Tag Archives: positive social work

Children are the future!

One of the great joys of Social Work is that you can never be right, well at least that’s how it appears or portrayed by the media.  And in a blog post by Abe Laurens in the ‘not so big society’ titled ‘Shine a light’ illustrates rather well how the media portrays one image whilst the research points in a different direction.

However, children are the future of our world so it is therefore important to safeguard their well-being; and prevent harm that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  And by harm we are talking about significant harm.

But what did catch my eye this week was a Blog posted on the Community Care Children’s service blog post about neglect! and what is good enough parenting? A term so heavily used in Care Proceedings and Child Protection.  Action for Children in their recent report found on the blog or here that:

  • ” Two-thirds (67%) feel that the law on parenting is confusing.
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) agree that there is no common understanding of what ‘good enough’ parenting is.
  • Only 16% agree that the law should not intervene in how people choose to raise their children.
  • Most parents (59%) believe that the state has a duty to intervene.
  • When asked what would help parents to meet their responsibilities, two-thirds (66%) call for a clear law which can be understood by all.
  • Support services were identified as the key way to help parents if things go wrong (73%). Action for Children 2012″

The main reason for this is because

“In April next year the law on neglect will be 80 years old – Action for Children does not want to see that anniversary come and go without government commitment that it will be changed so that more children are protected.”

For those of you who are a parent, or planning to be a parent there is always a worry about whether you are making the right decisions for your children.  The worry and guilt if you say ‘No’ and whether your children will forgive you for saying ‘No’.  Of course they do! and from this develops their trust and love in you, but at three in the morning when they are crying because they are unwell or missed school due to a lot of sickness you can start to question your own decisions.

However, do I need a law to tell me this? No I probably wouldn’t although I have the luxury of 15 years of training, reading and direct childcare experience and two great children that test me and reward me with their love (I hope).

More to the point does the law need to change? Do parents know what is expected of them? and do parents understand what neglect is? Of course we do and rather than have a new law we do require an understanding of neglect through positive media images of the work that social workers, teachers, health professionals, and volunteers do on a daily basis to prevent families breaking down.

Child development theories have been clear about the stages that babies, toddlers Children and young people move through.  This is regularly measured and monitored by health professionals starting with the Midwife, then the Health Visitor and then School Nurse and General Practitioner.  Inevitably with the cut backs in Public services the observations made by these professionals will affect the number of families that can be identified at an early stage.

Furthermore the law is clear about Children’s attendance at school and also there is clear law around substance misuse and Domestic Violence.

However, what is lacking in English Law is the consideration for all legislation to include relevant consideration to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child .  We do have the Children Act 1989 and also the Children Act 2004, which with all of the guidance and the Working together documents highlights what Child Neglect is.

The real message is that neglect does not just occur in poorer families, and neglect can be identified through knowledge and observations from Professionals and then assessed by Social Workers.  The concern is that there will be no law passed by next April, instead the real concern is that Neglect is a priority of the Government that could be lost with the cuts that they are trying to make.

It remains important that the assessments made by Social Workers are respected and checked by their managers as a Safeguard to rogue assessments.  That, neglect remains on the agenda of everyone but allowing families to live their lives.  The law is already in place to protect children, research is available about neglect and more research is currently being undertaken.

Social Work is not about herding children into care, it is about protection and support and Neglect or good enough parenting will be different from family to family and hard to legislate and enforce.

World Social Work day, can it kick start positive change?

 

On World Social Work Day 2012, I find myself reflecting on Social Work practise.  From all over the globe other professionals are engaging with Social Work on a daily basis.  And in a recent conversation with a social worker from Nigeria I found myself mesmerised by the tales of practise and the different work that is trying to be achieved.  By tales of practise I mean good practise, and how culture can impact upon the message that Social Workers are giving to vulnerable people.

On this day the 20th of March World Social Work Day passed quietly in my office, Social Work still happened of course.  For me though I found myself in a position where today I learnt something new about post traumatic stress disorder, and infants and their early attachments.  The session aimed at Educational professionals screamed out at me on many different levels and left me wanting to learn more.

Now although I did already know about this subject the presenter delivered it in a manner that summarised my previous learning.  There was no information hidden or impact reserved the message was clear and aimed at professionals.

There was criticism of the impacts of the cuts and the likely effects this has on services to prevent this from happening.  And I wonder whether the Coalition has calculated the impact of the cost of PTSD on students and young adults in the future because of the cuts made now.  With less free child care facilities, Children resources being cut, Drug and alcohol services being cut, Education and schools having to cut back on training and Teaching Assistants.

Being young and vulnerable is a challenge already, but to be suffering in silence with the effects of abuse and trauma can further impact on this.  If professionals can not have the right time to assess and identify the right need then young people can be misdiagnosed with ADHD rather than PTSD.  The impact is that the young person can then associate the effects of abuse and relying upon a substance to control this first of all ‘Ritalin’ or ‘Concerta’ then Alcohol or illegal drugs.

So on World Social Day it is important to remember Social Work and Champion the work we do.  It is important to continue with our learning and remember why we become Social Workers.  It is to make a difference and help other to bring about the change they need.  In order to do this first we must be able to stand up ourselves to those who want to bring about change in Social Work without understanding the consequences of doing so.

But also remember in doing this that as Social Workers we must protect ourselves from secondary Trauma and remember that this is why it is important to promote today (the third Tuesday of every March) For Social Workers.  To supporting others who make everything we try to achieve possible.

 

Picture Credit: utexas.edu and blogs.sfweekly.com

Long week

Is it possible to keep positive in social work at present after the amount of cuts that have already been made and the level of cuts that have not yet come?  For me the answer has to be yes, why? in my second student social work placement in the youth service, I was taught that there is no money for projects so there was a clear message that was all about participation of young people.

Participation was providing a service that the young people wanted rather than what you thought they needed.  The result was more young people involved in the group work sessions.  The budget was zero, so resources had to be begged, borrowed or applied for cleverly from different charities and again required the participation of the young people to make the applications.

I think for me this helped me learn to have a more positive attitude and outlook to social work.  My thinking became three dimensional and enabled me to be a more holistic practitioner.

However, this week I have observed within the office that several workers did not share my own positive attitude.  Something that is becoming more obvious within the work place and one that is not welcome.

I guess the recent changes to their working environment, and increased pressures on budgets have changed their views and perceptions.  Social work is already hard enough, so to lose the passion and spirit needed to challenge the system is worrying.  Especially as we have a lot of students working and learning on the same floor.  Even returning newly qualified social workers need to be in a positive learning and environment so that their own practise can develop.

It is also important to stay positive in order to ensure that communication between worker and manager is done effectively.  Without this, a mistake could happen and as a result of this increased confrontation, which is not needed further creating a negative environment to work in.

However, positive change is needed for social work to inspirer workers who are losing their passion, worrying about their jobs and worrying about the service that is being provided.  Votes are easy to get on a promise, lives are hard to influence without positive workers to do it.