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Reflecting on the successes and challenges ahead

I am writing this blog as we come to the end of another school year – it’s always a good opportunity to reflect on the successes and challenges ahead.

If I was writing reports what would I say? “Social work is a determined child with strong character and a fantastic sense of humour, who in spite of challenges this year has exceeded our expectations.”

It is a turbulent time in both local and national government and proposed policy changes hang over us like changeable weather patterns; however, sun or rain, we continue to focus on the journey ahead.

I am always impressed in the midst of uncertainty, how grounded and outcome focused social work teams can be and how creatively they come up with plans with families to ensure children are safe and can thrive. Clearly we don’t always get it right, but there is a lot of evidence across the country of great practice that has a positive impact on children’s lives.

I think it’s important for all of us, wherever we may sit in the organisation, to engage in a bit of reflective practice, and in the face of huge uncertainty and complexity, to celebrate what has gone well.

In Liverpool there are a number of great examples of social work practice and partnership working that is having a real impact on the lived experience of the child. Every day, across the country, social workers are engaging with families in very challenging circumstances to ensure children are safe.

In a moment of self-indulgence I would like to thank the staff in my service in what became a difficult time earlier this year when three members of staff were seriously assaulted by a mother whose children had been adopted. I was humbled by the whole service response from staff and managers alike, not only in the support they gave to their colleagues but their determination to carry on visiting families – not one single person stopped work. It is testimony to the great resilience of the profession and why it is critical that at both government and local leadership level we represent the rights of vulnerable children and the staff and services that support them.

I work in a fantastic region where sector-led support has always been very strong and I feel proud to have been elected on to the Association’s Board of Directors this year. I hope that I grow into the role and am able to contribute to national developments and support the constructive debate and challenge on the way forward for children’s services.

I hope everyone manages to get away for a summer break and that we can all return in the autumn with hope and enthusiasm for the future ahead.

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