It is through individuals like Sarah that families like ours can find solace during challenging times. I believe that had we have been allocated a social worker like her from the beginning, things may have turned out differently for us.
700,000 children and their families rely on the support of a social worker each year.
And this number is rising. So is the number of children being taken into care. More families are living in poverty, having to choose between food or heating and trying to work out how to make ends meet. More people are struggling with their mental health and addiction. Domestic violence has increased hugely since the start of the pandemic. And for children living through these circumstances, the impact can be huge. It can often mean that they are experiencing things that as a child or young person they simply shouldn’t. For some, this could mean being cold, hungry and not able to get to or concentrate at school.
For others, it can lead to things like abuse, trauma or neglect. Not getting the love, care and protection they need to flourish and grow into the best version of themselves.
This not only harms them in the here and now but, without help, can do long-term damage too.
of children in need have experienced abuse or neglect
increase in serious child protection cases over the last 10 years
children entered the care system in 2022, a 9% increase from 2021
I think social workers are important because they play a big part in a child’s life, supporting them with whatever experience they have been through, helping them to overcome this trauma.Laila, care experienced young person
But social workers can change this.
The work social workers do with children and families can be the difference between a family being able to get through these tough times or not. To stay together and thrive. Or to take steps that means a child is kept safe from harm. Whatever the social worker is doing, making sure children know they have someone to rely on to advocate for them is always at the heart.
We support and work with social workers to make sure they can do this, or to find ways around the things that stop them being able to. And to make sure they get the training and development they need to work with children and families that gives them the best possible chance in life.
Social work stories need to be heard
When was the last time you read a positive story about a social worker and family online or in the media? How much do you think you know about what social workers really do, or the difference they’re making?
We’re lucky enough to hear these stories every day. They’re not always easy to hear – like every role and person’s life they have really tough days. But they also show the power of human connection, of people working together to help others and get them through dark times, of showing children and young people how much they mean and why they need to keep going.
We want to show this side of social work, to dispel the myths and misconceptions about what social work is and the negative, often harmful, portrayals of social workers themselves.