Name: Matthew Heatley.
Job: Senior Practitioner, Warrington Council children’s services, based at Thorn Cross young offender institution in Warrington.
Job description: Providing social work support to young offenders (under 18 or up to 21 if care leavers) at Thorn Cross.
Skills/qualifications needed: I have a degree in business, diploma in social work and am qualified as a practice teacher.
Pay scale: £24,000-£27,000.
What’s your job like?
Following a court ruling which found that local authorities have welfare responsibilities under the Children Act 1989 towards children held in custody, the Youth Justice Board agreed to fund a social worker within every young offender institution
I started in June this year and have the honour of being the first social worker in post.
I have the full backing and support of staff at Thorn Cross and Warrington Council. I am really enjoying this new role- it has revitalised my belief in my profession and I believe I am supporting some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in our society.
I contribute to the induction/assessment of young offenders arriving at Thorn Cross and interview every juvenile entering the establishment.
A significant part of my duties is safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children at Thorn Cross. I do risk assessments on young offenders here who have convictions against minors. I also have responsibilities for identifying children in custody who are in need, under the Children Act.
I identify disabled young people, (physical and learning difficulties) and carry out individual initial assessments.
A major role I have is in relation to looked after children. I liaise with their local authority to agree leaving care plans. I make sure local authorities fulfil their statutory responsibilities.
I also liaise with relevant agencies and professionals within the prison about young people who may require extra support.
When required I assist in conjunction with child protection investigations. I contribute to child protection training.
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