Tag Archives: technology

Practise

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.

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Can we change?

As a social worker it is very hard to not accept change, after all it is what we try and achieve on a daily basis within the communities we work in.  Sometimes the changes are small, others maybe life changing – but all are equally important.

However, more frequently it appears as social workers we are beginning to be asked to define are practise, forced to choose an approach and disregard years of learning and experience in order to support the organisation during this time of austerity.

But if we are to change for the better and if we are to decide on a model of practise to define what Social Work is in today’s society and furthermore what the role Social Workers play within this.   Should we not start from the position that Social Work is a growing profession that should be respected by all professions.  Moreover rather than Social Care being an organisation that deals with the parts of society that we do not want to acknowledge or accept.  That practise and interventions should be a positive sign within families to make positive changes, it remains to easy blame social workers for events, crises that lead to tragic circumstances such as family breakdowns or death.

However, despite these changes that are occurring and to a large extent mostly these are positive changes there is still a contradiction between demand for a service and the ability to practise as taught and developed through safe practises.  Making the most effective tool in the social work tool kit as the social worker themselves, and without the time to spend with the families and young people this becomes ineffective.

Therefore if the Governments are serious about social work changing then serious decisions need to be made in supporting the work that is done with families that are in crisis, with young people that need a genuine targeted, direct meaningful impact from the social worker.  A skill that can not be gained from inside the office behind the computer.  That only by providing the right funding, training and support can social workers provide the right interventions to the right people and develop as a profession.

 

River boat

 

Social work can be like a slow boat, slowly chugging along the river, all big and bulky with lots of people trying to make the boat get to where it is meant to be going.  Every now and again it is felt that this is all wrong and rather than change the boat and the purpose of the vessel to save money their seems, instead to be a more ruthless practise of either asking people to jump or more unceremoniously pushed.

Like many professions change is inevitable and often good, after all social work practise has had to change and helpfully in line with the Jubilee, Community Care show the past 60 years of social work here.

Similarly when change happens some skills are lost along with knowledge, and for many professions the idea that knowledge is held within social work is a new concept.  With a degree and masters degree and more social workers being able to undertake research into neglect, abuse, domestic violence, family placements and like me Age Assessments and many other social issues, this knowledge base is growing bigger.

So with change comes a lot of positivity, and a wake up call for all social workers and social work managers that our learning never stops.  In order to support families a better understanding of culture and modern culture is needed.  Social Workers need to be able to respond to crisis with an up to date understanding of family life and how social media affects and impacts on social relationships and abuse.

I am excited about social work and how I can be involved in shaping the future of it.  Although this is slowly within my work place, each day I challenge some of those older views.  Each day I learn something new that makes me read more, not that this will help me understand but it will allow me to be better prepared.

I will not see the manager that gave me my first social work job again, but I will not forget the gift I was given with my first job.  I will not forget the lesson that even with many years of social work that change is not needed so rather than me being changed I will continue to adapt my practise to fit Social Work, because the change I want to make is for the young people to achieve the outcomes they want.

 

picture credit to: en.wikipedia.org

Socialworkhelper.com Social Work of the future!

its not often that I get asked to review websites, mainly though I am asked to review pathway plans, care plans or assessment of needs or Core Assessments.  So I write this with a little bit of excitement, and nervousness not only with the worry of the wonderful person that asked me to do this but also of all the people that may have their own view and decide to differ from my own.

So I here I go…………….

socialworkhelper.com describes it’s self as..

“a free social networking community created exclusively for social work, social care, and human service professionals and students”

Created by Deona Hooper, MSW a Social Worker who has gone on to get a second degree in Information Technology.  Deona explains that she created this website ” as a place where students and professionals could connect and get immediate feedback to a question or concern, without the usual delays you may have on twitter or bloggersphere”.

It is also very exciting as the website is still in its infancy but already had a varied selection of professionals and students as it members.  And I am now one of them, I have to be honest I am now a geek that does almost everything from my generic mobile phone (iPhone) and was disappointed that I could not access the content from my phone.  The thought of sitting in front of the computer when I get home is not something I enjoy.  So prefer the casual use my phone allows me, but don’t let this put you off.

However, Deona has been kind enough to upgrade the site to allow for ease of access for the professional on the go who can not get to their desktop.  This has enhanced the user experience of this site socialworkhelper.com Thank you Deona

The registration process is quick and easy and soon you have full access to the community.  I have kept my Twitter name @SimplySW for the site.  And I had considered whether I should shed the mask and step out as my true identity, but aired on the side of caution not wanting to risk the young people I work with or the organisation being identified.

What Deona has created is very interesting and complex, I doubt that I would have the skills to do the same.  The site has the ability to allow you to connect to your favourite social networking sites whilst communicating with other professionals and students safely.  Moreover, If you are someone who has thought about blogging but has not wanted to do so openly their is a chance to do so on the socialworkhelper community site.

What I do like about this site is the potential that it has, an acknowledgement that social work is no longer a profession relying upon a note book and pen.  A profession that has suddenly become technologically aware, and as daft as this may seem I still hear some social workers ask how to switch the computer on!

Social work is a fast piece of intervention that should take place before the crisis has occurred, and the need for this intervention takes place on many different levels.  The first is the political level ensuring that the government in each respective country continues to have the social needs of the country at the heart of their policies.  Which is where socialworkhelper.com and twitter can have a voice for the College of Social Work or BASW or the International equivalent to allow Social Workers to share their thoughts and allow these thoughts to be snow balled into action through free speech.

At the next level social networking allows the work of social work to be shared with others, the pressures, strains and challenges the dilemmas and risks that are taken to allow families to stay together whilst battling their own demons.

However, what I would like to see is what these guys at Social Work/Social Care and Media have done, their ability to stir up enthusiasm and discussion has been exciting and fast paced.  From the student to academics to the professional.  The discussions have been relevant and important and allow free involvement from anyone who has a view, and is able to share it in 140 characters or less.

Combine this with what Deona has created on Socialworkhelper.com  and there maybe something beautiful created for the future of social work in the social media.  Of course there is always going to be competition and an already established forum is the Community Care space.  However, what this lacks is the ability to join in with Twitter and Facebook and allow for instant messaging with a group of people in discussion.

I guess the message is take a look for yourself, and if you would like a venue where you want to talk about social work or social care.   Then this is definitely the place you will want to check out.  Maybe we will have a chat there about social work!