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Creating real change for disabled children and their families

As a social worker I helped implement the Personalisation Agenda – an approach focussed on ensuring that everyone who receives support will have choice and control over that support. I also supported the application of a provider framework for the delivery of personal budgets for disabled children, young people and their families. As a result, I was asked to attend national conferences, where I was able to share the success stories from my local authority and learn from the experiences of others that were involved.

The conferences were invaluable in extending my knowledge of personal budgets. I was able to share with other professionals what I considered to have worked and areas which on reflection I may have carried out in a different way. The sharing of such information between local authorities is crucial to the creation and success of potential outcomes for families who have a personal budget.

Personalisation and personal budgets build on solution-focused approaches which empower children and families to control the way in which agreed outcomes are met. As every child and young person is unique, so were the plans which I wrote with their families. Of course the young person was involved at every stage; their views, wishes and feelings were crucial to the success of the plan.

For the first time we were able to move away from traditionally prescribed services, to creative and empowering plans designed around the individual needs of the child and their family. It was so rewarding to see children and young people with disabilities taking part in activities within their local communities alongside their non-disabled peers, being accepted regardless of difference and promoting social inclusion and equality.

Social work is about believing that we can make changes and striving to make those changes which we are so passionate about. Social work is also about believing that we can support families to make positive changes which create better outcomes for the children and young people with whom we work.

Improving a family’s life doesn’t always have to be about changing everything, it is about making the changes that count and making a positive difference.

“If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep on getting what you have always got” WL Bateman