The Minister was able to spend time learning about how social workers support older people, children and young people to live independently as well as meeting service users to hear personally how the service they receive benefits them.
She commented: “Social workers play an invaluable role in our communities and I was very keen to learn more about the work they do. I was fortunate to have experienced this first hand today and to see the positive impact they are making to people’s lives in the community here.
“I have already stated that the way we design and deliver our services need to change. Improving and Safeguarding Social Wellbeing: A Strategy for Social Work was published in 2012 and is the first ever strategy for social work in the north. The aim of the strategy is to strengthen social work as a means of improving the outcomes and experiences of the people social workers support day and daily."
The Minister continued: “My vision for the transformation of the Health and Social Care system in the north reflects both the priorities and focus of the strategy. We are strengthening the links of social work with social wellbeing and we are putting improvement at the heart of social work and social care. I want to support every social worker in working towards continuously improving people’s lives to achieve better outcomes.”
Marie Roulston, Executive Director for Social Work for the Northern Trust, said: “Social workers provide a very valuable role within the Trust supporting people of all ages and demographics in order that they are protected and supported to live life to their full potential. Staff were delighted to have the opportunity to describe to the Minister the value of their work and the difference that they can make to people’s lives. I would like to thank Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers for facilitating this visit as it helps to increase understanding of the varied role social workers undertake."
The event was run in partnership by the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (NIASW) and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.