Frontline is a social work charity working to ensure that all children in England have a safe and stable home, and that their life chances are not limited by their social or family circumstance.

We create social change for children and their families by developing excellent social work practice, leadership and innovation through our programmes, and by building a movement of leaders in social work and broader society as part of our Fellowship.

Who we are

Frontline was set up as a charity to build a movement of social workers and leaders to bring about safety and stability for children. We focus entirely on social work for children and families, and bring in social workers specifically trained to work in this area. We do this because of our vision that children’s life chances are not limited by their family or social circumstances, and we believe lasting social change can be achieved through our movement of social workers. We encourage and develop our social workers to be agents of change, not only with the children and families they work with, but to influence and improve the social work system in order to have a greater positive impact. This is what makes us unique.

What we do

At Frontline, we are determined to play our part to address and solve challenges in the profession and create transformational social change for children and families. We are doing this through four key areas of work.

1. Training and development

Through the Frontline programme and Pathways programme, we train new and existing social workers, social work managers and senior leaders to bring an innovative approach to delivering social work to children and families. Together, they form a well-structured series of leadership development opportunities that we believe are fundamental for those within the sector, whether working directly with children and families, influencing decision-makers or bringing about system-wide change.

All of our programmes focus entirely on social work for children and families, training and developing social workers, managers and heads of service in a way that always keeps children and families at the core. We also take an approach to leadership which is specific to social work and is rooted in systemic theory.

We collaborate with our local authority partners around the country to explore new ways of working that encourage open dialogue and that create an environment which supports and promotes excellent, systemic-based social work practice.

Frontline programme

A two-year social work training programme for graduates and career changers awarded by the University of Lancaster.

Pathways programme

A national practice leadership development programme for leaders immersed in local authority practice, with multiple bespoke pathways for four different levels of leadership: practice supervisors, middle managers, heads of service and practice leaders.

2. Commitment to diversity and inclusion

All of Frontline’s work is underpinned by our continued commitment to racial diversity, and to inclusivity more broadly. As a charity striving to bring about social change for children and families through excellent social work practice and leadership, we are focused on ensuring that we are a genuinely anti-racist and anti-oppressive organisation, both internally, across all of our programmes and in our Fellowship.

We are actively working to dismantle racism and structural inequalities in our society, in order to ensure that those from ethnic and other minority backgrounds do not continue to face extra challenges and are better supported, heard and represented. Equally, we know that without being a diverse and inclusive organisation, we will not be able to realise our mission and achieve our vision of a society where children’s life chances are not limited by their social or family circumstances.

Read our racial diversity and inclusion action plan here.

3. Raising the status of the profession

Social workers are highly skilled professionals. We need more great people to join the profession, who are committed to making a difference for disadvantaged children and families. Without this skilled support, children are more likely to do less well in education and potentially fall victim to things like child sexual exploitation, drug misuse, knife crime and county lines.

It’s important that we challenge the negative perceptions that are often portrayed in the media, and raise the status of the profession to encourage great people to join social work. It’s also important that the workforce reflects the children and families it serves. That’s why we are working to attract more men into the profession, as they currently make up only 14% of the workforce.

4. Building a community of leaders

The scale of the change needed to overcome the injustices faced by children who have social workers also requires a community of leaders creating lasting social change. Everyone who completes one of our programmes joins the Frontline Fellowship, becoming part of a community of over 1,500 individuals working to innovate and drive broader change for children and families inside and outside of local authority social work. We have ambitious aims to grow this community over the coming years, and with it our fellows ability to effect system changes that will improve the life chances of vulnerable children.

Social Work Snapshot

In the summer of 2021, we set out to take a snapshot of children’s social work in England at this significant moment in time. We wanted the view from the front line – to learn what social workers have to say about how they work and whether, through their work, they are able to achieve their ambition to change children’s lives for the better. So we asked our fellows, and their social work colleagues these questions.

Data and impact

Our Frontline programme participants have supported over 67,000 families whilst on the programme, and tens of thousands more families since becoming social workers.

Read our annual report here

Your support, big or small, makes a real difference

Our life-changing work would not be possible without the generous support of our partners, philanthropic funders, and individuals like you.