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KEY WORKING. This learning session explains the role and responsibilities of the Key Worker. The Key W orker is integral to the team that supports the young people we care for in their daily lives.

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This learning session explains the role and responsibilities of the Key Worker.

The Key Worker is integral to the team that supports the young people we care for in their daily lives.

Key Workers are the first point of contact for the manager and multi agencies involved in the young persons care.

Throughout this learning session there is an opportunity for you to complete activities to confirm your learning.

learning objectives

To Identify the skills and qualities needed to be a Keyworker

To develop understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the Key Worker

To understand the role of key partners and a multi agency approach to meet the holistic needs of the young person

To assess and evaluate the needs of the young person and areas of work practice which need to be developed and improved

To consider our skills in both written and verbal communication, gathering and disseminating of information and reports and recordkeeping

why have key workers

The role of the Key Worker has developed throughout the years so that they have become an essential part of any care service that is provided within the UK.

Key Working is a very valuable tool, it provides a forum to address issues, modify behaviours, assess progress and development, and complete individual work such as life story work.

To ensure the physical and emotional well being of the young person and to empower the young person to express their views, wishes and feelings.

who are key workers

The Key Worker should be a named person with good experience of working with children.

The better the relationship with the child the more likely they will be to speak to you about any issues or concerns and to seek support and guidance.

Quite often a child may have two Key Workers. The second often referred to as a co-key worker.

A good Key Worker should be a professional friend, advocate, role model, problem solver and most importantly someone who will actively listen to the child’s hopes, fears, dreams and aspirations, and someone who can effectively nurture the determination and emotional strength needed to succeed in life.

qualities needed

Effective Communications Skills

This can be “verbal” and “non verbal” i.e. through body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, posture and many more.

To be able to make the young person feel at ease, to listen and not judge, so that the young person will feel comfortable in communicating to you with issues or seeking support or guidance.

Communicating in a way that resists the temptation to convey your own personal views, opinions and emotions

qualities needed1

Relationship Skills

This involves being able to build effective relationships with the young person by building on trust, being supportive, giving time and being reliable

Building effective relations with friends / families and all professionals involved in the care of the young person

The Key Worker must be aware at all times of professional boundaries, and be mindful that we are acting as corporate parents and role models to the young person

exercise one communication activity

1:Please write down as many communication skills thatare needed to communicate with young people

2: Please write down as many skills thatare needed to build relationships with young people.

3: Please list examples where a staff member could cross professional boundaries.

qualities needed2


The key worker must have sufficient experience of working with children and young people

To be able to manage our own feelings and emotions

To empathise and understand how the impact of past experiences effect the behaviour and lives of a young person

To recognise the difficulties young people have in being able to communicate effectively

To identify and read behaviour as a form of communication to enable us to understand when and why young people are behaving the way they do

Good communication skills are essential to the building and maintaining of positive relationships

qualities needed3

Effective Team Work

Communication within the staff team is essential to keep everyone up to date on any new developments, progress, working practices, meetings, appointments, incentives, praise points etc.

Consistent team work is needed to ensure we deliver the same care, structure and boundaries for young people

exercise two identify experience needed

1:Please list the knowledge, training and experience you have connected with your role within the home

2:Please identify the knowledge, training and experience you need to develop further to become a key worker.

qualities needed4

Assessment Skills

To develop analytical (examining the parts or structure of something)and judgemental (critically looking at something and making judgement) skills that will enable you to identify and address the needs of the young person. This may be assessing the young persons living arrangements and how they can live within the home safely, and also assessing and managing risks that could arise.

exercise three assessment

A young person new to the home has difficulty in the following areas: Organisation skills, personal hygiene, trouble socialising within his peer group and can become agitated or aggressive within a big group.

Activity 1:Identify what problems the young person may come across living within the home

Activity 2:On a blank risk assessment within the home, please complete this risk assessment according to the issues that you have raised

Exercise ThreeASSESSMENT
qualities needed5


The ability to concentrate over long periods and deal with interruptions and emergencies is essential

To maintain concentration during difficult, challenging and stressful situations.

