Dinner

Every now and again I will meet up with the people that I used to work with in Children’s Residential.  We will go for something to eat usually somewhere in the middle, for everyone to meet at.  As usual for Social Care we came from absolutely everywhere.  Its usually a nice evening of talking, remembering and catching up on where everyone is at now.  


I remember when I started in my residential carer, that first shift and whether I could last working with young people.  But now when I meet with everyone (or the last few that still meet up) I really enjoyed working closely with the young people.   Laughing at some of the activities that we would do to engage with the hardest young people to engage with.  Or finding out about the staff and remembering our concerns about some of them, and no matter what happened they seemed to continue to be able to work.


Of course when you work somewhere for 8 years you will see a lot of young people and staff move on.  Some of the young people come back and say thank you, some come back and will still need help, thankfully this was only a small amount.


If anyone wants to know how to start work as a Social Worker in Children’s Services I would recommend working for some time in a Children’s home.  Why? Because when you are working with these vulnerable young people it is one to one.  Often at the moment that they are reliving or remembering their abuse or neglect.  It requires a strength, calmness and ability to keep your head in order to give the right support.  Developing your communication skills because you can not hide from the engagement needed to try and cause change for the young person; or even just to help put into words something they can not so they can understand an event or behaviour.


It also helps you learn about young people and their behaviours.  For me it has grounded my experience meaning that I will try hard to make a foster placement work rather than using a residential home.  It also means that when I do look at a residential home I know whether it is one that can focus on the young persons needs, or whether it is just for profit.  I also know how staff and the young people may interact, meaning that when I write a support plan it is usually a good plan supporting the placement and young person.


I also remember my own process of growing up and maturing working in the Children’s home.  Starting as a young man myself, single and with no commitments.  Over the time I met my wife, started my Social Work training and had children.  Learning how hard life is and the challenges we all face and acknowledging how for someone in care how this must be harder the support they have is less than my own.


During this time one person helped me, and every time we meet now we spend hours after everyone else has gone talking about life.  I remember one particular occasion when I told her in Southend I was going to be a Dad and not knowing how I was going to deal with being a Dad at such a young age.  She shares with me events and her ups and downs that happen in her own life as well.  We often chuckle as everyone else leaves and it goes dark around us saying we must catch up more often to prevent the late nights!


I guess for me a good team is very important to any work, supporting each other and having a positive goal of supporting young people is something we all shared and still do.  When I say good team this is something that does not always happen straight away and for us took a long time to develop and get right.  I guess now we are good friends rather than a team as we have all moved on and the Children’s home closed down.  But what I have learned I now share with the team I work with now and feel makes me a stronger person.



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One response

  1. I can't remember if I commented on your blog before, but this was my very first job ever after I graduated from college. I worked in a children's residential treatment facility with teenage girls for a year. It was so hard at times, yet, I often reflect back on that time in my life and I miss it. I haven't worked with kids since and I do want to go back at some point.

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