Children’s Social Work Careers

Our story

Image of a boy holding paper homemade garland of people

Families change. We change with them. That is why, to us, social work is always work in progress. 

Today, we are recognised as a leader in our field. We are one of the Government-selected Partners in Practice and have received commendation from Ofsted for the way we are changing thinking and practice. And we’re committed to driving progress so all children can achieve their potential. 

That is why, to us, innovation is more than just a buzzword. It’s something we practice every single day. From adopting and adapting ideas to pioneering new approaches and championing fresh thinking.  

The changes we implement in Lincolnshire have the power to change lives and that is why we need people with the passion and ability to bring this change to life. Families in the UK need us to lead the way and that is why we need people like you. 

Social work will always be challenging. We’re making sure it’s challenging for the right reasons. 

A word from our Executive Director of Children’s Services

Image of Heather Sandy

'You have taken the first step on your journey to join our social work team of dedicated workers who always seek to embrace our vision of ‘putting children first’.

We are extremely proud that our model of practice embraces a truly integrated way of working across the spectrum of social care, early help, and health visiting services.

Equally alongside your work with colleagues, you will work collaboratively with our partners who seek to provide support to children and their families to receive the right help, at the right time and from the right person, all underpinned by a solid foundation of relationship-based practice.

To support families in Lincolnshire, supporting you as part of the workforce is crucial.  We recognise that social work is an exciting and dynamic profession, it can be challenging, but equally very rewarding.

Our social work teams are made up of social workers with a range of experiences from our social work apprentices to advanced practitioners, all supported by experienced social work managers.  In our teams you will receive regular personal / professional, and case supervision as well as group learning and reflective practice sessions.  You will also have access to tailored in-house training and accredited post qualifying modules and a range of employee benefits.

We are an outstanding Ofsted rated children’s service who have a strong commitment to making a difference to the lives of families both in Lincolnshire and more widely. We are delighted to be a wave 1 Pathfinder authority for the DfE implementing the recommendations from the Stable Homes Built on Love - making this is very exciting time to join us in Lincolnshire.

The work we do is changing lives. 

I would be thrilled if you take the next step and join us on your social work journey.'

Heather Sandy, corporate director of children’s services

Our teams

Image of children’s services staff

To meet the needs of children’s services across Lincolnshire, we have a wide number of specialist teams ready to respond to the diverse challenges of our county.

From our family assessment and support team to our fostering team, the adoption team to our children with disability team, there’s a wealth of skills and experiences across our ranks. Our teams are full of people from all walks of life. And, uniting us all, is a drive to make a difference in the lives of children, young people and families.


We are a county-wide team of 17 social workers that are part of Family Adoption Links – a regional adoption agency incorporating Lincolnshire and Rutland, North Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Leicester City and Northamptonshire Children’s Trust.

We work alongside the FAST team, twin tracking all children who have a plan of adoption to ensure the process is completed at the earliest stage. The aim is to ensure that children can be placed in a safe and secure family as soon as possible following a court decision. The team are then responsible for the life story book, later in life letter and ‘letterbox’ arrangements.

Our supervising social worker (SSW) team is responsible for the recruitment, preparation / training, and assessment of prospective adopters in line with the regulations. Our team complete the permanence assessment reports and accompany adopters to the adoption panel. They remain are involved in supporting adoptive families until the adoption order is made. Our team also complete stepparent adoptions.

Our adoption/special guardianship order (SGO) support team is involved in assessing post adoption/SGO support needs, delivering therapies either through the team or through the adoption support fund, running support groups for adopters/SGO carers, and activities/groups for adopted/SGO children.

Our team manages the birth records counselling service, the ‘letterbox’ for adoptive families, newsletters, and training opportunities for adopters and SGO carers.


Image of Fostering teamOur fostering social workers are known as supervising social workers (SSW). 

This is a key position that brings together children and young people in care. Our SSW act as a link between foster carers and children’s social workers, and they are there to support the child/young person by providing a placement that can meet their needs.

Our SSW team is vital in helping us secure a sufficient number of trained mainstream foster carers.

As well as mainstream carers, our SSWs also carry out assessments of ‘kinship carers’ and are instrumental in completing both Regulation 24 assessments and special guardianship court reports.

