I hadn’t given much thought to child protection social work prior to applying for Frontline. I have always known I wanted to work in a ‘helping’ profession but I wasn’t sure what this would look like. I heard about Frontline at a careers event at university and felt it ticked a lot of my boxes so I applied and got through to the assessment centre. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful but I applied again the following year and got onto the programme.
When I applied to Frontline I spoke to a variety of people about it and got a sense that everyone viewed child protection social work as really tough. This didn’t put me off though. It fired me up to take on the challenge. The unfairness of society makes me want to work harder to close the gap and move towards a more equal society.
I really enjoy having the opportunity to really help people. It’s the feedback from families and young people that keeps me going. As a trainee social worker I worked in a safeguarding team which gave me the opportunity to build relationships with children and families.
There is no ‘normal’ day in child protection with each day being very different. You may be in the office all day or out on a visit or dealing with emergencies. My work includes chairing meetings, visiting schools and family homes, making calls to different professionals and ensuring work is documented. The variety keeps you on your toes and ensures you will never be bored!
I really like the systemic model that the programme teaches. It means the focus is on relationships, and involves weekly meetings with the other Frontline participants and your consultant social worker. We discuss cases and have the space to reflect on what is going on for the family. Systemic practice encourages you to think outside of the immediate ‘problem’ and ensures you do not get stuck with one idea about what is going on. This way of training is distinct to the Frontline programme.
Through the first year, the support and encouragement from the consultant social worker (CSW) is vital to development. The support from your unit is also essential and being able to share the ups and the downs with people around you is so important.
The Frontline model allows you to forge close relationships with colleagues who are in the same boat as you with these relationships enduring long after the two years of the programme. These elements are unique to the Frontline training model and are invaluable.