Hertfordshire Social Worker recognised for work with children and young people in care

Published: 02 Aug 2018

Today (Thursday 2 August) we hosted the Young People’s Awards at Hertford Castle, the award ceremony is held annually and gives children and young people who live in care an opportunity to thank the professionals who have helped and supported them.

Organised by The Children in Care Council (CHICC), young people in care nominated social workers, carers and other children’s services professionals for the awards and all winners and runners up were judged and decided by them.

CHICC is run by and for young people in care and care leavers in Hertfordshire; they listen to the views of young people and aim to improve the experience of being in care. They also help young people in care to meet other young people in similar circumstances and arrange events and activities throughout year where they can meet up, talk to each other and have some fun.

Catherine Hodgkinson is a Family Safeguarding Social Worker based in Hertford; she works with young people in care across East Hertfordshire. She was nominated for the Social Worker of the Year award by a Alex* aged 8 who she has supported, Alex said:

“I think my social worker should get this award because she helps us a lot by giving us information about where we are going to live. When she comes round she plays hide and seek with us, even though she is rubbish!”

“Catherine lets us talk when no one else is there so we can say stuff we are worried about. Even though she took us away from our mum she brought us somewhere safe. She is just doing her best to help us, that’s what I say about her. She is not scary and she is helping us to live with our carer and she will be visiting us for a whole year after we move, to make sure we are still safe and happy”

Catherine came through Hertfordshire County Council’s Social Worker Academy in September 2015 and has now been working in the Family Safeguarding team since March 2016, she said;

“I was absolutely delighted to be nominated and to know that the nomination had come directly from one of the children I had been able to support was really special. It was a real surprise.”

“Alex* very much ended up where he wanted to be, his views were listened to and taken into consideration and that has helped him to grow in confidence. Its been so rewarding to see his journey and to watch a guarded little boy whose behaviour was once very defensive come full circle; for him to now be in a position where he has been able to nominate me for this award from the place we started in, is just amazing and I am genuinely touched.”

Winners and runners up were presented with their awards by Teresa Heritage, Executive Member for Children’s Services at Hertfordshire County Council, she said; 

“I’m delighted that so many children and young people in care have taken the time to thank the dedicated social workers, carers and other professionals who have supported them through their transitions and some difficult times.”

“Our social workers have a very challenging role and so to receive this recognition from the young people they are supporting is invaluable. Personally, I cannot thank our staff enough for all their hard work in achieving the best possible outcome for these young people."

For more information about the CHICC visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/chicc

*Any children and young people mentioned in this story have had their names changed to protect their identities