Have you ever had a day where you have tried to get into the office early to get a head start on the work you have to do. Even if it is ten minutes to read through the mountains of e-mails that seem to be sent from the time you leave the office until the following morning when you get back in. The pressure and expectations placed on us as Social Workers is for perfect work to be completed all of the time. I understand why, because if the plan is not perfect, you will have to redo the work over again. And in a day where every minute is precious, every visit a report and every telephone call creating two new jobs. This causes delay in completing actions for the Young People Social Workers are working with.
Some mornings like this morning, even those ten minutes of catch up time don’t happen. As soon as the computer has loaded up (and with the added security this is not a fast process), the first call came in, our local Missing Persons Officer who has been on leave wanted to ensure I was aware of the high risk case who had self harmed and “What was I going to do about it?”
It was a clue as to how the day was going to follow; I was pleased to find out that this was old information. I was even more pleased to find out that the worst thing that had happened this weekend had been a bad case of sun burn I could live with this. However, I was quickly finding out that both the Community Mental Health team and another Community Team for Adult Services were unable to attend a Management meeting to look at the transfer of this case from Children Services to Adult Services. A smooth transfer would be preferable to ensure the continued well being of this Young Person, but instead with three weeks until her 18th birthday I fear this is going to be a fight for a service right up until her birthday.
There is an advantage with getting as many professionals around a table to formulate the plan. Looking at what needs to be achieved and what the Young Persons wants to achieve from their life with the people who are able to help and support this plan is essential.
I was pleased however, that I was not the only one. My Manager Slips in that on top of the ever growing number of placement break downs, Young People who have been missing (and considering the unusual hot weather, could have been higher). That again there has been a new challenge one for an age assessment.
In a time where Public Service cuts, and pressures on Social Work teams to ensure savings made do not impact too much on the front line services our argument for another Social Worker continues. Days like this can leave me feeling frazzled and the pressure to absorb cases from other frontline teams means that other Social Workers also feeling frazzled. Every spare minute quickly becomes precious and fewer and far between and often at the sacrifice of something else.