New Short Film Highlights The Vital Contribution Of Social Workers

The Department of Health have unveiled a short film, highlighting the contribution of social workers in making a difference to the lives of children and families.

'Changing Lives – the Vital Role of Social Workers in Children's Services in Northern Ireland' was commissioned to highlight the value of social work and help promote it as a rewarding career choice.

The film gives a behind-the-scenes look at the role social workers play in helping children, young people and their families when they are going through difficult times, and follows a day in the life of five social workers from across each of Northern Ireland's five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts.

Aine Morrison, Chief Social Worker, said she hopes the powerful short documentary inspires and motivates more people to consider social work as a career choice.

She continued: "While social work can be a difficult job at times, it is also hugely rewarding.

"Social workers often make such a positive impact on the families and communities they work with, but there are also many misconceptions about social work, which can make it more difficult to attract people to the role.

"This short film highlights some of the many skills social workers have and provides some insight into the benefits of good social work practice."

The film highlights the breadth of support provided by social workers to children and their families. It also hears testimonies from young people about how that support has created new opportunities they may not otherwise have had.

The film is a collaboration between the Department of Health, the Trusts and the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC). It was shown for the first time at an event on Friday in the South West College in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, attended by about 100 people.

Kathryn is a social worker within the Gateway Team in the Northern Trust. Her early exposure to social work led her to making a career for herself in the profession.

She said: "I have always had social workers in and out of my family as my mum was a foster carer for 10 years.

"This documentary is a great opportunity to celebrate the social work profession and show what it is really like working in social work within children and young people's service."

It is hoped that the film will not only promote social work as a rewarding career of choice, but help counter the significant challenges around recruiting and retaining social workers in Northern Ireland.

"There are many challenges within the social work profession," Aine Morrison added.

"We have seen a significant increase in demand for services, particularly as families and communities adjust to the post-COVID environment.

"In recent years there has also been a large number of vacancies, especially in HSC children's services. That is a challenge that we in the Department of Health are committed to try to resolve."

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