Social Skirmishes: Rosie Warlock on what makes a good social woker

Rosie Warlock, a senior practitioner in children’s social services, tells us what’s on her mind

● I was at a firework display last week with Mr Warlock and some friends.

Amid the thunderous explosions and pyrotechnic delights, I ran into one of our newer social workers: mid-thirties, just out of university with some experience already in the authority in a support role. She fits the role like a glove and has done well.

She was at the display with her extended family. Her nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, even a grandparent was in attendance. She moved effortlessly around everyone and looked after child and grandparent alike. When I told them that I worked with her they all sang her praises.

Maybe she has a gift for dealing with people and should – given the right support and mentoring – flourish in the job.

A few days later I was talking to her and a fellow newly qualified social worker, who has a quite different background. She comes from a well-off family who have never wanted for anything. She is very intelligent but has learned most about the job from books. She is in her early twenties and came to us straight from university.

Will she make it? With the right supervision and mentoring and by experiencing some hard knocks she’ll succeed.

Which takes me no nearer to understanding what makes a good social worker. Maybe it just comes down to the fact that they both really want to do the job.

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