Vacancy Detail

Social Worker - Family Focused Fostering

Keenan Recruitment is delighted to be recruiting for a Qualified Social Worker for the “Step Up Step Down - Family focused fostering” in partnership with The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust


What is “Step up, Step Down”?

The  ‘Step Up, Step Down’ project aims to prevent children, who are on the periphery of the care system, from being taken into care and instead support them to stay within their own homes. The project operates within the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) area. This project is underpinned by the policy intent in “Our Children and Young People, Our Pledge”, “Care Matters”, the Child Poverty strategy and “Families Matter” and as such reflects the drive towards prevention and support to help keep vulnerable families together.


What problems are we seeking to address?

The project was specifically designed to reduce the increasingly high number of children in Northern Ireland who do not live with their birth families by embedding childcare knowledge within families at risk of their child/ren coming into the care system.  The evidence clearly shows that statutory services alone are not enable these families to engage given their distrust of statutory services and this innovative approach using foster carers will enable carers to “step up” at times of crisis  and “step down “ when families are better able to cope.


What does the Project do?


The project provides a wraparound, trauma informed support based service.

Four foster carers who are highly trained and experienced in dealing with children with complex physical and emotional issues work intensively with families to help build their skills, knowledge and capacity. They help the families to, for example, establish routines for bedtime, bath-time and getting ready for school; understand the importance of healthy eating, nutritious meals and having a breakfast, including helping the family to plan, prepare and cook appropriate meals; and recognize the importance of ensuring their children are properly presented. If the family experiences an emergency / crisis situation, the child is able to stay with the foster carer for a short period of time.


This project uses foster carers as a support to families in a nurturing, non-judgemental and inclusive way. The foster carer is accessible to the family in a flexible way that meets their needs enabling them to reach out to a wider variety of supports effectively “walking alongside the family”. The model allows for an eighteen month period of sustained and intensive support to enable the birth parents to build confidence and parenting skills to keep their families intact and out of the care system.


The support provided depends on individual family needs and is primarily delivered by project staff and specialist foster carers; activities include:

·        Home based activities focused on key family times e.g. getting to school, healthy meals, budgeting and establishing routines.

·        Programme of activities focused on learning and achieving as a family using Incredible Years and Dinosaur Club  (Dynakids)

·        Therapeutic Nurture groups

·        Programme of learning and play activities for parents and children together that are age and stage appropriate 

·        Intensive support at times of family crisis

·        Short breaks from caring at times of family crisis

·        Support programme for alcohol, addiction and domestic abuse issues

·        Sign-posting and support to access additional services, e.g. domestic violence, benefits and training

·        Regular programme of home visits to plan and review support 

·        Developing and delivering a model of peer support activities for foster carers delivering the service.


Who are our delivery partners?

The project is delivered by The Fostering Network (lead partner) and the SEHSCT. The Fostering Network employs a Programme Officer and manages and monitors the project as well as delivering and arranging appropriate tailored training opportunities. The SEHSCT employs one Social Worker who is responsible for recruiting, assessing and supporting foster carers as well as identifying families who could potentially benefit from the project. There is a management group and a separate advisory steering committee.

The project will deliver Dyna Kids and Incredible Years working collaboratively with Barnardo’s.


The Team will not be able to consider AYE applicants at this time. 


  • Social Work Degree
  • 1 year post qualifying experience 
  • Live on NISCC register
  • You will be willing to complete an Enhanced Access NI check through Keenan in advance of start date. 

Why choose Keenan Recruitment as part of your journey:

  • We are a contracted, top tier supplier of Social Work staff to the NHS and other public bodies, meaning we receive 100s of jobs for you to pick from throughout Northern Ireland. 
  • A Free & confidential financial wellbeing package is offered via an external professional body to all temporary workers, to aid you with your mortgage application, debt and budgeting planning and for pension advice etc. 
  • You will have a dedicated specialist Consultant. Did you know that we have over 30 years experience suppling Social Work staff to the public service? 
  • Free fit to work certificate (required for NHS work). We will guide you through the process of ensuring you are fully compliant, so you and your Clients are protected. 
  • Career progression opportunities. You can pick and choose the teams that you would like experience in and newly qualified Social Workers can complete your AYE through Keenan.
  • Free CV writing service and interview prep offered for when you apply for permanent positions. We fully support you working through Agency as a stepping stone into permanent work. 
  • Testimonials: Please refer to the testimonial section on our website  to read how happy our candidates are working through Keenan. 

For more information on this exciting opportunity or hear of other vacancies within our Social Work division please contact Laura-Lee Quigley T: 02890447144 or email for a confidential chat. 


Keenan Recruitment is an equal opportunity employer, acting as an Employment Business on behalf of our Clients for temporary work and an Employment Agency for providing permanent employment with our Clients.

Keenan Recruitment is proudly a Corporate Member of REC - 10638 (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) adhering to all current employment legislation.

Location: Ballynahinch | Salary: 16.52 per hour | Job type: Contract | Posted: 12/01/2022