This is a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Roles in child and family social work

Find out about different roles in child and family social work, what they involve and the skills and qualifications you’ll need.


Newly qualified social workers are social workers in their first year of practice. They may get extra support through the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) programme.

Child and family social workers provide assessments, interventions and support to ensure the well-being and safety of children and families.

Experienced practitioners

Senior practitioners manage complex cases, provide quality assurance and support less experienced social workers.

Practice supervisors support the practice and decision-making of social workers and develop their skills as individuals and teams.


Practice development managers lead the development of social work teams to promote and support evidence-based best practice.

Quality improvement managers analyse the performance of social workers, teams and processes to ensure the delivery of high-quality social care.

Team managers Lead, develop and support a team of social workers to ensure positive outcomes for children and families.

Independent reviewing officers oversee and review care plans to ensure local authorities are acting in the best interests of children.

Senior managers

Principal social workers support social work teams, provide quality assurance and contribute to strategic leadership.

Service managers oversee the performance and quality of practice of multiple teams of social workers across a service area.

Heads of service oversee the day-to-day operations of services, manage staff and work closely with other agencies to promote best practice in social work.


Assistant directors oversee the strategic development, management, and delivery of services that support and protect children and families.

Directors of children’s services lead, manage and take overall responsibility for the delivery of high-quality social care in their local authority.