The most important thing I learnt from the Frontline programme was the importance of building relationships with the families we work with. I think that social work is ultimately about being able to have honest conversations about incredibly difficult and sensitive subjects, in a way that still allows you to work together. Being able to shape these kinds of conversations which can sometime begin as adversarial, is a skill that can apply to any role or situation.
Since finishing the programme, I have begun working at the Children’s Commissioner’s Office. I work in the policy team and it’s exciting to be able to translate the knowledge and skills I learnt on the programme into exploring potential policy areas that the commissioner might be addressing.
Through the Fellowship I have been able to attend a conference on early intervention and participate in a consultation for Martin Narey’s fostering stocktake. So far it’s been a great way to stay involved and up to date with issues affecting practice, particularly now that I am no longer working in a local authority. The conference in particular made me think about issues I experienced when practicing and how I might want to address this, such as working with parents who are also either in care, or care leavers themselves and their experiences with court proceedings.
I also have a couple of ideas that I hope can be supported in their development through the Fellowship going forward. In particular, I am interested in how social workers can have a more prominent voice in public discourse around social inequality.