Monthly Archives: November, 2015
Have you ever had a day where you have wished that for one moment time would stop, just long enough to allow you to grab hold of everything that is going on and truely understand what is happening. I have worked in child protection for many years and rarely do you find time where you can reflect upon one specific family giving them all of your attention. For this reason I am glad that is protected time, where as a manager and as a Social Worker I can explore people thoughts and expanded on the grey and unknown areas. Although this is a good social work skill, reflecting and critically challenging your anylsis is so important and not always easy, especially with the first assessment, where you may be rushed or pushed to complete because of the pressure of meeting timescales, evasive families or what ever the reason may be assessment can be lost to the pressure of the timescale and any following assessments that have been referred back in. However, despite this I have been reminded recently that this is not always the case!
As a manager I have had to learn to keep an eye on these timescales and ensure they dont slip, but also equally ensure that they are completed with the highest quality of standard to ensure the right outcome is reached – Not for me or my manager, but for the child within each family. Seeing the child, hearing the voice of the child and understanding their position within the family should be easy? After all, there is a multitude of tools, training designed to promote and engage the child to ensure at the mininum that they are given time and space to express their wishes and feelings.
I had recently changed teams, I am starting to like change, I find it keeps my practice fresh and up to date but also more importantly it provides me a challenge! And in doing so I have had to open my eyes to a different way of working a different way of understanding. Risk still remains and plays a big part of my role in reviewing and approving assessments, but now there is a complex element that needs careful consideration and research. I have found myself being challenged by some of my new team who do not agree and this has had an affect on me, making me reflect upon my own practice, my own management style and how I present myself within the team, questioning the decisions that I am making. Concious, that equally they are going through the change process with me, as I challenge and tackle their own practice.
However, no matter what, no matter how precious time is, I still cannot allow the child to be lost within the family and the assessment that I am presented. Furthermore, challenging the blank carpet statement that prevents and blinds the social worker to really unpicking and discovering where the support within a family is really needed or from creating the plan that supports the child in need or the child in need of protection.
It has been a really long time since I last sat in front of my computer to even try and think about writing something, its been even longer since I have been able to think about anything else other than what I need to do just to do for tomorrow. It’s not because I have not wanted too, but because I have found that over the last couple of years there has been a subtle change in social work attitudes, leaving me tired on a daily basis from the daily pressures. Like many people I have had to consider my own position and my own well being and what this might be and I decided to make a big change and become a locum manager. Other than my first position I have enjoyed this change, I have been able to take on new positions and new teams and make changes.
Social Work has continued to take a battering from the press and significantly from the government the drive to reduce spending has meant reduced services and more people relying on Social Care for support. For many in Social Work this is the ongoing process that happens on a regular occurrence. From this however has been a drive for a more direct engagement with high risk families and thoses families where there has been a history of social care involvement to tackle the route causes of the concerns raised. There are always lessons to learn from social work practice and that is especially important when hearing the voice of the child, but what is the real skill is challenging the views that children should be seen and not heard. A position which challenges many parenting styles but also makes social work anaylsis so important when assessing potential risk and potential harm.
I have found that I have continued to enjoy working with social workers to challenge their thinking and their assessments and to ensure that practice develops. Where ever I have worked I have met lots of committed and hard working social workers who work long hours for very little gratitude, the problem being that no matter how much work you do there is always more to complete. Often it is the emotional impact of the tasks that I find where my support is most needed, where through tackling difficult conversations has lead to a very real recognition and acknowledgement of a parents own emotional well being. A start in a long journey to affect change but find a service that will be able to engage and continue the work needed. But often this has meant that my social workers have been left managing highly emotional and stressful situations and needing their own supervisions in order to be able to manage this effectively.
When positive changes happen within a team and both performance figures rise, but also more importantly the moral of the workers rises and because of these changes that they are then making in families lives, I can feel happy in my role supporting them. It also makes the change a positive change for me it does mean that my skills are not used consistently in one place.