Message from the Director of Children's Services

Ana Popovici discusses high aspirations for children and how our vision puts families first.

Being a children’s Social Worker is a great job. It has everything: energy, passion, intrigue, communication and the reward that comes from helping people bounce back from adversity and make it through the toughest situations. Much is asked of Social Workers that’s why in Wandsworth, we offer role clarity so that when you are being asked to be all things to all people, you can be clear about the most important aspects of your job, whatever your role in our organisation. 

Most important of all is the child’s story, it is always the starting point. Not the incident or the sequence of events so much, however worrying this might be. Above all, a Social Worker must start with the child and stay with the child. To understand their daily lived experience and if they have been through adverse experiences, to practice trauma-informed care. A Social Worker must decide what is best for a child and seek to achieve that change. The subtlety of the role is how to do that in brief professional encounters with a child or their family. The same applies to social work or vulnerable adults. At the heart of this is empathy, understanding and support; without that, no one will open up to you. That’s why in Wandsworth, we recognise that social work is an 'emotional labour' and that Social Workers need support too. Support with managing complexity, sharing risks where the risks are high – good management does these things and we are determined to make sure every Social Worker feels that support just as we want every child the Social Worker supports to feel that support.

We offer new Social Workers and experienced Social Workers (who are no different in their needs and entitlement) the tools to do your job. Decent IT, flexible working and support with any health and wellbeing issues you might have. It is not just the job that is complex, modern life is complex and as an employer, we want to support you to manage the various demands in your own life so that work fits in well with the rest of your life.

Welcome to Wandsworth. I pledge to give you all the help and support I can as your Director. My approach is that every members of staff is equally important, whatever their job. Everyone has a part to play in delivering the improvements in the daily life of vulnerable children that matter so much. High performing organisations feature strong internal partnerships, so that every contact our staff have with each other is positive and productive. That helps Social Workers to go out into the community, into complicated and often high-risk situations, knowing they are part of a successful and supportive team. The team around the child. The team around the Social Worker. That is Wandsworth.

Best wishes,