Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice


Futures Service

ORGANISATION: Leeds City Council

AWARD(S): Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice

“This is the best relationship I’ve had with a professional”. These are the words of a young person supported by the Futures service – and a clear testament to the impact it’s making.


The social work led service was set up in response to local and national evidence about young parents who were vulnerable to experiencing the repeated trauma of losing children through care proceedings. It aims to prevent repeat proceedings, and improve the life circumstances, and physical, emotional and mental health, of this service user group.


Futures started taking referrals in March 2018, and focuses its work on care leavers and parents under the age of 25, who experienced the removal of their first child. They help young people to achieve stability in a number of ways, including accessing new education, employment, and training opportunities, and providing support with housing difficulties.


One quality that shone through this nomination was the way staff listen to the young people. This has led to improvements in the design of the service, with the introduction phase adapted to provide more clarity about the social work role. But it’s also given this vulnerable group a much-needed voice, and the confidence to move forward in their lives.


The Future’s approach works to enable young people through the provision of a holistic support process. Working to enable physical, emotional and mental wellbeing through a mixed team approach appears to have enabled young people to reduce further trauma and risk.

Dave Thomas MBE, Central Bedfordshire Council

What a brilliant idea, and such a needed service. This age group have been sadly overlooked for far too long.

Chris Dyas, Children’s Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2018

Thank you for listening to me today. Listening is nice, and what I liked most is that you didn’t tell me that my goals were stupid or that I needed to calm down or whatever, but instead you said you understand.

Feedback from young person who accessed support through the Futures Service

The team are social work led but multidisciplinary in nature and from the outset they have been determined to share skills and knowledge, take risks and go the extra mile to support an extremely difficult to reach group. These incredible and dedicated people always work the from the base assumption that if we can build meaningful relationships then anything is possible.

Emma Ross, Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) Programme Manager


Brian Mitchell

Dave Thomas MBE

Emma Blakemore



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