The Way We Work


Relational and Restorative Practice

Relational and restorative practice places emphasis on building trusting, meaningful and respectful relationships, as opposed to focusing solely on process or policy. It focusses on working ‘with’ children and families to provide high levels of support and challenge so that they are empowered to be involved in decisions that affect them, and more likely to make positive sustained changes in their lives.

When we work with and alongside people, there is strong evidence to say that outcomes for children and their families are improved.

This approach provides staff with a range of language, behaviours and tools that strengthen their relationships with children, young people and families, empowering them to share responsibility by using a solution-focused approach, which supports positive change.


Our working principles

Our working principles were developed with our staff and children and young people in our care to provide us with principles to define the way we work in Newcastle and guide our decision making. These principles are important to us and are at the heart of all our work. They support and inform our decision making and practice with children, young people and their families.

Child Centred: We are all about supporting children and young people.  Children and young people are our priority. 

Working Together: We work with children, young people and their families to achieve positive change. 

Family Solutions: We value a family’s ability to solve their own problems.  We help families to do this and only intervene when needed. 

Safely at Home: Our aim is to keep children safely at home.  Where this is not possible, we will find somewhere safe for them to live for as long is needed. 

Balanced Response : We manage risk by working together.  We are evidence based and balanced. 

Challenge and Support: We challenge ourselves and support each other.  We welcome challenge and support from others.


Language that Cares

The language that we use with our children and young people is important.  It can empower or stigmatise, and our children and young people tell us that how we use language matters to them.

We have a responsibility to use language that is inclusive, respectful and keeps people rather than their circumstances or status, at its heart.

So, in Newcastle we are working to avoid language that is overly professional, jargonistic and impersonal.  We talk about children in care not looked after children or LAC, brothers and sisters not siblings, family time and not contact and care experienced young people instead of care leavers.


Our Teams

Children’s Social Care Front Door  - Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and Screening - The first point of contact if anyone is worried about a child’s safety or welfare. 

Initial Response Service - The Initial Response Service undertakes Child & Family Assessments and Child Protection Enquiries when children are first referred to Children’s Social Care, as well as providing some short-term support to children in need.

Long Term Social Work Service - Where a child or young person requires longer term support from our service, this is managed by our Long Term Social Work Service.

Children in Care and Care Leavers Service – The Children in Care and Care Leavers Service provide support to children and young people in our care, and those moving on to independence from our care.

Children with Disabilities Team - The Children with Disabilities Team works with children and young people where a disability has a profound impact on them, and their disability impacts on their ability to enjoy, achieve and be safe. The team works at both a statutory and an early help level. and commissions services to support children and young people and care leavers.

Hospital Social Work Team - The Hospital Social Work Team provides support to children (and their families and carers) who need treatment at either the Great North Children’s Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary or Freeman Hospital.   The team works with children, their families and carers to provide emotional and practical support, information and advice at a time that can be stressful.

Multi Systemic Therapy - Multisystemic Therapy (MST) - is a community-based model directed at older children, teenagers and their families. The approach is targeted at those families where the young person is at risk of coming into care or custody and aims to prevent family breakdown, to reduce offending and to improve educational outcomes.

Multisystemic Therapy Child Abuse and Neglect (MST CAN) -  is a home-based intensive treatment for families with children and young people subject to a Child Protection Plan under the category of neglect or physical harm. It is an evidenced based treatment that has been developed to work with families with complex needs, to increase safety and keep children at home.  MST-CAN works to address specific problems and risk factors that brought the family to the attention of Children’s Social Care. The major goals are to keep families together, assure that children are safe, prevent abuse and neglect and reduce mental health difficulties experienced by adults and children and increase natural support networks.

Intensive Family Intervention Team – Our Intensive Family Intervention Team works intensively with families in a time of crisis to help prevent children coming into care.  They also work with Care Teams and foster carers to help maintain and stabilise placements. 

Children’s Safeguarding Standards Unit - Our Children Safeguarding Standards Unit oversees the progress of plans for all children with Child Protection Plans and Children in Care Plans. It also carries out the annual review of foster carers and oversees the commissioning of advocacy and independent visitors’ services. 

Family Time Team – Our Family Time facilitates children and young people spending time with their families.

Family Group Conferencing Team - Our Family Group Conferencing Service  works with families to develop solutions to problems earlier - using the strengths and resources of the family and ensuring their ownership of the problem.

Corporate Parenting – Our Corporate Parenting service is responsible for ensuring children and young people in our care receive loving and high quality care. This includes our Fostering Service which recruits, assesses and supports foster carers in Newcastle to ensure good placement choice and stability, and our Placement Team who ensure children are placed in the best homes to meet their needs. Whilst we are part of the regional adoption agency, Adopt North East, we are still responsible for matching children with adoptive families and agreeing adoption support fund requests.  Our Relatives, Friends and Special Guardianship Team also sits within Fostering and provides advice and support to family and friends carers. 

Residential Team – We run four in-house children’s homes and one short-breaks home.

Newcastle Social Workers