Our SSWs recruit, assess, support and develop foster carers to be able to meet the needs of our children in care. Our SSWs rely on support from all social workers to be part of the team around any foster placement.

Our SSWs carry out stringent assessments, including ‘Form F’ assessments, to recognised standards. SSWs also present reports to panel that prove their commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The fostering duty desk is also a key part of children’s services; they are responsible for managing and overseeing placement requests.

Our foster carers are a valuable part of the team around the child. Our way of keeping connected with fostering families is through support and supervision, and a monthly newsletter, which is sent to all fostering households and all teams across children’s services.

Children in care

We have two children in care teams that are based in Lincoln and Sleaford.

Our social workers support children and young people who have been accommodated under Section 20 or where care orders have been granted and support  those children in private fostering arrangements.  We also work with unaccompanied children seeking asylum.

Integral to our work is facilitating continued work with of the families we support. Social workers operate within the Public Law Outline Process, which means they can discharge a care order when children or a young person returns home or is looking at special guardianship orders.

They are also involved in court work, applications for secure welfare orders and deprivation of liberty matters.

Signs of Safety, restorative practice and social pedagogy are important models incorporated in our work.  Both teams have a life story worker who work very hard to create life story books for children in our care.


Image of the Residential team

Our residential care teams look after the children and young people who live in our homes.

We have two short breaks homes, one in Lincoln and one in Boston for children with disabilities. We also have a residential home caring for up to 11 children who have disabilities in Grantham.

We have three homes (in Gainsborough, Sleaford and Spalding) that care for up six children and young people each. The children are carefully matched to their homes and can stay until just beyond their 18th birthday.

In addition, our secure children’s home in Sleaford looks after up to 12 young people and our newest home in Lincoln – Robin House – has opened. Robin House has four beds and is aimed at children aged from 6 years up to their 16th birthday.

We are in the process of expanding our residential estate with a further home in Louth under construction and due to open in 2024.


Children with disabilities

Our children with disabilities (CWD) social work team is a county-wide but based in Lincoln and Sleaford. The team is responsible for the assessment of children and young people, aged between 0-18 years, that have severe and profound disabilities through child in need, child protection, children in care and court work.

Our head of service is responsible for special education needs and disability (SEND) and provides the strategic lead while the team manager is responsible for managing the practice supervisors, and social workers.

The team works closely with the SEND service through the educational health and care plan process.

Front Door

Our children’s social care screening team comprises social work advanced practitioners and practice supervisors. Our team makes decisions about next actions required on safeguarding concerns.

These concerns are reported to the customer service centre by members of the public and agencies that have worries about children in Lincolnshire. They work closely with our early help colleagues who are also within our integrated front door.

Youth Offending/Futures for me

Image of the Futures for me team

Future4Me (F4M) is part of our early help service and was established across Lincolnshire five years ago. Our team works with a 14-18-year-old cohort of young people who are at risk of homelessness, criminalisation, exploitation or who are being accommodated by the local authority.

Our case-holding staff members are located within the localities to promote a community focus and locality relationships with extended support from the central hub team.

Within this hub, additional posts have been created, including clinical psychologists, assistant psychologists, a joint diversionary panel co-ordinator, a youth housing officer and a child exploitation officer.

F4M also comprises a community & intervention team together with commissioned specialist services including a speech & language therapist and CAMHS practitioners.  

Our community & interventions staff members have a focus on positive activities for young people which can be delivered within communities or as bespoke one-to-one intervention. 

Emergency duty team

There are four of us that provide out-of-hours cover. We are the first point of contact for members of the public and professionals outside of normal office hours. We are responsible for the identification, assessment, and care planning required to meet the needs of children and young people who need an emergency service that cannot wait until the next normal working day.

We assess the situation and determine appropriate courses of action. The aim of the service is to achieve a safe and practical outcome until daytime services are available.


Image of the FAST team

We have eight locality FAST teams based across the county in Lincoln, Louth, Horncastle, Gainsborough, Grantham, Spalding, Boston and North Hykeham. They are responsible for child in need, child protection and court work.

