Today I was kindly reminded why social work is not a straight forward job, that it requires going above and beyond – maybe even more than creative with the acknowledged lack of a budget. That poor grammar mixed with the wrong use of a word brings shame upon social work (good job I get my work checked before it is sent to court then). But sadly I think the message I was given was lost upon the method of delivery, its punch line seeping in self importance and with the owner of the comment more concerned with their own power and attempt to be little me. It is these behaviours that bring power and meaning to those arguments to the people that do not support social work or social care.
It is easy to forget that everyone has their own life story, or their own challenges to overcome to qualify in social work. That the experience needed is not gained with the certificate on graduation; instead it does however give you an opportunity to practise working with vulnerable people.
So therefore when sitting in someones living room discussing challenging safeguarding concerns with someone who may or may not agree with the concerns and you are discussing with them how you are going to support them or safeguard the child’s needs. Stop, think and consider your approach use your knowledge and your learning, challenge and be direct, make your point and get it across but do not do it at the expense of the parents or of social work.
If you are a social work student reading this, do not get the wrong impression social work is a profession that can adapt and does adapt quickly. Social Workers do work hard and longer than they should, Social Workers do make an effort and there is no time for luxury. So yes I do agree that in social work, that social workers should have the right tools to complete their tasks, I do think that the right working environment is needed and essential, and I do believe that confidentially for the people we work with is essential.
So thank you for reminding me why the focus must remain on the vulnerable children we work with and why research being completed by University’s and other social work academics is so important to informing our practise.