social worker week

We want to highlight and celebrate the fantastic work our social workers do. Without social workers, thousands of people across Wales wouldn’t have their basic or complex needs met. From helping people cope with abuse and mental health issues, to chronic illness and poor health, the social worker role is incredibly important.

Here in Foster Wales Bridgend, our social workers work together with our foster carers to ensure the children in their care have the best chance of a better life. Not only are they a pillar of support for our carers, but they offer guidance, learning, and often become one of the closest people to that foster family.

We’d like to thank all of our social workers for what they do day in, day out. It doesn’t bear to think about where we would be without them!

We spoke with one of our social workers in the fostering team, who has a wealth of experience as a social worker in Bridgend:

What’s your name and what are your main duties as a social worker?

My name is Kirsty. I’m a Supervising Social Worker with Foster Wales Bridgend, and my role entails supporting and advising foster carers in order to help them provide a safe, stable and loving environment for the children in their care.

In order to achieve this I also work closely with the children’s social workers, as well as involved professionals within other agencies such as Health and Education. I also carry out assessments of people who want to become foster carers.

Selfie of social worker

How long have you been a social worker for?

I have been a social worker for fifteen years. For the first three years of my career I worked as a children’s social worker in a Children Looked After Team. Then in 2012 I started working in Bridgend County Borough Council’s Fostering Team as a Supervising Social Worker- and here I am nearly twelve years later!

Do you have any special memories that you’ll never forget as a social worker?

There are too many to count! It has been a privilege over the years to be part of helping children achieve permanence- for example seeing children placed with their adoptive families or returning to their birth families.

There have also been times where I have seen children and young people make tremendous progress and achieve things that might not have seemed attainable some time before; ranging from getting amazing exam results to learning how to ride a bike.

I have definitely learned that all achievements, so-called big and small, are equally valuable and can mean the world. Being part of those experiences definitely make the job worth it.

What are your main positives of being a social worker?

For me the main positive is, without a doubt, getting to meet and work with so many extraordinary people on a day-to-day basis; this includes foster carers and their wider family members, the children and young people and their family, as well as other professionals from different fields.

As a SSW you also share the highs and lows of the fostering journey with the carers, which is a very rewarding (and at times emotional!) experience and one I always feel fortunate to be part of. Foster Wales Bridgend is a lovely team to work in and I feel very lucky to work with such supportive, friendly and dedicated colleagues.

What are your main challenges as a social worker?

In my opinion, one of the main challenges is that we often have a large caseload, so it’s difficult to be there for everyone as much as I’d like. Also, it can sometimes be frustrating seeing people unable to access the full support they need in a timely manner due to waiting lists etc., usually this is out of the social worker’s control.

More generally, I find it disheartening to see how negatively social work is still perceived and portrayed within the public realm, for example by the media. The team we have in Bridgend are brilliant and all do their very best every day.

What would you say to anyone considering becoming a social worker?

To anyone considering social work I would say to go for it, as everyone can bring something unique to the role.

Every day is different, and it is a constant learning curve – which has helped me to develop not just as a social worker but personally as well. Although there are lows as well as highs, the feeling of satisfaction you get from helping people (even just as a small cog in a big wheel) and seeing positive outcomes, is 100% worth it.

You have to give a lot, but you also get a great deal back in return.

Praise about our social workers from manager and foster carers

Two of our valued foster carers share about their relationship with Kirsty:

“As carers you need your SSW to totally understand everything that can affect how the child will settle and the longer term compatibility. They should encourage positive outcomes of supervision, and be your professional friend and confidant. We feel that Kirsty fits this criteria – we have always felt supported and valued by her!” – Ian and Lynda

Thank you

It’s clear to see how passionate and dedicated our social workers are, without ever asking for anything in return. A huge thank you to Foster Wales Bridgend’s fostering team!!

If you’d like to find out more about fostering in Bridgend, supported by our fantastic social workers, please get in touch here.

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Story Time

Stories From Our Carers