Hello, my name is Sally, I am a Social Worker working with Whitehead-Ross Fostering in Dorset and I am currently seconded to the team to undertake new foster carer assessments for Dorset Council.

I became interested in social work in my 20’s after having my son and I decided to return to college with the aim to work with people in the community. At that time, I was unsure which direction this would take me, so I joined a Certificate and later a Diploma in Welfare studies at the local college to gain some new skills and knowledge. My tutor told me about a team with Dorset Council who were looking for volunteers to take children in care on activities during the school holidays; this sounded like a great idea, I love the outdoors. In this role I had the opportunity to go rock climbing, caving and much more. I really enjoyed working with young people and decided that I would apply to go to university to complete a Diploma in Social work.  During the Diploma at Bournemouth University I undertook two placements, one in an adult mental team and inpatient unit, and one in a children’s residential home. Both I really enjoyed, but it was then I realised that I wanted to work with children, and specifically those who have not had the greatest start in life.

Following qualification, I worked in a Young person substance use team working with young people to reduce harm regarding their substance use and to support detox. This was a challenging and rewarding role.

I decided to return to university alongside work and gained a BA Hons in Children and Families studies. Following this I have worked in a children’s safeguarding for Dorset and with young people leaving care and transitioning to independence. Since 2015 I have worked with Foster carers for Dorset Council.

Working with children and families can be a challenging role, but very rewarding also; I have found that throughout my career learning new skills is crucial to personal and professional development, I recently joined a 2-hour Mindfulness course which was great! 20 years on from qualifying as a Social worker I am still passionate about working with Children in Care; now I ensure that they have the very best start with foster carers that they can be safe with so they can thrive and meet their potential.

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Staff Profile – Social Work in Dorset