Posted on 11/10/2016 by Aminul Hoque
A children's social worker reflects on a week of timecale pressures
I have a child protection case involving a teenager visiting a man who has been prosecuted but not convicted for sexual abuse. The parents are spurning the agency’s concerns but it has to be monitored. My breakfast is interrupted by a phone call from a police officer to arrange a joint visit to the man that afternoon. He dismisses our concerns and keeps telling us that he wasn’t convicted. Patiently, we explain the different burden of proof in criminal cases and child protection work.
Later, I visit to the parents to begin work to help them protect their son. It’s a difficult visit and I don’t make much progress.
Our records aren’t always up to date and the morning is spent trying to track down a family who have moved. I have to trace them through the health visitor; the phone number she gives me is unobtainable, so I make an unannounced visit and luckily find the mother and child in. The mother explains she has a new mobile number. I carry out the assessment, hoping I can get it written within the timescale.
I get a phone call from a junior school; the parents of three children on my caseload have decided to home educate them and withdrawn them from school today. They have difficulty providing proper care for the children, and while they mentioned home schooling in the past, gave no indication they were going to take this step.
I had just completed a core assessment of them last week and it is awaiting approval – now it will have to be changed by Friday.
I visit a family where one child had cancer, now in remission. She tells me that when she was last in hospital, the doctors never asked her views about treatment. This surprises me. She tells me she felt very left out of these important decisions.
I visit the teenager I saw on Monday, and try to get to know him better. He’s polite but shares little, so developing the relationship will be a challenge.
Later, I visit the family who are home schooling. The children are happy about not going to school and looking forward to trips to museums and other activities. The parents have many ideas about what to teach the children, but I am worried about their lack of socialising with others.
I email the education department, alerting them to my concerns and hope whoever visits will be able to assess the effectiveness of the parent’s home education plan. Updating the core assessment takes the rest of the day and early evening.
The timescale on the case where I was struggling to trace the mother and child is up and writing the assessment takes all morning.
My manager asked me to transfer one of my cases to a colleague, as the client wants a female social worker. I take over one of my colleague’s cases in return – it involves two children in care. Their mother suffers from severe depression, making it hard for her to care for them. When I visit the children, they describe graphically their experience when their mother once spent three days in bed. Luckily a relative and neighbours helped out with cooking and getting them to school.
Source: Community Care