To be able to prioritise work and avoid distractions

qualities needed6

Emotionally Literate

To have a self awareness of our own emotions and feelings and how the behaviour and actions of others can impact upon our emotional well being. To manage these feelings and emotions and retain control

To be able to seek help and support when our own emotions and feelings have been challenged. Using open and honest communication, debrief and supervision

To understand how the impact of our words, actions and behaviours may have upon the emotional wellbeing of others

To understand how the past experiences of a young person may impact upon his / her ability to manage emotions ,feelings and stressful situations

qualities needed7

Physical Health

As a key worker you will have to undertake a combination of physical activities

You may have to spend long periods standing, seated, walking or dealing with challenging behaviour and becoming involved in holding a child as a last resort to keep them safe

When working with the young people you will be expected to participate in sports and recreational activities in order to promote physical wellbeing, build positive relationships and promote good outcomes for young people

qualities needed8

Continual Professional Development

It is your responsibility to identify areas where you feel you require additional learning / training in order to fulfil your role as a Key Worker.

This could be anything from developing your communication skills, completing direct and individual work, leaving care etc. to understanding how to work further with young people who have complex care needs.

responsibilities of a key worker

Monitoring the development of the key child by addressing the following issues and completion of the relevant tasks

Liaise with Social Worker, families and other professionals involved with the young person

Identifying, facilitating and supporting activities and hobbies within the local community.

Facilitating key work sessions at least weekly

Supporting educational progress and attainment

The upkeep of all case files relating to their key child

Being actively involved with review meetings

Ensuring that all health requirements are met and a healthy lifestyle is promoted

This list is not exhaustive

responsibilities of a key worker1

Liaise with Social Worker, families and other Professionals involved with the young person

You need to keep yourself and your key child in touch with interested parties outside the home.

Family contact - is the child calling or writing to their family? Are there restrictions on contact; who they call or the frequency of calls? Build a relationship with the family where appropriate.

Home visits - should be planned / accompanied if needed

Social Workers - keep them regularly (weekly) informed of good news as well as bad and again build up a working relationship. Ensure Social Workers visit frequently.

Education - They need to be informed and aware of issues and you should be equally aware of how the child is getting on at school, providing encouragement to the child

Specialist/expert support and guidance: If your key child needs additional support or guidance from specialists or experts (e.g.: on drug misuse, budgeting, sexual health), talk to your supervisor/manager or the Social Worker about how it can be obtained.

responsibilities of a key worker2

Identifying, facilitating and supporting activities and hobbies within the local community.

Plan activities well in advance if possible, then plan the activities with the young people. It will give them something to look forward to, and when young people know what to expect it contributes to them feeling safe.

Think about small activities to do at break time and after school before the evening meal is served, before your evening activities commence. Children need mental and physical stimulation, a house full of bored children is potentially a recipe for disaster.

Introduce the children and young people to a diverse range of activities, they may then find something they love, that is just theirs, that they might wish to turn into a hobby or something that makes them ‘tick’ and becomes a passion. Something that they can continue for the rest of their lives.

responsibilities of a key worker3

Facilitating key work sessions at least weekly, Topics for Key Working Sessions include:

General discussion, placement, contact, education, employment, health promotion, general behaviour and progress etc.

The completion of individual work from various resources (improving your chances etc.) linked to the individual risk assessment and emotional literacy assessment.

The use and up keep of photo albums including pictures of activities, holidays, birthdays, families etc.

Up keep of bedrooms, checking that the child has adequate clothing, curtains, toiletries, duvet covers, posters etc.

Discussing, sourcing and facilitating activities within the local community. AT LEAST ONE that the child attends on a regular basis.

Looking through records of achievement and adding to this where ever possible.

Facilitating independence training.

Discuss education, call mini meetings with the child and education staff to support achievement and give praise for positive development.

Formulate and discuss behaviour modification programmes, set targets with rewards for positive development, evaluate the programme after specified timeframe.

Discuss health care plans, medication and deliver work on health promotion to evaluate the health care plan.

Discuss issues from review meetings and other meetings to ensure understanding.

