Resources & Tools

Changing Lives: How to Become a Supervising Social Worker

Social workers play a valuable role in helping foster children and families. They give important guidance and support to both young people and carers, helping them navigate the sometimes-tricky realities of living in care.

While there are different types of social workers within foster care, all contribute to helping children achieve their full potential. These include supervising social workers (SSWs), who work on behalf of fostering agencies like Compass Fostering, and youth social workers, who work with children on an individual basis.

If you’re considering a career as a supervising social worker in foster care, or wonder what SSWs do, here’s what you need to know.

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What is the role of a supervising social worker?

Before a child arrives with a new foster family, SSWs work with the family finding team to make sure that the child and the family are a good match. They also talk through any questions or concerns with the soon-to-be foster parents. The supervising social worker’s in-depth knowledge of fostering legislation and practice means they can support carers to give the foster child the best home possible.

Once the foster child joins their new family, the SSW checks in frequently to see how the child is settling in and how the family is adapting. They’re on hand day and night to advise whenever an issue comes up – which often helps parents get through any fostering hiccups.

The Supervising social worker role also involves help recruit foster carers, run Form F’ foster assessments and get carers the training they need to prepare for the arrival of a foster child and advance their skills.

How to become a supervising social worker

Social workers need an undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree in social work that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). They also need to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

In addition, social workers need good organisational skills, a friendly and flexible attitude, strong communication with the ability to prioritise, and a good dose of empathy and enthusiasm. Due to the nature of the work, many social workers also need a valid driving license, and SSWs should have experience of foster care practice.

If you’re a qualified social worker looking for a position as a SSW in foster care, consider joining the Com-pass Fostering family! You can view our current vacancies here.

Why become a social worker in foster care?

Social work is a rewarding field for anyone who wants to have a positive impact on the lives of others. Supervising social workers help improve the foster experience for children, birth families and foster families.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of social work is being able to watch a foster family and foster child go from arrival through the adjustment period, to where the child becomes part of the family and starts thriving and achieving. There are few feelings in the world like knowing that you’ve made a difference in the life of a child in need!


A Day in the Life of a Social Worker

If you’re interested in finding out more about the foster care system, please get in touch and our friendly team will be happy to answer your questions. Or if you’d like to know more about supervising social workers, you can read about a day in the life from one of our Supervising Social Workers, Steph.