Social Work Student Placements

There are two separate and very different placement experiences available at the New Futures Project. Both placements although based within a voluntary setting, are considered to be a statutory placement due to the nature of the work undertaken.

Adult Placement
An excellent opportunity to work with adult women involved in prostitution within a voluntary, community setting. Students placed within the adult team will take part in outreach to hostels, prisons and indoor sex establishments, students will be expected to participate in some evening outreach sessions to the street area associated with prostitution. Students placed in the adult team will be responsible for a caseload of women involved in street prostitution but due to the chaotic lifestyles of the women the project supports, most casework is specific with women tending to engage only during periods of crisis. All students will complete an assessment for each of their cases within 28 days of allocation. This is a holistic assessment exploring all vulnerability factors focusing on those specific to prostitution and includes a lone working risk assessment. Students will then be expected to complete a report and work plan centered on this assessment; making theory and evidence based recommendations. If this assessment raises safe guarding concerns the student would then complete our adult safeguarding risk assessment. Students working in the adult team will gain a sophisticated understanding of risk, will gain excellent experience of crisis work and will understand the impact of multiple and related forms of oppression on a marginalised and socially excluded service user group. Throughout the placement students will apply their understanding of legal frameworks relevant for social work.

Young People’s Placement

Students placed within the young people’s team are allocated a small caseload of six to eight young people, referred to the project through various social work teams within Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland as being at risk of or currently involved in sexual exploitation. Students placed within the young people’s team will experience working with young people receiving social work involvement under statutory legislation including Section 17 and 47 and Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and 2004. Students will also be required to participate in street outreach sessions and to deliver workshops as part of their placement.
All students will complete an assessment for each of their cases within 28 days of allocation. This is a holistic assessment all vulnerability factors, focusing on those specific to CSE and includes a lone working risk assessment. Students will then be expected to complete a report and work plan centred on this assessment; making theory and evidence based recommendations. The assessment will follow the Common Assessment Framework guidelines alongside the CSE risk assessment which is line with The Local Safeguarding Childrens Board guidelines.
Students will be expected to follow Child Protection protocols in order to effectively safeguard young people at risk of CSE.

Students placed within the young people’s team will develop invaluable understanding and experience of identifying and managing risk, working within multi disciplinary teams, causative factors of CSE, effective interventions and legislation relating to children and young people.

The Youth Offending Service has relied heavily on the expertise of The New Futures project for support, advice and guidance with these young people. Furthermore, as The New Futures Project is currently the only specialised service within Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland that can provide support to young people who are at risk of or involved within Child Sexual Exploitation, the Youth Offending Service places a high demand on New Futures services.
I have worked with young people who are at risk of or involved within Child Sexual Exploitation and believe that due to the extensive support and flexible working, that many other agencies are unable to provide, The New Futures Project has enabled young people to achieve positive outcomes. These include college placements, improved family relationships, increased self esteem, stable accommodation, reducing their risk of offending and a young person has recently become a peer mentor for the Youth Offending Service.

Student Learning Support and Supervision

All students undertaking placements at the New Futures Project are expected to attend and participate fully in a programme of training sessions, workshops, tutorials and supervision sessions designed to inform and support their practice within this field of social work. Students are expected to keep a log of all professional development and supervision sessions which will form part of the curriculum portfolio.
Professional Development Sessions
Students attend weekly formal training sessions delivered by either the project’s in house trainer or by professionals from agencies whose work complements the work of the project. The sessions are held on Wednesday afternoons from 1pm until 3pm. Sessions delivered by our own trainer include comprehensive training around CSE and Prostitution. Some of the external contributors to the training program include specialist midwives, workers from drug and alcohol teams, First Step, Leicestershire Aids Support Services, Trade and a Community Nurse.
Placement Progression Supervision Sessions
In addition to the sessions outlined, It is expected that students will book fortnightly formal supervision sessions with their practice assessor so that progress is monitored and the student is fully supported and happy in placement. The sessions will usually include practice guidance; additional clarification and explanation of any practice or curriculum issues, support with any welfare issues and to provide any encouragement and support necessary to ensure the student placement experience is the best it can be for all parties. These sessions are a good opportunity to share feedback on the students practice. It is during these sessions that students can gain support and advice around their practice curriculum.

Case Supervision

All students will be allocated to a case manager and will be closely supervised on their cases. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they receive case supervision on a monthly basis at a minimum for each of their cases and this must be signed off by the case manager. Due to the challenging nature of the work, we encourage students to seek support from their case managers whenever they need to, on a formal or informal basis, to enrich and develop their knowledge, skills and values in practice.

Theory to Practice Sessions

Students attend a ‘Theory to Practice’ session once a week on Thursday afternoons from 1pm to 3pm. These sessions are designed to support students in applying and understanding theoretical frameworks to their practice. Students are asked to present cases and these are used to demonstrate the application of different social work theories. Students are encouraged to consider how to apply appropriate knowledge, skills, legislation, policy and values including anti discriminatory practice to their own practice.
Discussions of current events of relevance to the client group are also used to raise awareness of the wider impact of sexual exploitation. Students are encouraged to research and discuss relevant topics in relation to sexual exploitation and as a result critically discuss the social work role. Recent high profile cases discussed have included the Philpotts, Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall .Students have been involved in developing presentations, participating in group debates and critically analyzing relevant social work news. These group sessions also include discussions about boundaries and values and include exercises which facilitate discussion and develop deeper understanding.

Curriculum Tutorials

Group tutorials are held regularly to assist students with particular aspects of their academic work associated with their placement. Topics include law and evidence based practice, reflective evaluation and practice case studies.

Case Work Administration

Recording is an integral part of the New Futures Project. It forms an essential element for the gathering of information, analysis and decision making and a means by which staff can justify, explain and be accountable for their actions.
The importance of good, accurate case recording is outlined in the guiding principles of ‘Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation (Working Together to Safeguard Children, (2006))’.
As a voluntary organisation committed to good practice, our ethos is to promote excellent casework administration. We have introduced a system which reflects the statutory experience by working within a framework which introduces key administrative tools to effectively support service users.
Within the young people’s team, our casework forms are modelled and designed to meet the Every Child Matters outcomes. Students on placement are expected to complete a thorough assessment of needs in line with The Common Assessment Framework (CAF). This offers a basis for early identification of the young person’s needs, forming the foundation of a support plan to target intervention with an overarching aim to reduce risk of CSE. An integral part of the monitoring and recording system within the young people’s team is ensuring that a detailed report is sent to the allocated social worker each month specifying work undertaken with the young person, alongside CSE concerns, number of sessions attended and future expectations.
Students placed within the adult team are expected to complete shared outcome based assessments that promote personalisation and include outcomes identified in Putting People First (2007) embedding the principles of personalisation into all aspects of the agencies casework. The assessments require students to consider if a person is vulnerable as defined by No Secrets (2000) and identify if a referral for a Community Care Assessment would be appropriate.
Alongside an assessment of needs and vulnerabilities, students are expected to complete risk assessments. They are also required to complete and keep up to date, contact episode sheets, monitoring forms, case notes and chronologies, evaluating the direct work they undertake with service users to further develop their social work skills.
Students will be closely supervised by their appointed case managers and undertake a monthly review of all cases, alongside formal and informal supervision. This ensures the needs of the service user are being addressed as well as the student receiving knowledge and guidance to apply in their own social work practice.