Different types of children’s social workers

This is something that a number of social workers seem to get confused with.

Now, hopefully I can make you feel a little better about this. I have been working for a number of years and I still cannot keep up with the name changes as it feels like they change constantly. So you are not alone…

Please note that every Authority has a different name for their teams however, it can be quite easy to determine what one is what.

When you are trying to find the right role for you it can be difficult to know where you would even want to start.

Let’s try and break these down

  1. Children’s Duty Team
  2. Out of Hours Team/ Emergency Duty Team
  3. Early Help Team
  4. Assessment Team
  5. Child in Need Team
  6. Child Protection Team
  7. Looked after Children Team
  8. Children with Disabilities Team
  9. Fostering Team
  10. Adoption Team
  11. Child Exploitation Team

I have done this article within 11 different teams. I have only provided a summary of what these teams do. Some will overlap with others and in all roles there will be further information that I have not included.

  1. Children’s Duty Team

    Also known as: First Response Team or MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub)
    This is the front door to any children’s Social Care safeguarding team. It is a range of support workers and social workers who take the intial calls from from professionals and members of the public. They will collate all of the required information and triage this to the appropriate team if actions are required. They will only hold these cases for a short while usually around 2-3 days before a decision is made. They have a quick turn around and are often juggling many things at once.


  1. Out of hours Team/ Emergency Duty Team

    This is a team of social workers who cover from 5pm until 08:30 the nexy day. They complete shifts and cover any emergencies that are occur that require a social worker’s oversight or action. They will pick this up if it could not wait until the allocated social workers team are back in the following day or after the weekend or bank holiday. They sometimes have to act as an appropriate adult or have to arrange a placement for a child’s safety at the last minute.


  1. Early Help Teams

    These teams have a variety of professioals with different experiences. The aim is for professionals to hold these cases to prevent the cases being transferred to the social work teams. They hold the lower level cases and professionals can vary from housing workers, beneifts workers, children’s centre workers, family intervention workers, parenting groups workers and so on. This team is all about the preventative work with families.   There are sometimes social workers working within these teams or managers with social work experience. Social workers often step cases down to Early Help teams when there is some further work that needs to be completed e.g. support around parenting groups or support around finances and so on.


  1. Assessment Team

    This is a team of social workers who complete Single Assessments within 40 days and determine what the required outcomes are; Case closure, support from early help, Child in Need Plan (CIN) or Child Protection Plan (CP). This should be a short term team with a quick turn around of cases.


  1. Child In Need Team

    AKA CIN Teams/ Strengthening Families Team. Sometimes these teams are also completing Single Assessments (SAF) however, it depends on the Local Authroity. Some of these teams can also have Family Intervention workerks to help support the case holding social worker. Once a SAF has been completed the social worker will then develop the CIN plan which will be reviewed at a minimum of every 12 weeks. The child/ children will be seen at a minimum of every 6 weeks. The aim is for support to be offered to the family with the hope that you can then step down to early help support or even case closure. It is important to note that this is a voluntary team and families don’t have to engage with the service at this stage. If there continue to be concerns with no change or things deteriorate  consideration would be given to whether a Stragey Meeting is required. This means that Social Care, Police, health services and any professionals working with the family will have a multi agency discussion and they will make a descion as to whether an Initial Child Protection Case Conference (ICPC) is needed. If and ICPC is required then a decion would be made at this meeting whether the child/ children are at risk of significant harm.


  1. Child Protection Team

    This is when an ICPC has been convened and the child/ children have been made subject to Child Protecion Plans under one of the following four categories; Neglect, Emotional, Physical or Sexual harm. This Plan is then reviewed after 12 weeks and then on-going reviews every 6 months. On top of this they also hold Core Groups every 4-12 weeks to review the CP Plan. If concerns continue to be raised the Local Authority may seek legal advice with the view to initiating Public Law Proceedings to determine wheter any Cour Orders are required to protect the child/ children. The child/ children would need to be seen as a minimun of every 6 weeks. However, the child should be seen more often that this.


  1. Looked After Children Team

    Also known as the LAC Team.  Once a decion has been made that a child/ children are going to remain in Foster Care under S20 or by Court Orders the case will transfer to the LAC Team. Children will be supported in this team until they are 21 years old (25 years old if they are engaged in education or training). They will have visits from their social worker every 6 weeks within the first year of being in care and then every 12 weeks after this time. Often children can be placed outside of the local authority area and they must be able to make visits to see these children in line with the statutory requirements. The social worker will attend arrange LAC reviews for the child to ensure all the outcomes are regularly achieved for the child/ children.


  1. Children’s Disabilities Team

    Also known as CDT. This is for children with a permanent disability who without support they would be impaired without access to specialist provisions, adaptations or equipment.  Each Local Authority has a different criteria of what level of cases they hold. They support  children and their families with organising and providing support and services. This support is available until the child reaches 18 years old and then the case would transfer to the adults team. They will hold regular reviews and oversee the plan that is in place to ensure that the outcomes are being achieved for the child and their family.

  1. Fostering Team

    This will include supervising foster carers, completing form F assessments and presenting cases at panel. They will also be involved in training events, attending LAC reviews, regularly speaking to the child’s social worker and providing on-going support to the foster carers.


  1. Adoption Team

    The social workers will be involved with the recruitment, assessment of Adopters and will provide support to furture adopters. After ther adotion order is granted support can be offered for up to three years. After this time social workers can also support with Adoption Support Fund Applications to enure that the correct services are in place to support the family.


  1. Child Sexual Exploitation Team

    These social wokers help to reduce risk and protect children who are at risk of child sexual exploitation. They work with children who are subject to CP plans or CIN plans.  They will liase with the allocated social worker and provide support and guidance to professionals working with the child. They will complete direct work with the child to help them understand the risks and to help raise their awareness of CSE.


I hope this has helped you with a summary of the different roles available.

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