The role of a Supervising Social Worker
27 April 2023
27 April 2023
Whether you're a foster carer or a child or young person in one of our foster families, the Nexus Fostering team member you'll likely see the most is your dedicated social worker. In fostering these are known as Supervising Social Workers and sometimes abbreviated to SSW.
To find out more about their role we spoke to Vanessa who works in our Cambridgeshire team.
Growing up through secondary school, my best friend's mum was a foster carer, and I saw the difference she made in children's and young people's lives. I remember talking to her supervising social worker about what it is like to be a social worker, which initially sparked my interest. After studying Psychology, I then pursued a master's in social work, and I have never looked back!
I have been a social worker for ten years now. I have worked with Nexus Fostering since May 2017. Before this, I worked in a court team, children in care teams and adoption teams for various Local Authorities and agencies.
I was drawn to Nexus as the staff described the agency as having a “family feel” which I liked. I have been a part of the same team now for six years.
Day to day I visit and supervise foster carers. I also attend meetings such as education meetings, children looked-after reviews and permanence planning meetings
I also have additional responsibilities, which include being the participation lead for the Cambridgeshire area. As participation lead for the team, I plan and arrange three events throughout the year for children to enjoy. In the past, we have held events which include: caring for animals, fire safety, healthy relationships, internet safety and lots more.
I also sit on the panel, where we decide if the applicants are approved at the end of their assessment period and ready to become foster carers. I undertake Form F assessments, which happen during the period leading up to panel approval. This consists of training, support and courses the applicants take part in, and I really get to know the family inside and out. I am also a Practice Educator, which means I can supervise social work students.
I really enjoy getting stuck in and getting involved and having fun, as you can see below! That's what drew me to the participation lead role as I love being out and about and trying new things.
I really enjoy working long-term with children and foster carers. I have supported some families for five+ years. One family I have supported I first met the young person when he was 12. He is now about to turn 18, and I feel so proud of the young person. He has an offer of acceptance at University and will do Staying Put with his foster carers. He is settled and happy, and ultimately
this is what we strive for in our young people.
I would say if in doubt, give one of the team a call. I remember visiting a single female applicant who lived on her own with her young daughter, and she had several dogs too. She worked and was worried that she wouldn’t be able to do fostering after speaking to other agencies who she described as “disinterested”. She is now one of the team's most experienced Parent and Child carers. You can read her parent and child journey here.
I enjoy spending
time with my family in my downtime, yoga, eating out, horse riding, walking my two dogs (one Shih Tzu and one Labradoodle X), and reading. I used to compete in agility with my dog Hugo, but now he is 13 and retired.
Every year we visit North Wales, where we enjoy strolling along the beaches and visiting the local castles. I have my own Paddle Board and often enjoy an evening paddle after work. My little boy has just turned 17 months and is very active! We often enjoy visiting farm parks and soft play at the weekends.
27 April 2023