Supporting the person through the system

Social workers need to understand local systems and services, and support young people and families to find what they need from those systems.

Challenges we face

We have put the interests of a system that is no longer fit for purpose above the interests of the people it is supposed to serve. The system is fragmented, confusing, sometimes frightening and desperately difficult to navigate.

Professor Steve Field, ‘From the pond into the sea: children’s transition to adult health services’, CQC 2014

Making it better

The role of social workers as aspirational and committed champions for young people going through transition is vital in engaging all of those multi-agency professionals involved in an individual’s care and support in order to develop joined-up, effective and person-centred plans that lead to positive outcomes.

Caroline Bennett, ‘21st century social work with children and young people with disabilities (Research in Practice, 2018)

Top tips

  1. Learn about the community resources that can benefit the people you support.
  2. Develop an understanding of local social care, health and education systems, and get to know the organisations providing support in these areas.
  3. Work alongside, understand and support colleagues in other disciplines.
  4. Recognise that you cannot advocate for and support someone you do not know well. Get to know the people with whom you are working.
  5. Get to know the families with whom you are working, addressing their concerns and supporting their aspirations for the young person.
  6. Develop the skills to coordinate and lead multi-agency groups, working together to support young people.
  7. Develop the skills to be a part of such teams, when other professionals are taking the lead.

Resources: guidance and tools



Preparing for adulthood: The role of social workers
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