How we work in children's social care

We have recently introduced a completely new way of working in our children's teams. This is already delivering improved outcomes for our most vulnerable children and their families, despite the recent challenges of the pandemic. Our social workers are loving it too, as well the managed caseloads that make such a difference to their workloads across the Service.

"The Strengthening Families, Protecting Children" - Family Safeguarding approach improves outcomes for vulnerable children and young people by involving multi-disciplinary teams in children’s social care. Cambridgeshire is one of six local authorities delivering this model of social care and was allocated £4.1m in 2019 to be a trailblazer authority for the scheme.

Children who face the greatest risk to their wellbeing are often those who live in families where at least one of the adults is struggling with mental or emotional health issues, substance or alcohol difficulties, or where there is domestic abuse. Under the Family Safeguarding approach, children’s social work teams are expanded to include adult practitioners who are experts at supporting parents to address these challenges.

Family Safeguarding has three core elements:

  1. Multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs): specialist adult workers with domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health expertise working within children's social work teams. Group case supervisions are held with all workers allocated to a case.
  2. Motivational Interviewing (MI): MI supports families in dealing with a variety of mental health, substance misuse and domestic violence issues; planning and connecting them with the resources they need to achieve such change and helping them to find their own personal motivation for positive change.
  3. Structured Workbook: a new method of recording case notes with the aim of improving information sharing, streamlining processes and reducing the amount of time spent reporting.
"We hope to continue this journey and continue to improve the lives of the children and families within our communities." Lou Williams, Director of Children's Services. "Putting specialist together in a sustained way to help a family solve its wider problems has been key to this approach and ultimately what keeps a child safe within their own family" - Assistant Directory for Children's Social Care Nicola Curley.

What Works Evaluation of the implementation of Family Safeguarding in Cambridgeshire

A 7-month study into the implementation of the Family Safeguarding pilot in Cambridgeshire published in June, highlighted that 60 per cent fewer children were subject to care proceedings due to the new approach allowing children to stay safely with their families.

And now as a result of the findings, recommendations are being made for other local authorities considering the family safeguarding approach, based on what worked well in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire’s way of working has also been shown to improve best practice, with staff able to provide more targeted support at the right place and time and spending more time with families instead of having time taken up dealing with the legal aspects of care proceedings.

A recent report into the Cambridgeshire Family Safeguarding model found that:

88% Agreed that motivational interviewing is an effective way to improve outcomes for families, 74% felt that leadership and management kept them well informed about changes affecting their work and 78% expect to remain with Children's safeguarding in Cambridgeshire for the next year.

The publication can be read in full on the What Works in Children's Social Care website.

If you like the sound of moving to an authority where social workers are truly valued and challenged, please apply below or get in touch with us today by calling Beth on 01223 475920 or emailing

Our Teams

We currently have openings in a range of teams across both  Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council.

Our Assessment Teams which are based throughout Cambridgeshire are fast paced, lively and interesting. The Assessment Team would suit Social Workers who are proactive and adaptable, and who have a passion for ensuring that Children and Families in our area receive a positive first experience of our service. The Teams complete Section 17 Child and Family Assessments and carry out S47 investigations, with cases transferring at initial Child in Need meeting or Child Protection Conference. The work is immensely rich and varied day-to-day and allows for a high level of multi-agency working often to tight timelines. As well as Social Workers, each Assessment Team has a Team Manager, Senior Practitioners and Children’s Advice and Information Officers.

The Teams would welcome positive, friendly, practical people from a diverse range of backgrounds to join us and thrive in this exciting and rewarding setting.

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Family Safeguarding is the practice model in Cambridgeshire and we have recently secured a £4.15million investment from the Department for Education. This model has received much positive national coverage and the recognition of the Department for Education as it creates a whole family approach. We are currently building our teams to support the innovative multi-disciplinary model.

The Teams manage complex caseloads of Child in Need, Children in need of Protection, Public Law Outline and care proceedings, focusing on children up to 12. They will all use a Motivational Interviewing approach where workers will act in partnership with children and their families to achieve sustainable change and improved outcomes for children. They are supported in this by a multi-disciplinary team that includes adult mental health workers, drug and alcohol recovery workers, and adult domestic abuse workers, and a bespoke intervention model. This is an exciting and creative time to work in these teams, and we would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce.

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This team brings together services for young people including those who are homeless, experience mental ill health, family breakdown and are vulnerable to exploitation including criminal and sexual exploitation. It tends to work with young people over the age of 13. The team follows the ‘single trusted adult principle’, which means they provide staff to young people from within the service, so that they can remain under their care through all the various processes involved in Complex Safeguarding and Child Protection. The team is made up of social workers and alternatively qualified staff, who work together to achieve positive well-being and safety for adolescents across the area. The team has bases in Ely and Wisbech and would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance their workforce.

