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About us


Frontline is a charity with a mission to transform the lives of vulnerable children by recruiting and developing outstanding individuals to be leaders in social work and broader society. We are working towards this through the Frontline and Firstline programmes, and by building a movement of leaders in and outside of social work as part of our Fellowship.

The scale of the need

Half a million children in England do not have a safe or stable home.



A child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of service.



Children are made the subject of a child protection plan when the child is considered to be at risk of significant harm, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect.


Looked after children

A child who is being looked after by their local authority is known as a child in care. They could be living with foster parents, at home with their parents under the supervision of social services, or housed in a residential children’s home.

Social workers who support them are working with some of the most vulnerable children in society, who face many disadvantages.

What is social work

Most people have had a teacher or a doctor, or received help and support from a number of people when they need it, but not everyone has had a social worker. In essence, the role of a social worker is to improve the lives of the people they support as well as their families. While social workers work with people of all ages, our focus at Frontline is on recruiting and developing children’s social workers.

What we do

Great social work has the power to change the lives of these children and their families. By developing the practice skill and leadership of social workers, Frontline transforms the lives of those who rely on social work.

We recruit and train high potential graduates and career changers to become frontline children’s social workers as part of our two-year leadership programme. It is a unique opportunity to join one of Britain’s most challenging and rewarding professions. Participants practise across London and the South East, North West, North East, Midlands, and East of England, undertaking child protection work that changes lives.

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Social work managers play a key role within local authorities. Great management enables social workers to provide the best possible support to families. The Firstline programme develops good social work managers into outstanding leaders, so that they can hold their staff and other agencies to account and empower social workers to transform the lives of vulnerable children and families.

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To address social inequalities, we need leaders across society to advocate for those most in need. That is why we are building a movement of leaders in social work and broader society. Once an individual has completed one of our programmes, or spent two years as a consultant social worker, they become part of the Frontline Fellowship – a network of outstanding individuals who are applying themselves to address social disadvantage.

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Frontline’s Values

Our values guide everything we do.

Be brave: be prepared to challenge and don’t always reach for the easy answer
Show respect: recognise and value the contributions of others
Pioneer: generate new ideas and make ripples or waves by sharing successes and setbacks
Stay curious: be continually reflective and open to adapting how we work
What matters is what works: be practical, flexible and outcome-focussed

Our impact

Children and young people who need social workers deserve life-changing professionals. Since 2013 we have been working to transform the lives of those most in need, by recruiting and developing outstanding individuals to be leaders in social work and broader society. Read more about our impact here.

Raising the status of social work

Social work has become a prestigious career choice for the country’s top graduates, with Frontline named a Times Top 100 graduate employer for the third year running.

Recruiting and developing social workers

Since placing our first cohort of Frontline participants in London and Manchester in 2014, we have recruited 650 graduates and careers changers into the social work profession. To date, 214 people have qualified as social workers through the Frontline programme, and 123 social work managers have completed the Firstline programme.


Independent studies from Cardiff University and the Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) at Loughborough University have found that the Frontline and Firstline programmes are developing the practice skill and leadership of social workers.


Growing a movement

Over 1,600 individuals will have completed our programmes by 2020, and will be applying their talents to addressing social disadvantage.

Find out about our alumni network, the Frontline Fellowship.




We commission and produce practice-focussed research that draws insights from our programmes for the benefit of the social work system. Read more. 




Our first three cohorts of Frontline participants are working across a range of regions and local authorities.


You can read more details about the impact we are having in our annual reports. Read the Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17 here or download it here.