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Your experiences of Supervising Social Workers?

(17 Posts)
BetterThanChocolate Sun 16-Sep-12 08:31:31

Next month I am starting a new job with an independent fostering agency. I've been qualified over 10 years and have had a range of sw posts both as a practitioner and as a manager but this will be the first time I haven't worked for a Local Authority and also the first time I will be working as a SSW (although have worked closely with foster carers in several of my previous roles)

In my role I will hold a small caseload of fostercarers and also be supervising the SSW's in my area

What I would like to ask is what have your experiences been of your SSW's? What have you found helpful or not so helpful? Is there anything they don't do that you wish they would?

I'm really excited about getting started and want to provide the best support possible to our foster carers so any feedback and experiences would be greatly appreciated

EarthMotherImNot Sun 16-Sep-12 08:37:58

Hi, after coming out of a 25 year fostering career my immediate thought was to advise SS that foster carers have off days too. I always felt I had to be jumping for joy whenever we had a "visit"

One time we weren't ie we had just moved to adoption a much loved baby we had been to hell and back with and my mum=in-law had died suddenly withing a week of each other. A further week on and our LW commented that we weren't very upbeat this timeshock

We left fostering shortly afterwardshmm

childatheart Sun 16-Sep-12 09:12:11

We have a good ssw, however a couple of points that I would take on board:

# As EMIN said, remember that foster carers have lives and families and feelings and there lives do not always revolve around fostering.

# If you are saying something to your foster carers in private then make sure that you are prepared to do so in a meeting. We have had several instances when we have felt let down and unsupported because our ssw has not backed us up in a meeting.

BetterThanChocolate Sun 16-Sep-12 09:46:18

Thanks EMIN and CAH. Great points that I will keep in mind. From my previous experience I feel that foster carers being properly supported is so vital. I have seen foster carers leave the proffesion and placements breakdown as the right support wasn't in place. EMIN would made you leave in the end?

In your experience has your SSW been there when a child or young person is placed with you?

BetterThanChocolate Sun 16-Sep-12 10:20:57

I really need to use the preview post option. Apologies for typos and spelling. That's what happens when I try to mumsnet whilst unloading the dishwasher and playing playdoh! grin

EarthMotherImNot Sun 16-Sep-12 12:00:47

I'd be happy for you to PM if you want details Better, suffice to say non-supportive ss and paperwork! too much paperwork!!!

scarlet5tyger Sun 16-Sep-12 12:41:12

On the whole I'm happy with the support I receive.

My biggest "complaint" would be the frequency my SSWs are changed (I'm on my 5th!). You spend a couple of years building up a good relationship with them only for a new face to pop up one month. I must admit I'm less willing to fully commit these days as a result.

Also, 4 out of 5 of my workers have been part time. I do support flexible working but at a practical level this means that I either attend meetings/take on new placements/move on old placements on my own or I do so with a SW I've probably never met before.

Gymbob Sun 16-Sep-12 21:35:50

Yes, scarlet same here. We were very happy with my fc's social worker, she was efficient and lovely and then she left. Now cut backs mean we haven't got a replacement, but a stand in for now. I'm having to start from scratch with the temp and tbh I can't be bothered knowing she's going to change again. Oh, and because of the change, the communication is now quite poor, and mistakes are being made as a result. Left hand doesn't know what the right hand's doing.......

My lovely LW left too and she was replaced with a MAN. I can't be bothered there either, he's not on my wavelength and I just don't talk to a man in the same way I talk to a woman. I need to talk girly teenagery stuff sometimes and it just doesn't work having to tell it to a man......

marriedtoagoodun Mon 17-Sep-12 22:41:33

hmm for me the big one is juggling the needs of the agency to have a professional relationship that will ensure placements come their way and still pointing out poor practice. I feel that the need to develop commerical relationships have meant that I have been asked to overlook bad practice to maintain the status quo.

threeandcounting Tue 18-Sep-12 20:52:29

We have been fostering for a year and a half and have a great ssw grin

For me, I like the fact that I can talk honestly to her and I know that even if we see things from a different perspective she will listen and give her honest opinion. There have been times when we have disagreed about something, but we both agreed it shouldn't affect our working relashionship. And it didn't.

It is good that she also responds quickly to any phone/email queries that I have, and is supportive in any lac reviews that may be difficult.

BetterThanChocolate Tue 18-Sep-12 22:16:48

Thank you everyone, this has really got me thinking about the best way to support foster carers

Marriedtoagoodun I can see how that may happen. I have always been a practitioner that will challenge bad practice and I will continue to do so although this will be the first time I have worked for an independent agency (and the first time in 12 years I haven't worked for a local authority) so may have to think about the way I do this in my new job

Scarlet I will be working part time, at least for the next year, so will be looking at what systems and support I can put in place for my non working days although thankfully I can be flexible about my working days so can ensur ii can support with any planned meetings

Can I ask if people are fostering for a local authority or an independent agency?

BetterThanChocolate Tue 18-Sep-12 22:18:05

It's great to hear positive stories and examples of what works

Thanks again

Gymbob Tue 18-Sep-12 22:29:23

LA choccy

threeandcounting Wed 19-Sep-12 07:57:42

LA here...

EarthMotherImNot Wed 19-Sep-12 09:34:11

LA for us. Have replied Bettersmile

marriedtoagoodun Wed 19-Sep-12 11:04:50

Agency but have worked for two as moved house. This agency is definetely not as brave as the other and I think that is to do with 'preferred status' contracts being awarded. The reality is that if your agency does not get this status then placements (unless very difficult) will not come their way. For me there is a double hand deal in play and I think is very difficult for the agency when they are commerically driven to rock the boat with senior managers etc.

They want the agency to be seen as a pancea to all ills - taking away the need for as many supervising visits, producing review notes etc as well offering a placment that is second to none. The fact that our reward element is higher puts a lot of pressure on us to add 'extra value' and that can also be hard.

BetterThanChocolate Sat 20-Oct-12 13:49:33

Well I've finished my current job and off to my new post a week on Monday. Feeling a bit weird about not working for an LA and glad to see that a majority of foster carers on here are working for their LA's.

Thanks married. Ive always been very forward at rocking the boat when it needs rocking so this move come as a bit of a challenge to me!

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