“A leadership role while working directly with families”

The newest service manager at one of our family residential assessment centres talks about what it’s like working at St Michael’s.

Kate Hopkins has been a social worker for 8 years in South London working for both Croydon and Lambeth councils. She had worked with a social worker who had said how much they enjoyed working here and so when the job came up she applied. 

What do you enjoy most about working for St Michael’s Fellowship?
As a Social Work manager, it can be hard to find a post that allows you to take a leadership role whilst still working directly with families. This is exactly what being a service manager for St Michael’s Fellowship has allowed me to do. I have lots of autonomy in the role to build the culture I and my team want within the centre. As well as lots of practice and training opportunities to continue to develop in my work with families. The deputy manager and team are great and we all share the same values of working together with families, giving parents a chance that they may not otherwise have had whilst keeping the children at the centre of our work. 

What’s been your biggest highlight so far?
One of my biggest highlights so far has been working with a first-time, young mother who has a learning disability and has been in care herself. Despite the doubts of the professional network, we have been able to support her in a way that has developed her confidence and independence in caring for her young baby. Our holistic assessment methods have allowed us to evidence this. 

What are the biggest challenges you face day-to-day? 
As this role is so varied it can be challenging to manage the day-to-day running of the centre with preparing assessments and reports for court but this also makes it interesting. The nature of the work means that there will always be different challenges depending on the families who are living at the centre and we are constantly learning different ways to manage these. SMF and the management team are very supportive. 

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