Supervising Social Worker, fostering and children’s placements, Looked after children
I’ve been a social worker for 12 years and am currently a supervising social worker in the fostering team. I’ve been in Croydon about three years – spending my first year as a locum before applying for a permanent position in the fostering team.
Becoming permanent has given me more stability and I’ve been able to grow and develop my skills. I enjoy the variety, for example I help train foster carers and am involved in consultation work. I’m hoping I’ll have the opportunity to train a student soon.
I like the fact that my work is flexible. I have my own freedom but I am supported when needed. This flexibility has helped me a lot because I have young children. I am able to leave early to pick up my children and work from home using my laptop if required.
Dean De La Cruz
Advanced social worker, permanence 1, Looked after children
I qualified in 1997 and have been with Croydon since 2015. I’ve been very happy working for the council. There is an excellent management structure, a good service manager and I have good relationships with my colleagues and the other professionals that I work with, such as foster carers.
I grew up in south London and have had a brief episode of being a looked after child myself because I lost my parents when I was younger. So I know what it’s like to be on that side of the counter and to understand it from a child’s prospective. What motivates me to do this work is because of my own personal experiences.
Advanced social worker, Permanence 1, Looked after children
I work with children who have no families in this country. They come often to the home office and ask for asylum and the home office then will send them to us.
The children often have language barriers and we need to coordinate their support and meet with them regularly to understand their needs. We provide them with shelter in our well established fostering system. They get a carer who helps them to register with the local GP, dentist and optician and we also enrol them in the local schools or colleges. Croydon Virtual School runs an interim provision for new arrivals to the country, without a school place, which provides English, maths, science ICT and sports lessons, until an appropriate school place is secured.
Because Croydon is where the home office is we gain a lot of experience that we can’t get anywhere else.
Advanced social worker, Care planning
I have recently taken career progression and I am now an advanced social worker. I have only been able to do that because of the huge variety of work and cases I have had, and the training and support that has been available to me.
When I was doing my ASYE here, I was very well supported. I had group time with an AYSE person and new theory and practical ways of working were introduced to me. Currently I have group supervision within my team. In addition to that I have personal supervision with my manager.
I would say working for Croydon is really a very good idea and I am very happy here. I work in a very supportive team and even outside of my own initial unit of six people there is a lot of support from other members – there is support from managers, even the manager above that I would feel comfortable to go to if I needed support with anything.
Consultant Practitioner, Looked After Children’s and Resources
What attracted me to work in Croydon, was the easy access to get to work it’s got good transport links tram, bus stops and trains and buses.
I have progressed extremely well since working for Croydon, I started out as a leaving care and independents worker which was a unqualified social worker and Croydon seconded me to do my social work degree from there I progressed to become a senior social worker and I am now a consultant practitioner.
I have done a number of different things over the years in Croydon and I have been extremely supported by a number of managers that saw potential in me and have encouraged me and pushed me in the right direction and are very proud of my achievements so far.
Social Worker, Looked After Children and Resources
I started up on the ASYE programme at Croydon and then I progressed on to becoming a social worker. I do really like it, I mean I like the team that I work in – they’re very supportive and it feels like a family so I think that’s really helpful.
Croydon’s quite an interesting place to live actually, I think it’s quite nice because it’s close to London but it’s a bit far away as well. And you’ve got good transport links to central London and to the airport. Even for just working around with your cases as well in and around London
I think it’s also nice about the environment that we work in here, it’s quite an open office where you feel free to go up to your managers if you’ve got any questions or if you are stuck with anything