make sure DBS and medicals are up to date.
- Carry out a review if there is a change in your household or circumstances When a child arrives.
- Make sure you have all the information about the child, including the Care Plan and Placement Plan. You need all the information to meet the needs of the child and ensure a safe and stable home.
- They must organise a visit with you within 7 days of the child moving in, however it’s good practice that they are there on the day the child arrives. They must also arrange a Placement Planning Meeting within 10 days of the child’s arrival, if it’s a planned placement this can happen prior to arrival.
- Ensure payments are made promptly and regularly, and that foster carers have all the equipment they need for the child.
- Brand new foster carers should have a package of support agreed prior to a child arriving.
Day to day
- Supervision visits are usually every 6 weeks, that is the statutory requirement but they may vary between fostering services and also depending on the type of placement.
- They will assist in your work and communication with the Child’s Social Worker.
- Your Supervising Social Worker is available on the phone or by email for any issues you have in-between the supervision visits, and responds in a timely manner.
- Ensure you are involved in all Child and Carer Review meetings, and make sure you are invited and able to engage in the them, also kept fully informed of any changes to the care plan.
- Make sure you have a full Delegated Authority Form signed and agreed so you are able to make day to day decisions and are clear about your role.
- They will work with you on your Personal Development Plan and help identify any training needs.
- Support you when a placement ends, for whatever reason, and share information with you and keep you up to date with end dates.
- Inform you of all the support available to you, organise a mentor if you want one.
- Assist with reporting and recording, check and sign off your recordings depending on what system your provider uses (online or paper).
Supervising Social Workers general duties
- Attend Looked After Child Reviews and planning meetings for children and young people in placement.
- They will often be required to cover the Duty line rota system.
- They will undertake assessments of any one else who is assisting or supporting the foster carer with children, having them on short breaks or respite, including DBS checks.
- They are jointly responsible for the safeguarding of the children and young people while they are in foster carer.
- Ensure they keep records up to date, including copies of supervision notes for foster carers, making all their decisions clear and evidenced.
- They must ensure that all the National Minimum Standards are followed and that the foster carer understands them and their role.
- Assist their foster carers to complete the Government’s mandatory Training Support and Development Standards within 12-18 months of being approved.
- If the foster carer enters into a Staying Put agreement the Supervising Social Worker will still visit the foster carer, just less frequently, and will still do unannounced visits.
This will be in accordance with the fostering services guidelines but is usually 4-6 times a year, including an unannounced visits. If the foster carer is still fostering the visits will remain at a minimum of 6 weekly.
We asked foster carers what is important to them in their relationship with their Supervising Social Workers.
They avoid the use of social work jargon when talking to children. They are sensitive, empathic and always looking for the positives.”
We can not undo their past or even wish to erase it from their memory so please respect the process and help guide and encourage our young people to also have an investment in their placement.”
I would beg this sector to become creative thinkers, to learn it and to feel it.”
Toolkit for New SSW’s
Whether you’re a seasoned supervising Social Worker or just starting out in the field, we’ve got everything you need to make your job easier and more effective.
Information, Help and Support
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