Amongst the challenges and complexities that can come with supporting vulnerable families and children, Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) love hearing from everybody they work with to ensure they’re going in the right direction.

LBBD make an effort to capture feedback from young people, their families, and professionals from other organisations to both affirm any good work they’re doing, as well as identifying any areas for improvement. Their Head of Service for Family Support and Safeguarding, Carolyn Greenaway, emphasises the value placed on feedback across their children’s services department.

“We love to receive feedback from our children, young people and their families as it helps us to see where we are doing well and where we need to improve our practice. The foundation of our Children’s Service are our CARES values – Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Empowerment and Sharing.”

“By allowing these values to influence our interventions with families and other professionals we are able to build strong relationships and adopt a strengths based and participatory approach. We are proud of the feedback we receive from our children, their parents, and our multi-agency partners about how these values are being put into practice.”

Carolyn Greenaway, Head of Service, Barking and Dagenham

Carolyn Greenaway from LBBD

One such heart-warming testimonial comes from a parent whose family was supported by a LBBD social worker. Praising the impact that their social worker had on their family, the parent emailed to say:

“I just wanted to thank you so for all the support you have given me and [Child], I honestly never thought the problems we were facing would make a turnaround in such a short space of time but most of it was down to you and I really want to thank you for that.”

“From the very first visit, your approach was so calm, trying to get to the bottom of the issues we were facing, and through it all never felt any judgement but supported by someone that really wanted to help us to get to a place where we could communicate effectively without causing any damage or inconveniences.”

“I know you were only doing your job but hopefully this email motivates you whenever you are faced with challenges. The end results will always be worth it. We will continue to use the tools you have taught us and hopefully we can continue to grow and progress in a more positive direction.”

Parent, Barking & Dagenham

This sentiment of gratitude echoes across much of LBBD’s work. A care leaver expressed their profound appreciation for their social worker, and how their life changed through having somebody relatable who understood them.

“As a child in care, it was rare to come across a black female Social Worker. After the death of my mum when I was seven, I was taken into care and introduced to [social worker] who was a black female Social Worker. Meeting her changed my life because I now had a strong, inspiring woman who looked like me.”

“She became my icon and my inspiration. She was also a firm but compassionate person who could have a frank conversation with me and care enough to tell me the truth. I wanted to be like her. As I grew older my path was settled, I went to Gold Smith University and studied Social Work. Just so that I could walk in her footsteps. I was not an easy child to manage, and my placements kept breaking down. But the truth was I was not an angry child. I was just a child suffering from the trauma of losing my mum.”

“Anger management classes were recommended for me. But I kept saying I am not an angry child. My social worker was the only one who stuck with me and insisted on seeing the best version of me. I almost got excluded from school. But she guided me in a firm but compassionate manner and stayed connected even after I left care and was at university. Having her in my life has been my game changer.”

Care Leaver, Barking & Dagenham

These lovely stories are just two examples of some of the fantastic feedback that LBBD has received. Supported by their CARES standards, which enables a relationship-focussed way of working, they ensure service users' lived experiences take centre stage. 

LBBD also look to receive feedback from their own staff, in order to ensure that their workforce feel valued for the great work that they do. Their positive working culture and the dedication of their team towards improving children's lives is evident.

"LBBD has become my home over the last 7 years as I started my journey as a student here. I have met some amazing colleagues who have become dear friends. I have worked with a wonderful bunch of children who have become an integral part of my life. The connections I have formed with these children cannot be put into words."

"I hope I have been able to leave each one of them feeling that they are loved, that they are worth all the overtime, the sleepless nights, the long journeys, all the time and effort I and colleagues have put in."

Former Social Worker, Barking and Dagenham

Carolyn notes the importance of supporting staff, and how their CARES Practice Standards underpin this support:

"Our CARES Practice Standards also include a pledge to our staff about the support they can expect, including the organisation having an ‘attitude of gratitude’, thanking them for all they do, celebrating their successes and achievements and recognising the care they show to their children and families, and each other, day in day out. Our staff are our greatest asset!"

Carolyn Greenaway, Head of Service, Barking and Dagenham

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LBBD are looking committed individuals to become part of their team. If you want to make a difference to our children and families in Barking and Dagenham, find out more about working with them.