Sometimes the best key working session is one where you JUST LISTEN

responsibilities of a key worker4

Supporting Educational Progress and Attainment

The Link/Key Worker must be responsible for promoting the educational achievement of the child and liaising with key professionals including the designated teacher and LAC Education Co-ordinator. This may include ensuring that the child is:

Provided with facilities conducive to study and to homework and actively encouraged and supported in doing so;

Give help with homework if they wish;

Provide reading support where needed;

Encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities;

Encouraged to discuss any problems they may have at school in privacy;

Encourage attendance.

This may include attending parent's evenings and other school events in the absence of the child's parents.

responsibilities of a key worker5

The upkeep of all case files relating to their Key Child

Ensure that records and the children's files are current and well organised. Although many other people will have input to the paperwork overall responsibility lies with the Keyworker.

Make sure the child's Placement Plan and Positive Handling Plan is kept up to date and relevant to the child's interests and needs; make sure the child has a copy.

The Key Worker must ensure that the Child's file is kept up to date, in particular, that relevant/up to date copies of the following records are contained in it:

Care Plan, Pathway Plan and/or Adoption Plan; Placement Information Record + Essential information/ ICS /Chronology; The home's internal Placement Plan; Health Care Assessment/Health Care Plan; Statement of Special Educational Need, Personal Education Plan and Individual Education Plan (if applicable); Risk Assessment;

Any specialist health care or educational reports or plans;

Ensure relevant parties receive copies of relevant documentation.

responsibilities of a key worker6

Being actively involved with Review Meetings

Formulate review reports

Complete consultation sessions with the key child to obtain their views and opinions to ensure the young person is actively involved in decisions about their care and their lives.

To help advocate the wishes and feelings of the young person to the relevant individuals

To offer support, guidance and reassurance during meetings and reviews

responsibilities of a key worker7

Ensuring that all health requirements are met and a healthy lifestyle is promoted

The Key Worker must actively promote the health care of each child and enable child to learn about healthy living.

In doing so they should liaise with key health professionals, including the Clinical Nurse specialist, the child's GP, Optician and dental practitioner.

The Key Worker should ensure that the physical, emotional and health needs of the child are identified and appropriate action is taken to ensure the medical, dental and other health services needed to meet them.

Children should be provided with guidance, advice and support on health and personal care issues appropriate to their age, needs and wishes.

The Key Worker must ensure that relevant health care procedures in this manual are adhered to, in particular, that the child is registered with a GP and has access to a Dentist, Optician; and that the child has an up to date Health Care Plan.

exercise four assignment

Child B is 12 years old and wants to join the army cadets. You know that he finds it difficult to join in with group activities but feel strongly that he should be able to try something of his choice. What will you do to try to make sure that this activity is enjoyable for him?

Who are you going to inform of this?

Who will you need to discuss with regarding the issues the young person may have?

Complete a risk assessment to support the young persons attendance at the army cadets?

How will you support his on-going attendance?

After going for two weeks, you are asked to arrange for his uniform and membership and are given forms for a camp which happens in six weeks’ time. What do you do?

After going for two more weeks, child B says he does not want to go any more. What do you do?


Supervision between the Key Worker and the supervisor should take place on a regular basis, and if needed additional supervision sessions should take place in-between planned supervision dates.

Some areas of discussion should be:

Progress of the child

Positives and how this could be encouraged further

Negatives and what plans could be put into place to attempt to reduce it, e.g. incentive plans and Behaviour support plans

Team work and ensure there is continuity of care for the child

Any difficulties personal or professionally that the key worker might need support in ( personal only if this effects your work practice )

Planning further support for the young person in your absence A/L etc.

Plan for holidays, birthdays, clothing etc.

Seeking further support / advice


Being a Key Worker means working towards meeting a whole range of social, spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs in a way that promotes dignity, choice and independence.

Make sure you do the basics well, such as making sure that the child has adequate clothing - bought, cleaned, dried and ironed. Ensure that your child is clean and presentable. It shows that we care and also helps to improve their self esteem.

Most of all just be there for them, and remember that sometimes the best type of key working session is the one where you just listen.

Make sure that you feedback to the staff team regularly on any important areas and developments, this is essential if we are to achieve continuity of care.

If you have any concerns about your key child then speak to a senior member of staff immediately.