Our teams are led by a team manager who line manages practice supervisors. The practice supervisors in turn, supervise the social workers in the team and social work apprentices. There are four locality heads of service who provide leadership to the locality social work and early help teams.

Outstanding Ofsted

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Lincolnshire continues to provide outstanding services for vulnerable children and their families. Children and families have benefited from leaders prioritising and investing in services, strengthening the range and offer of support. We are one of only six local authorities across England to receive a second consecutive outstanding rating from Ofsted.

The inspectorate hailed the quality of social work as “outstanding”, finding the calibre of child and family assessments “consistently strong”, praising the “excellent practice” with children with disabilities and lauding the trusting relationships practitioners built with families and children in care.

Rating the authority as outstanding for leadership, Ofsted found “visible and approachable” leaders had created an environment in which such high-quality practice could flourish, including by investing in business support to ease practitioners’ workloads and promoting career development. View a copy of  the ofsted report.

Two of our social workers explain the secrets of the county council's success:

Image of Nathan HuftonChildren in Care

Nathan Hufton, an advanced practitioner in the children in care team, says: “It’s really nice to see the work that we’ve been doing being recognised again. We put in the work and we build the relationships and really try our best for every one of our families.”

“Children in care was why I got into social work,” said Nathan. “The young people are just awesome. And for me, it is the fun of just working with teenagers, and building those relationships.” He points to one of the youngest children he works with – a seven-year-old – for whom he successfully secured a foster family.

“We’d done a lot of work around understanding what a foster family was and what families were. In a year, we did the work together – reading ‘The Great Big Book of Families’ – and we saw her level of concentration and reading improve.” Having the right environment, the right foster family and access to therapeutic care are what have helped her to settle and thrive, Nathan adds.

And Nathan believes that Lincolnshire’s robust learning culture, along with training on Signs of Safety and trauma-informed and restorative practices, helps to promote professional curiosity, creating the right environment for high-quality practice.

The Ofsted report praised social workers for the work they did to ensure the views and wishes of children were included in their care plans.

Image of Nathan CattlePraise for child protection practice

As with children in care, Ofsted rated Lincolnshire’s provision for children who need help and protection as outstanding. Inspectors found that the vast majority of decisions at the front door to transfer children to the family assessment and support team (FAST) service for an assessment were “appropriate and timely”.

Nathan Cattle, a social worker in the West Lindsay FAST team, was directly involved in working with Ofsted staff during the inspection. He said inspectors were impressed with the responsive and effective way he dealt with a section 47 child protection enquiry. This involved a young child who had an injury and a parent who was under the influence of alcohol.

Due to its urgency, a safety plan had to be created in a short space of time to support the safety and wellbeing of the child. “I needed to pull everything together as quickly as possible so I did it within my duty week, so I could come up with the safety plan. And the family, so far, are sticking to it. Ofsted seemed impressed with how I managed to pull it together,” he says.

“I love the work that I do and I’m really passionate about this job,” Nathan adds. “And I think that the outstanding [rating] that we got is the validation that we’re definitely doing something right.”

Image of Ofsted outstanding rating


Image of children listening to a woman tell them a story

Alongside making a difference to the lives of families in Lincolnshire, we are sharing best practice and driving innovation as an improvement partner to other authorities.

Partners in Practice

Creating a blueprint for change

By leveraging the experience and expertise of the strongest-performing local authorities in the country, the Partners in Practice programme is creating a blueprint for positive change to UK social care.

We have been trusted with the task of helping transform children’s services. From shaping and demonstrating best practice to actively supporting other authorities, it’s our responsibility to help social work flourish, promote our profession and improve the lives of children and families across the country.

Join our team and you will play an important part in helping make that happen. Whether informing policy reforms from your personal experience or bringing to life best practice on the frontline, the work you do will form part of a reverberation of change across the UK.

That begins with improving the lives of families in Lincolnshire.

Signs of Safety

A collaborative and restorative approach to care

Lincolnshire was an early adopter of Signs of Safety – an innovative, strengths-based, solution-focused approach to working with families created by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards.

Signs of Safety is a practice model that supports practitioners to recognise safety, strengths, risks and harm, and to work with families in a way that recognises, honours and promotes the strengths of the family and their networks and works with them to build safety around their children, whether the children are cared for by their parents, by kinship carers or by other carers outside their family.

