What children’s social workers do and how they can help

Social workers have a legal responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable children who may be at risk of harm. If a social worker has asked to visit you it is usually because either you have asked for help or someone who knows your family has contacted Children’s Services because they are worried about your children and think you might need some help.

The first thing a social worker will do is explain why they need to visit you, who is worried and what those worries are. The social worker may need to visit your family to do an assessment, the purpose of the assessment is for you and the social worker to explore together what’s going well and what people might be worried about. This gives you the opportunity to give your view and talk to the social worker about what support you might need to help keep your child safe and well.

The assessment will usually take place in your family home and the social worker will need to speak to you, your children, your wider family if needed and any other significant people in your children’s lives. The social worker will also ask other professionals working with you to share information about the sort of help and support you might need. For example, your family GP.

Once the social worker has gone through the assessment with you they will talk to you about suitable services to support you to make the changes needed. It may be that you just need a small or short service which you could access the community, the social worker can tell you about what’s available and help you get in touch with these services.

If there are several worries and you need more help, the social worker will put together a plan of support with you and your family. They will arrange to meet with you, the family and friends you have said could help and other professionals, such as the school and/or health visitor. In this meeting, you can agree what the support or safety plan will look like.

The support or safety plan will be written down so everyone is clear about what needs change, who in your family will be helping and what services are going to be involved to support you.

The social worker will coordinate the services and regularly meet with you and the others in your support/safety network to review the plan with you. The aim of the social worker's involvement is to help you build on the things that are already going well in your family and to reduce the worries that were identified in the assessment, so your children can remain safe and well. As things change the social worker will talk to you about how things are going and whether more or less help and services are needed. 

How to contact a social worker

If you would like to talk to a social worker:

  • email customer.services@bexley.gov.uk
  • telephone the Contact Centre on 020 8303 7777 and ask for Children's Social Care
  • write to:
    Civic Offices
    2 Watling Street
    Bexleyheath
    Kent DA6 7AT

A social worker must have a recognised qualification such as a Diploma in Social Work or Degree in Social Work and be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. If you want to check that your social worker is registered you can check on HCPC

If you are unhappy with the social work service you have received

Ask to speak to the team manager of the social worker you are working with, they will try to sort out the situation with you. If you remain unsatisfied with the managers response and wish to make a formal complaint, you will need to contact the Complaints and Freedom of Information Team.

Feedback on how we are doing is extremely important, compliments and complaints are how we know how we are really doing and learning how we can get better.

If you would like to contact the Complaints and Freedom of Information Team: