The Storm

It seems that nearly every day the storm that is front line child protection rages harder and harder.  There appears to be no shelter from the relentless barrage of telephone calls, referrals, crisis and  twists within family life.  Everyday adult decisions impacting upon the most innocent and unprotected in our society, a comment that most may question, a point that makes me the most frustrated in my role as a social worker.  Yes, Children’s legislation is well recorded and there is a lot,  especially around child protection and children who are looked after.  Yet, sometimes I have been left wondering whether in all of the storm to safeguard children do we really still see the child? In a world where everyone wants whats best, but what does this mean? is it what is best for them or for the child?

There are some people who would like us to believe that the child protection system is broken, that children are not being safeguarded instead they are wrongfully removed to be forced into adoption.  However, as much as the child protection system is blamed for its failings there continues to be a very real need for a system to be in place. In a society where adult needs continue to be placed in front of vulnerable children’s; child deaths will continue and continue and continue.  Each time the system is blamed, failing are examined giving further fuel to both sides of the argument. But what worries me more is the attitude in scapegoating parents from blame that instead it is not their fault or societies.   Instead attempts are made to accuse social workers of colluding with solicitors to remove innocent children from their parents.  Stories fuelled by high profile MP’s and articles published in The Daily Telegraph, which lead to confusion and mistrust within society; creating tension and situations that may result in social care intervention where it might not have been needed.

It is clear that the government has no intention of changing its views on spending cuts, it is also clear that its hard-line policies on benefits will also not change.  I am sure that this storm will continue being fuelled in every direction by adult fears about their own feelings around children.  And like others working within the eye of the storm the daily interventions become harder and harder.  Battered and wind-swept once children are safeguarded the storm continues with no chance to finish the paper work, no chance to return the phone call before the next big wave comes in.  This is where the system is broken leaving many social workers leaving, buckling under the weight of the storm and not being sheltered by the Local Authority that they work for or by the government that creates the legislation in which they work to.

It is easy to be mislead into thinking that the aim of social work is simply to remove children, that this automatically solves all of the problems in the world.  However, wouldn’t it be great if it did! but it does not solve the problems and is not the aim of social workers.  So for those that campaign against social work please understand that social work and child protection is not this easy.  That the threshold for removal is far higher than you think and as a social worker there have been far more positive interventions than there has been removals.  That the numbers of cases that are being dealt with on a daily basis are being managed and managed well.

 

 

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6 responses

  1. Who in all seriousness ‘campaigns against social work’?

    1. There are many people who campaign against social work, that feel social work is not needed. Or in this case, simply feel that it is corrupt and out just to steal babies from vulnerable families. Neither helping the vulnerable or social work!

  2. Would you be OK if I put this on http://www.childprotectionresource.org.uk? Or would you like to write something particular for us?

  3. Thanks, I will link to your blog on the Social Work section.

  4. After stumbling across this blog, I have read with interest the first few posts. This one has made me stop and want to comment.
    As someone who works in family support but on a lower level (in a Children’s Centre) even we are deemed to be the anti-Christ for some families. Them believing that we can take their choldren away, this can be distressing and difficult to overcome, so for a Social Worker its a battle they have generally already lost.
    Media hype and propoganda play a big role in societies negative view on Social Work. Often portrayed as nosey, incompetent individuals who don’t really care about the child is NOT a way to get the public on side and willing to work together.
    A rafical overhaul is needed to ensure all children in society are given the support and life chances they need and deserve.
    Each Local Authority is different and has different thresholds, each authority has different levels of intervention and support which on one hand is great because one size doesn’t fit all, but on the other shows a lack of inconsistency and a postcode lottery regarding the services you get.

    I, for one, would like to hear some good news stories, about some children who have been saved and had their lives changed by the interventions they recieved rather than the usual Social Work battering that we recieve on an almost daily basis nowadays.

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