With Signs of Safety as the practice model, underpinned by a restorative practice approach, our assessments, plans, supervisions, meetings and panels are framed using the Signs of Safety approach.

We hold regular Signs of Safety training in Lincolnshire and have ‘Signs of Safety leads’ throughout the service to help support new starters who may be less familiar with the approach. Our aim is to continue to develop practice for those who are looking to grow their career here.

Our people

Image of woman in education settingCompassion. Dedication. A drive to make a difference. 

Whether born-and-bred in Lincolnshire or having relocated from somewhere else in the country, straight out of university or decades of experience under their belt, people from all walks of life make up our teams at ˶. 

And every single person that works here is united by a shared ambition to make the lives of children, young people and families better. 

Here is what some of our staff have to say...

Image of Gemma – Home ManagerGemma – Home Manager 

I started as a relief worker in 2001 after I had finished university and I worked at 3 different homes to begin with. This was good as it showed me how all the homes worked and a wide range of children with lots of different needs. I then was employed at one of the homes full time and stayed there for a year but carried on doing relief at the other homes when I could.  

This enabled me to really understand what residential was about and all the skills and knowledge I gained at all the homes was invaluable. I soon realised I had a real passion for this work and the difference I could make to the children’s lives.  

I undertook all the training that I could and took a full taken position at Northolme. From there I was supported by my manager to compete the level 3 and level 4 qualification and the development opportunities were amazing. I worked through the ranks and soon became a level 3. Here I was given more responsibilities and it was the start of my management career. I developed my mentoring and leadership skills whilst in this role and became assistant manager in 2016.  

I had opportunities to partake in new projects for residential and was able to offer new ideas about policies and procedures which were listened too and promoted. I felt like I was a part of something bigger and made a difference to the children’s lives. I worked hard and completed the QCF 5 in leadership and management and was rewarded with the opportunity to manage Northolme which is where I am now. I wouldn’t dream of any other career other than residential, I’ve been here 20 years now and it really is one of the most rewarding jobs you could ask for. 

Kelly - Team Manager 

I started my career with ˶ Children’s services about 15 years ago as a front line worker supporting children and families following a job role in adult offending. I found the job in Children’s Services so rewarding and I knew I had found my calling. I have been in a number of roles in Children’s Services including an Early Help Consultant and a Children’s Centre Leader before joining the Early Help Leadership team. First as a Senior Early Help Worker, then a Practice Supervisor and finally to my role as Team Manager.  

I have been supported to progress through experiencing high quality supportive management and training opportunities through regular supervision and appraisals and my continued professional development has included completing a post graduate course in Leadership and management of social workers. The opportunities, training and development and progression that I have received in all of my roles has been excellent.  

I am passionate about providing supportive practice excellence to my team so that children and families receive the best level of support and outcomes. For anyone looking for a career in Children’s services I feel Early Help is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and develop as a practitioner and is so rewarding. 

Image of Kirsty – Practice SupervisorKirsty – Practice Supervisor, Future4Me 

I started my career with ˶ Children Services when I was 19 years old as a youth worker. I moved into frontline case work as an Early Help Worker, where I discovered I loved and had the energy to work with adolescents. I was supported to get lots of experience and training which supported me progressing into the leadership team as a Senior Early Help Worker where I could support staff to support families. I found this role incredibly fulfilling, and loved getting to share my knowledge whilst learning from an experienced leadership team. 

In 2019, the Future 4 me Team was established, and I was fortunate to get the opportunity to move across to this new team with a primary focus on adolescents. Joining F4M as a SEHW I was supported to develop my understanding and knowledge around youth justice, with excellent in-house and specialist training. I have progressed my career further by being supported to progress into the Practice Supervisor role. 

Anyone who is passionate and committed to working with adolescents I would encourage you to start a career as an Early Help Worker. The role is varied with a diverse and experienced team around you. ˶ offers multiple opportunities to develop your career, whether this is progressing through the leadership team as I am doing, or progressing into other areas of children service such as social care as many of my colleagues have done.  

