Celebrating our Social Workers with FCA North West Fostering Services Manager Jane
Here at FCA, we’re celebrating the work of our social workers. FCA North West Fostering Services Manager Jane, answers some questions about her experiences as a social worker.
When did you become a social worker and what drew you to this career?
I qualified as a social worker in 2004. Prior to this, I was already working in the sector, based in a family centre and working with a range of client groups, both adults and children. I couldn’t go any further career-wise without undertaking the social work qualification.
Did your expectations of being a social worker match up with the reality?
Yes and no. I was already working with social workers, so yes, in some ways. But all the course gives you are the theories you base your practice on – the grounding. It doesn’t prepare you for the actual job, although I’m not sure how it could, really. I started out in child protection and there is no course that can prepare you for that experience
How did your career progress? How long have you worked at FCA?
When I qualified as a social worker I went into child protection. I then transferred to a family placement team, as a supervising social worker. From there on to the deputy manager, which at that time also included being responsible for sourcing outside agency placements, both fostering and residential. I also undertook kinship care assessments and sat on various panels. I finally made the jump to working for an independent agency as a practice manager. From this point I moved on to set up a fostering agency and became an operations manager – this role included all the aspects relating to registration, Ofsted inspections, tenders, etc.
At this point, I took the time to look at my life and decided that I had learnt a lot about myself and social work. I made the decision to step back, have a better work/life balance and go back to what I loved the most. I moved to FCA three years ago as a fostering service manager, working with staff, carers and children – the groups I most enjoy working with.
What do you think makes social work at FCA special?
Definitely the people and the passion. I lead on coordinating the activities program in the North West and I love that we get to do exciting things with our carers and children. I recently was involved in organising the Big Sing Off 2018, after we won the competition to host it. It was incredible watching everyone’s faces!
What do you think are the most important attributes of being a good social worker?
Be: trustworthy, honest, brave, intuitive, with great people skills, open practice transparency of practice), a sense of humour, strong, staying power, good ethics and values, and don’t always need to be right.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a social worker?
I always think being a social worker feels like trying to empty the ocean with an egg cup… what stops me giving up is looking to either side of me and seeing all the other social workers stood alongside me with their egg cups!