Independant Social Work Association

ISWA is a specialist Child Care Agency providing independent social work assessments and therapeutic work with children and families across the UK and overseas through a team of approved expert independent social workers.

ISWA was founded in 1998 by Philip King and Jimmy Jack. Both are practitioners and managers, each with highly respected reputations as expert witnesses, consultants and trainers spanning over 35 years. ISWA commands an enviable national reputation as evidenced by the testimonials received from a range of individuals from service users through to the judiciary.

Across the United Kingdom and overseas, the Agency offers a range of expert services to children and families, which are safe and cost efficient. They are achieved within excellent timescales. This is possible because the agency has the following unique features and professional standards rarely seen in other service providers:

• A large diverse team of qualified, highly skilled and experienced independent social workers, located nationwide.

• Stringent associate selection procedures for the recruitment of expert practitioners who have a  minimum of ten years post qualifying experience.

• Associates who are regularly checked to enhanced CRB level, protected by Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance and registered with the GSCC.

• Practice which is supported by formal consultation, appraisal and training.

• Skilled administrative staff who provide an accessible contact point, process all referrals and closely monitor timescales and costs.

• Quality Assurance Systems including customer evaluation.

• ISWA is regularly audited by local authorities, is registered with BASW, is checked for Expert Witness status, and is an approved trainer for the Bar Standards Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Expert Assessments of Children and Families
ISWA practitioners use a range of tools, including internationally accepted psychometric tests, to provide high quality assessments. These allow parents, carers, Courts and other agencies to make appropriate decisions. The Agency’s assessments are research and evidence based, balanced, enabling and contain realistic and achievable recommendations.

The Agency undertakes assessments for individuals, agencies and Courts [both private and public law] in the following areas:

• Parenting Skills and Risk Assessments in cases involving:
A wide spectrum of abuse and neglect
Complex histories
Drug Misuse
Learning Disability
Mental Health Difficulties
Domestic, and other forms of violence

• Cases with an international element
• Disputes about Residence
• Contact and Attachment issues
• Therapeutic needs
• Placement needs [residential/fostering/adoption].

Family and Friends Assessments
Our expertise in this area is nationally recognised and has been showcased through our conferences and seminars. In partnership with a number of local authorities, we have provided an extensive number of assessments over the years affording us a wealth of experience. This has allowed us to develop a service which can provide the highest quality assessments for Panels and the Courts but with value for money strategies that avoids the need for unnecessary full assessments. These strategies include viability assessments and Family Group Conferences. Our expertise extends to assessments of Special Guardianship Orders.

This service is managed by Lynne Dale who has many years experience in family finding work. 

Family Assessment and Support Intervention
There are many situations where an initial assessment has indicated a need for further testing of the potential for re-unification of children with their birth families. ISWA have a team of highly experienced Family Assessment and Support Workers who undertake this role. Although not qualified social workers, they are all well trained and experienced in working with children and families in a variety of situations. They all work under the individual supervision of one of our Associates. This type of work can involve intensive intervention over a short period of time. The work is regularly reviewed with analytical evidenced based reports produced at required intervals. This type of intervention is planned using clearly written bespoke programmes with detailed cost estimates. 

Family Group Conferences
Family Group Conferences [FGC] are child welfare decision making meetings involving family members as key decision makers. They are used in situations of high risk for children and young people, including child protection. This family orientated format, which is culturally respectful, affords a high level of service user control. It allows a FGC to be radically different from other meetings such as case conferences and reviews, where parents are usually present. The emphasis is on utilising family strengths to provide a safe and effective plan for the child, in the context of the historical concerns. Increasingly, government is recognising the contribution made by FGCs and their use is encouraged in the Public Law Outline. A key factor for the success of FGCs is that they have an independent trained coordinator and the format usually follows a staged process. ISWA has trained coordinators who are experienced in carrying out this delicate task.

This service is managed by John Lloyd Jones whose expertise is used as a trainer as well as a convenor. 

International Cases
ISWA has developed considerable expertise in undertaking assessments of parents and other family members across the world. This has included countries such as Thailand, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Uganda, India, Pakistan and most European States. We also are highly experienced in dealing with cases of refugee families entering the UK.
Consultancy and Investigations
ISWA has practitioners with a wide variety of experience enabling the Agency to provide consultancy services in many aspects of work with children and families. These range from individual cases through to commissions involving a major service provision.

The Agency has also undertaken investigations into abusive regimes and practices in residential and day care establishments and within fostering resources. It has provided consultancy on improving child protection measures and adoption services.

The Agency has, over the years, developed a core group of associates with specific expertise in Serious Case Reviews.
Anger Management
The Agency can provide a range of specifically designed programmes of intervention to enable individuals to manage stress and anger in a more effective and constructive manner.
Contact Between Children and Their Parents and Family
Where children are separated from parent and family members for whatever reason, the issue of contact can often be problematical.

ISWA offers services to assist with contact issues and can offer support and supervision at various levels to help children and adults involved. This can be undertaken at whatever venue is deemed to be most suitable for the child.

Work With Parents
The Agency provides professional and practical assistance to improve parenting skills within the family’s community in order to maintain children safely at home and to facilitate reunification. Since input is based upon a staged process, depending on the assessed parenting competencies of the carer(s), progress is stringently monitored and recorded using clear measurement tools. In addition, if re-unification cannot be achieved, ISWA can work directly with parents, enabling them to separate from their children in as positive way as possible.
Direct Work with Children
ISWA has skilled social workers to help children who have experienced trauma or disruption in their lives. Such input can help them come to terms with their experiences and move on with greater understanding. The Agency helps carers support children in these situations.

This work ranges from play therapy to life story work.

The Agency’s associates are able to assess attachment between children and their parents, carers, and siblings and, in partnership with key people involved, design a set of strategies and supports to help build or strengthen the security of attachments.

The Agency's associates have a wide range of expertise. This wealth of knowledge and skills, combined with our links with world renowned researchers, consultants and academic institutions, enables ISWA to provide training services to many practitioners and managers from various disciplines and to carers and other professionals. ISWA provides a regular series of training events throughout the United Kingdom. ISWA is an approved provider with many Local Authorities, Bar Standards Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
In response to any request for a service, ISWA prepares detailed written proposals together with an estimate of costs so those who contact the Agency know exactly what is being paid for. For further information please contact us.


Who to contact

01562 827878 01562 827878
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Where to go

7a, Church Street
DY10 2AD
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