Leading up to the release of Professor Eileen Munro’s first report on children’s services, children’s minister Tim Loughton spent last week shadowing frontline social workers in Stockport. He told Community Care about his experience.
“Most of the time I was going out on casework with frontline staff on the family team – I even did some late-night calls. I also sat in on the local safeguarding children board and observed the community outreach team. Wednesday, I spent at the University of Chester to meet the new students in their Step up to Social Work programme.
“I think I had a pretty wide range of exposure and it was extremely eye-opening for me. Just seeing how the frontline social workers conducted their morning meetings gave me a lot of insight.
“I spent my first day out with a social worker who picked up a 10-year-old boy to spend sometime with him and was slaughtered – along with the social worker – in a game of pool.
“We also went into some pretty squalid places. I saw a mum with four young children living in a flat literally without any food in it. The children were trying to eat whatever they could find on the floor. It really brought home to me the extremely tough calls social workers have to make. The children were in a bad place, but where would putting them into care take them?
“I feel completely knackered after one week and these social workers are doing this day after day – they don’t get to go home like I did. It really opened my eyes.”
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