What makes a good social worker? – the director’s cut

Last edition the Youth Advisors asked some young people, a youth support worker and a social worker, ‘What qualities make a good social worker for children and young people in care?’ This time it is the turn of the Families SA Executive Director.

A good social worker must:

  • have the appropriate qualifications. They will have studied, can show that they have thought about the theory and understand the link between theory and practice and have an ability to apply the learning and skills.
  • have the right personal qualities. They must have passion, believe in what they do, believe they can make a difference and want to work with children and young people in care.
  • have a good work ethic.
  • be robust and grounded with good coping skills, and a good life/work balance in their own lives.
  • be a good listener who is able to listen with empathy and understand the individual they are working with.
  • be a problem solver and be organised and methodical. • have the necessary skills for their work duties such as client work, whether working with children or adults, presentations (for example in court) or case planning.
  • have a sense of fun. They must be energised and have ways of looking after themselves.
  • work within a team and cooperate well.
  • have a commitment to ongoing learning, reflective practice and continuous improvement.
  • have integrity and honesty, recognising the power imbalance between them and their clients and not taking advantage of it or of a disempowered young person.

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