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These teams work with children of all ages that are in care. They may be finding adoptive placements for them, or supporting long term fostering plans. There will also be some complex young people in residential care, and a group that we are supporting to return home to family members. Workers will need to have excellent skills in direct work with children and young people, and be committed to robust and timely permanence planning for all these children. We are highly aspirational for our children in care, and would expect workers to promote good health, educational achievement and developing positive relationships as the key foundations to a successful future. Teams consist of a Team Manager, Senior Practitioner, Social Workers and Personal Advisor. We would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce, and continue the work to promote positive outcomes for young people. These teams are located in Wisbech, Huntingdon and Ely.

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The teams work with young people aged between 18-25, who have previously been in local authority care. The teams are supportive and committed to providing positive outcomes and are strong advocates for our young people. Workers hold a caseload of young people with differing levels of need and support in terms of housing, education, emotional and mental health and budgeting. Good quality Pathway Plans are key to the achievement of the ambitious plans we have for our young people, and these are completed in full partnership with the young person concerned. The teams include a Team Manager, Senior Practitioner, Social Workers and Personal Advisors, and are based in Ely and Huntingdon. We would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce.

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The Unaccompanied Care Team supports Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASCs) that enter the UK and arrive in Cambridgeshire or that are part of the National Transfer Scheme. We work with Children in Care and Care Leavers between the ages of 14 and 24 years, and are committed to treating these young people as children first and asylum seekers second, regardless of their immigration status. The main aim of our team is to ensure that these young people are given the opportunity to settle and grow within the UK, given the space to begin to recover from the trauma that they have experienced, and ensure they are able to access services such as health and education.

The Team has two bases in Wisbech and Cambridge. The team consists of a Team Manager, a Senior Practitioner, Social Workers and Personal Advisors. Our Team wants social workers who are passionate about supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children who are often the most vulnerable young people within the UK. We want social workers who are empathetic and sensitive in their approach, whilst being committed to achieving positive outcomes for the young people. We would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce.

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The team supports disabled children across the county, ensuring that the statutory duties and responsibilities of social care are met within legislative frameworks. This includes Assessments, Reviews, Planning, Child Protection and Safeguarding. All support and services provided are understood within the family’s natural and community resources. The service is made up of five social work teams, of which one team specifically meets the needs of eligible Disabled or Autistic (with EHCP) young people between the ages of 18-25. Each team is made up of a Team Manager, Senior Practitioners, Social Workers and Child Practitioners (for the 0-18 service). The team has bases in Cambridge, Huntingdon, St Ives and Wisbech. We would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce.

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The Fostering service provides a range of fostering placement options. This includes short term, long term, respite, supported lodgings, short breaks for disabled children, kinship and connected persons as well as Special Guardianship placements. We also approve and oversee Private Fostering Placements as well as provide PACE foster care to support young people who have been arrested and processed by the police.

The fostering service approves foster carers to look after children aged 0-18 years. Many of the children placed have experienced difficulties including abuse or neglect before being fostered. Some children and young people present with very challenging behaviour, special needs or complex health conditions. We do this by assessing, registering, supervising, supporting and training a wide range of carers with a range of skills to offer the diverse placements needed by Cambridgeshire’s Children in Care.

This is a really exciting time to join the service as we are continuing to develop and grow our service and to aspire to providing excellent fostering provision to Cambridgeshire children and an excellent and competitive offer to our valued foster carers. We would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce.

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As part of the government changes to improve the adoption process they have asked local authorities and Voluntary Adoption Agencies working in the same areas to join together to form Regional Adoption Agencies (RAA). The Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) which is a joint venture between Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, brings together the very best talent, experience and energy to increase the number of adopters across the county and give children loving & stable families.

The Regional Adoption Agency provides a range of services to children and their families including children who are requiring an adoptive placement, supporting those caring for children in a permanent placement as well as the birth families for those children who are placed for adoption.

There are three teams within the RAA; Recruitment & Assessment, Family Finding and the Adoption & Special Guardianship Support Teams, all of which offer varied and satisfying work with children and their permanent placements.

The RAA welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce.

The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub is based at Chord Park in Godmanchester, and sits as part of the Integrated Front Door Services, which includes the Out of Hours service, the Missing, Exploited and Trafficked Hub (MET HUB) and the Early Help Hub. It works across both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Authorities.

The team undertakes MASH enquiries on referrals concerning children and their families, to establish whether the threshold is met for statutory intervention or whether early help is a more appropriate intervention. As a social worker in MASH you would lead on the MASH enquiry supporting the Advice and Information Officers and collating the multi- agency information to complete an analysis and recommendation as to what level of intervention is required. The team is made up of Team Managers, senior practitioners, qualified social workers and Children Information and Advice Officers. If you like to build up rapport with families to better understand their needs, enjoy working in a multi- agency environment gathering and analysing information and are motivated and passionate about considering the impact on the child’s lived experience then the MASH is the place for you. We would welcome applications from a diverse range of workers to enhance our existing workforce.

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