At East Sussex, relationship-based practice is the grounding of all our social work.
We know from our experience and the evidence that relationships are vital to children’s lives.
We know how the lack of loving, protective, nurturing and guiding relationships can impair children’s development.
Therefore, a social worker’s ability to form strong relationships with the child and parent is crucial.
Strong relationship-based practice can teach children that adults can be relied upon, enable families to accept support willingly, and help parents understand how their own experiences impact on their parenting.
The emotionally charged nature of relationships-based practice requires resilience, professionalism and boundaries from the social worker.
Robust support for social workers
And that asks a lot of social workers.
We want our social workers to embed themselves into a child’s life, but we need them to be able to walk away at the end of each day and get on with their own life too.
And that’s why at East Sussex we are committed to giving all our social workers a robust support network of strong relationships with managers, supervisors and colleagues.
It’s built into our organisational DNA.
In East Sussex we invest predominately in people; in social workers.
Social workers are our most vital resource and everything we do comes down to one question: will this support the social worker’s relationship with the child?
If the answer is no, we do not do it.
Social workers: our most important resource
This is why we have developed an agile way of working where technology allows colleagues to spend less time in front of computers and more time with families.
We use technology to support and supplement our face-to-face practice.
Our social workers can “tune in” to meetings online reducing the time they spend travelling.
We also help our social workers remain up-to-date with advances in technology, benefiting their professional development and making them more relatable to the young people they work with.
And this is how we at East Sussex are meeting the challenge of austerity, by investing in our most important resource: you, the social worker.