A LONG-SERVING social worker – who has helped improve the lives of countless foster children over almost four decades – is retiring.

Hilary Musgrave joined North Yorkshire County Council in 1983 after moving to England from Dublin.

By the early 1990s she was working with the fostering team and has gone on to support young people in need of care, and the families who chose to look after them.

Her long career means she may be the county’s most experienced social worker and she has timed her departure around her caseload, to ensure a smooth transition.

Much of her time has been spent working in the Knaresborough and Skipton districts.

The Northern Echo:

She said: “My colleagues are very special and they are a big percentage of the job and achieving job satisfaction.

“I have worked with different teams and different people. They have always been a great bunch of colleagues, right up to and including those I work with currently.”

As supervising social worker for the fostering team west, she has helped ensure children get the best possible result from their time in foster care, regardless of how long that might be.

Today there is more preventative support available to families to help them resolve potential problems before they escalate.

“I can think of many examples from the late 1970s and early 1980s where children were cared for exceptionally well but what is different now is that, hopefully, we do much better planning for children,” she said.

She has helped foster families through difficulties and said it has been a privilege to work with so many extraordinary people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Karen Forrester, fostering team manager North West, said: “Hilary will be missed by many foster carers and numerous colleagues not just from the fostering service but from the wider social work teams.

“Hilary’s career is a demonstration of the rewarding and fulfilling careers which are available to those with an interest in social work.

“I would like to thank Hilary for all her very many years of hard work and commitment to the fostering service and to the profession of social work.”

Cllr Janet Sanderson, executive member for children’s services, said: “Hilary has been a very committed member of the North Yorkshire team and has made a tremendous contribution to the lives of very many children.”