Children’s community social work


  • Gateway

    Gateway is the first point of contact for all new referrals to children’s social work. It is responsible for:

    • linking with children and families to assess needs and identify appropriate support services
    • responding quickly to safeguard children in need of protection
    • ensuring that everyone involved with a child can contribute to the assessment
    • working closely with other agencies when additional support is needed
  • Family support service and intensive adolescent support

    The family support service is a social work service for children and their families / carers. The service provides:

    • case planning and pathway assessments for children in need
    • ongoing child protection pathway assessments and investigations of children on the Child Protection Register
    • interventions (including legal) to help children who require safeguarding intervention and who become looked after
    • kinship assessment for short-term / care placements

    We also have an intensive adolescent service for young people aged 13 years and above who are at increased risk of significant harm and engage in risk-taking behaviours.

  • Fostering and kinship social work

    We provide a comprehensive fostering and kinship service to meet the needs of children who are unable to live with their birth parents. We recruit, train, assess and support foster carers and kinship carers.

  • Early years and early intervention service

    The Early Years Team is responsible for registering, inspecting, monitoring and supporting day care and childminding services for children up to the age of 12.

    The Early Intervention Team works with community and voluntary partners to build capacity for a variety of targeted, early intervention family support services.

  • Looked after children’s service

    The looked after children (LAC) service has statutory responsibility for looked after children aged up to 18 years.

    The LAC service:

    • promotes contact with family members and significant people in the child’s life
    • develops care plans ranging from rehabilitation to adoption
    • promotes the positive outcomes of children who become looked after
  • Peripatetic social work

    Peripatetic social workers move from team to team across Gateway, family support and looked after children. They help ease the pressure on teams due to maternity leave, long-term sickness and secondments.

    Placements vary in length, but you usually join a team for six months or longer. This offers a great opportunity to gain experience across the field of social work.

  • Leaving and after care

    Leaving and after care is a statutory service for young people aged 16 to 21 years who are, or who have been, looked after by Belfast Trust. This service extends to those aged up to 24 years and in full-time education.

  • Children with disabilities

    The children with disabilities community social work teams support families to:

    • meet the needs of children with disabilities
    • meet their own needs as a family to have a balance between caring responsibilities and normal family life

    These teams fulfil the role and functions of the Gateway, family support and looked after children services for children with disabilities.

  • Residential social work

    Residential social workers provide individual care and help create a happy, safe and stimulating environment for young people who live at a children’s home. This involves personal, emotional and social support.

    The social worker:

    • provides sporting, creative and leisure activities
    • sets boundaries for behaviour
    • ensures the children are safe
    • acts as a good role model