Support and learning

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In Lincolnshire, we care about our workforce and have a wealth of support in place for you as a social worker. We are constantly reviewing caseloads to ensure they remain manageable and as a Lincolnshire social worker, you can expect to be working with a variety of families and levels of intervention. Our social workers receive case supervision and group supervision sessions are held in all of our teams.


Continuous professional development allows social workers develop and enhance their knowledge and skills to continuously improve practice.

Our children’s services teams have access to practice resources which brings together academic research, practice expertise and the experiences of people accessing services. This information is used to develop a range of resources and learning opportunities, as well as delivering tailored services, expertise and training.


Our 12-month ASYE programme has been developed to consolidate the skills and knowledge that newly qualified social workers have gained from their degree course within their first year in practice.

The programme counts towards the requirement for continuing professional development for social work registration with Social Work England and our programme is reviewed and refreshed on an annual basis to keep it relevant.

 A range of internal and external professionals contribute to the programme and staff receive training around several areas including court skills, understanding service areas, procedures, processes, equality and diversity issues, and many more.

Social workers on our ASYE will receive professional supervision which will be provided by Practice Supervisor and reflective practice sessions are provided by the Practice Advisor. Mentoring is also encouraged as needed, and our ASYE also includes the social worker receiving a learning agreement. The agreement identifies learning and development opportunities, supervision, workload and a personal development plan which focuses on key areas for learning and development in the first year of practice.


In partnership with the University of Lincoln, we run a social work apprenticeship programme. Our current cohort is busy working in their children’s services placements while also studying for their social work degrees. .

Bridging the GAP

Too often, local authorities lose talent because they do not provide the right pathways for career progression. That is why we established Bridging the Gap, a programme to help social workers make the jump from Level 2 to Advanced Practitioners and Practice Supervisor.

Throughout the programme, social workers are given the support and resources they need to enhance their skills. They build a personal development plan and are encouraged to stop, think and reflect on their practice, strengths and motivators, and how they fit with the wider context of our work.

The course culminates in the completion of a project that will outline suggestions for practice improvements in their team, using research, data and reasoning to support their analysis.

The objective at the heart of this project – and all the work completed on Bridging the Gap – is to give our social workers the tools, confidence and knowledge required to take their career to the next level.

Making sure you are happy here

Meaningful change is made over months and years. It’s an ongoing process and that is why we’re proactive about supporting and retaining our staff including reimbursing you for your annual Social Work England registration fee.

We understand career paths are not always linear journeys, which is why we will also support you moving between roles and across teams. Appraisals and regular one-to-ones support your development and your professional interests.

We invest in our people so they can be committed to their work and that is why we retain our staff.

Rewards and benefits

Image of a boy with headphones on singing into a microphone

We offer employees a competitive salary, generous annual leave, pension benefits and pay annual professional fees on behalf of employees.

In additional to these employee benefits, all social workers receive case supervision and group supervision sessions held in all of our teams.

Practitioners can access our online learning management system.

We also offer a range of lifestyle benefits and believe that wellbeing and a good work-life balance are an integral part of our offer. We have a comprehensive set of policies aimed at supporting an employee’s work-life balance. We do that by providing agile working, homeworking and protected CPD time. 

Our wellbeing strategy is structured into priorities, designed to ensure staff members are happy in their roles. These priority areas in employee health and wellness are listed below:

Personal wellbeing and resilience, work demands, change management, employee voice, effective leadership, and positive relationships.

Additional support can be found in the Employed Counselling Service, ˶ Health and Wellbeing Offer and Mental Health First Aid Scheme. .

We offer a range of gym membership options. They include:

  • Deans Gym Offer
  • Active Nation Gym Offer
  • CSSC Leisure Membership
  • Energie Fitness Corporate Offer
  • SimplyHealth

Retention bonus

Children’s services offer a competitive salary and a 15% annual attraction and retention bonus (paid monthly) to our social workers in our FAST Teams.

Social workers in our Children in Care Team and the Fostering Team receive a 7% annual attraction and retention bonus.

We’ll also pay for annual Social Work England registration for our social workers. 

All staff undertaking work related travel using their own vehicle receive reimbursement at 45 pence per mile (up to the tax threshold) and hire cars are available to be used for journeys that exceed 100 miles. We also offer a “green” lease car scheme.