Training Social Workers is Child's Play

CiCC members and council officers

Central Bedfordshire Children in Care Council (CiCC) members provided aspiring social workers with plenty of food for thought after addressing them at a conference.

The group of seven young people were invited to speak at the event organised by charity Frontline in Ware, Hertfordshire.

They also led exercises with the 120 participants to get them thinking more about the needs and wishes of looked-after children.

CiCC members are already involved in the recruitment process for people looking to get into children’s social care by doing an assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) programme through the Central Bedfordshire Academy of Social Work and Early Intervention.

That’s why they were invited to the event by Frontline, which recruits and trains social workers across the UK before working with local authorities to get them placed in children’s services departments.

The CiCC members, the youngest of whom is 11, spoke candidly about their experiences of being in care – and used these in table exercises to get the aspiring social workers to think beyond the theory and imagine how they would help young people in real life.

Sue Harrison, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Director of Children’s Services, said: “Children in Care Council members play a vital role in the recruitment, induction training and evaluation of our children’s social workforce.

“Having the theory and knowledge of children’s social work is one thing, but to truly be able to work with the young people you are helping, you need to be in tune with their wishes and needs.

“We have been very successfully working with the Children in Care Council for several years and explains why we have such a strong and stable children’s social workforce who have built up some incredibly strong bonds with the young people they are helping.”

Jo Williams, who is in charge of delivering the Frontline programme, said: “At Frontline, an important part of our students learning is to hear about the perspective of people who have had experiences of social work intervention in their lives and by virtue of this are ‘experts by experience’.

“Central Bedfordshire Children in Care Council has been supporting our teaching for the past four years and is always one of the highlights of the programme. This year, we invited them to come along and talk to students at the very start of their journey, as part of their induction. As ever, they were an inspiration and captivated the audience with their presentation and workshop.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Children in Care Council and are excited about their plans for teaching at our Summer Institute in August.”

11yo Jasmine leads table exercise