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Great stories from our children and families social work teams


Find out more about the exciting and life changing work of our social work teams supporting children and young people over the last year.

February 2024

This month Durham celebrated Durham Practice Week. Over 700 practitioners, managers and directors attended events. We have received such wonderful feedback about our keynote speaker Nick Barwick and the experience and message he shared with our staff, carers and young people. We have learned so much about how we can come together as a service, and we will bring this learning into future events.

Watch Nick's message for Durham by watching the video at Nick Barwick on Linkedin.

The focus of Practice Week this year was 'permanence and belonging'. We all have a part to play in supporting the children and young people we work with to feel safe, loved and have a plan that means they feel connected and secure with high aspirations for the future and space to heal from trauma and rebuild relationships that may have become fragile. This is how we aspire to practice in Durham, and you can find out more in our practice framework at Durham Children's Services Procedures Manual: resource library.

January 2024

Event to celebrate our care leavers

This month we held an event at County Hall to celebrate our care leavers and reflect on the publication of our Ofsted Focused Visit in November. Thank you to all our young people who presented, performed and attended, and of course to colleagues who helped organise the gathering which included poetry, song, sharing of experiences and cake. We are very proud of this recognition by Ofsted of the quality of the work we do!

Read about what Ofsted had to say about our staff who work with our young people at Ofsted inspection reports for Durham County Council.

December 2023

Grand opening on the Stanley One Point Hub

This month featured the grand opening of the Stanley One Point Hub. This is a safe space for care leavers to talk to Young People Assistants (YPAs) and other workers about questions they may have or any support they feel they need as well as a space to talk with other young people and get involved in workshops like cooking and life skills.

The grand opening included many young people and staff in attendance who supported the launch to see the rooms that are designated for young people that have been painted and decorated by the young people themselves and joined in with Christmas games and a Christmas quiz and lots of food!

Find out what the young people thought about the opening of the hub by watching a video at Facebook: grand opening of Stanley One Point Hub.

November 2023

Recognising social work good practice

In November we praised the great work of a Social Worker Assistant in helping two young people aged six and eight understand their care plan. The two young people were struggling to understand what was happening and what their current and future plan was. They had both been 'matched' to current foster carers but were struggling to understand what everything meant. Laura produced an amazing story that explained their situation but involving animals, further increasing their understanding of who has made the decisions on their behalf and, more importantly, why.

This is the type of initiative that we love to see across the council and what Durham thrives for to make the lives of young people better.

October 2023

National Adoption Week

This month recognises the national celebration of Adoption Week. John Pearce (Corporate Director of Children's Services) spoke internally about the importance of Adoption Week. "National Adoption Week is really important in celebrating all of the wonderful stories and fabulous outcomes we achieve for children and adopters". John goes on to say, "Our starting point when working with children is to try and keep them with their families or extended networks". If this is not possible "adoption is a great way to bring them permanence in a loving family home".

September 2023

Foster with North East launch

In September the region's new fostering support hub, Foster With North East, was launched. Foster with North East is a collaborative partnership between 12 local councils from across the North East of England. Fostering services all across the region are joining forces to recruit much needed prospective foster carers.

Take a look at their new website at Foster with North East.

August 2023

Welcoming our new Social Worker Trainees

Welcoming our new Social Worker Trainees

Welcoming our new Social Worker Trainees

Durham is excited to welcome our 20 Social Work Trainees and our four Lead Practitioners who embark on an innovative and exciting Social Work degree apprenticeship with Durham in the coming weeks. This is a three year apprenticeship and a wonderful route into social work.

July 2023

Young people attend the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ACDS) conference 

Billie Leigh

Billie Leigh

Nine young people who are care experienced were invited by John Pearce (President of the ACDS) to attend the ACDS conference in Manchester in July.

The young people were given a standing ovation as they showed their remarkable 'We are people not problems' film along with a young person reading an inspiring poem. The young people also answered questions from some of the 300 directors who attended.

Standing ovation

Standing ovation at ACDS conference

Conference feedback has been really positive with delegates commenting how moving it was to hear the young people share their experiences of growing up and being a young person in care. The video was a really powerful way for the young people to highlight how they have overcome and dealt with the stigma and labels that society place on children in care, and it was great to hear about the support they have received to help them move on from the challenges they have encountered.

Huge thanks to Lee Peacock, Laura Armstrong, Holli Meadows and Rachel Harris for their support in this.

June 2023

MBE for children's social care manager

A care worker who has played a key role in supporting vulnerable children and young people in County Durham has been awarded an MBE in the King's Birthday Honours.

Selwyn Morgans worked in children's social care for more than 20 years before recently retiring. The last seven years of his career were spent as manager of our Aycliffe Secure Centre, which provides a secure and caring home for vulnerable young people with complex needs between the ages of 10 and 18 years old. Read more at MBE for children's social care manager.

May 2023

Celebrations for our Step Up to Social Work 2023 graduates

Huge congratulations to our step up to social work graduates 2023 who celebrated completion of their course this week and will be graduating in July at Manchester Metropolitan University. The group are joining us as Newly Qualified Social Workers as they are become registered with Social Work England. 

Step Up to Social Work is a national scheme funded by the Department for Education. It is run by a regional partnership of all the local councils in the North East and Manchester Metropolitan University. The programme provides a unique opportunity to receive support whilst training to start a new career in social work. If you are thinking about a career in social work, you can find out more at Step up to social work.

April 2023

John Pearce becomes president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) 2023/24

John Pearce, our Corporate Director of Children and Young People Services has begun a year long presidency with the Association of Directors of Children's Services. Find out why John thinks children's mental health is the biggest priority in an article ADCS president: Children’s mental health completely overwhelmed by Local Government Association.