‘It was wonderful to have somebody show me they really cared’: Luke Rodgers on the power of social work

In this podcast for our Choose Social Work campaign, Luke Rodgers, founder of The Care Leaders, talks about the social workers who had a positive impact on his time in care and how practitioners can do the same for the children they support

Photo of Luke Rodgers, director of strategy for The Care Leaders


This podcast forms part of Community Care’s Choose Social Work campaign, which aims to champion the brilliant work social workers do every day, inspire the next generation of practitioners, and counteract the negative media coverage of the profession. Read about why we’ve launched this campaign, and the five steps you can take to support it.

On our campaign page, you will find more inspiring stories about the difference that good social work makes, as well as our series of Dear Future Social Worker letters, encouraging the next generation to choose social work as a fulfilling, rewarding career.

You can listen to the podcast using the player above, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google or Spreaker – wherever you normally listen to podcasts.

You can read a transcript of the podcast here.

Luke’s key messages for social workers

“I think it’s really important to highlight social work. Not necessarily just positively or negatively but also realistically and say, ‘Well actually, you’ve got incredible people in this space who are working in a system that’s very challenging’.”

“Be someone that says something different. Be someone that says something from a place of compassion.”

Know that your words now will have power in the future.

“So my call to action is if we know that language needs to change and we’re doing so much work and conversations to change it, then why don’t we ignore the majority of it first and just actually meet young people where they are?”

You’re only going to see a child essentially just a small number of times over the year, because that’s what social work is. So make those moments memorable.

A snapshot of the interview questions with timestamps

Luke was interviewed by Natalie Valios, senior content editor for Community Care Inform Adults.

[0:01:26.4] Was there a great social worker you remember because they had a positive impact on your childhood?

[0:08:13.5] Have you got any tips or advice on how social workers can give children the resilience, power and ownership over who they are, so they remember their social worker fondly in later life?

[0:14:15.8] As well as working with practitioners you work with many young people. Have any of them told you positive stories of their social worker that stand out for you?

[0:17:53.1] What do you think social workers should stop to consider when writing reports so that young people have a better experience than you did if they choose to look at their case files in later life?

[0:26:07.2] How would you suggest a social worker goes about building a relationship with a child they are supporting?

[0:31:50.9] What qualities and skills do you think a young person will remember most about their social worker?

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