Social work diary: ‘I end the week with my values intact’

As the festive period approaches, this children’s social worker faces a challenging week

A santa toy and christmas tree
Picture: Kevin Dooley (Flickr)

By an anonymous social worker

Monday

I visit a school to talk to a child of one of the families I’m working with. We happily talk about pets and Christmas but when asked about his family he cannot remember anything. The family are very resistant. No doubt he’s been told to develop amnesia.

Tuesday

The team leader tells us all to refer families for Christmas parcels before Friday’s deadline. Trying to talk to colleagues about how this reinforces our clients’ dependency and poverty receives only derisory laughter.

This afternoon I get a call from a school saying that a parent on one of my cases has withdrawn her children to home educate them. When I visit later the parent tells me it was something they had planned for some time. Doing it all at the start of my assessment of the family still seems like more than a coincidence.

Wednesday

A school rings and tells me a child I work with has been excluded for disruptive behaviour. She’s told her teacher she wants to join her mother who died a number of years ago. She lives with a relative who seems much put upon and thinks the girl is plotting against her.

I visit that evening and have a long talk with the girl about things that she does well, how she misses her mother and about death and dying. She draws me pictures of her mum and we share stories about losses we have had.

Thursday

I check with yesterday’s family and find the girl is her normal self. It seems the talk we had was useful.

This afternoon I visit a child with severe development issues. Although it is my first visit he greets me like a long lost brother, wants to show me all around the house and talks incessantly for an hour. Small wonder his mother finds each day very stressful. The news that his school cannot manage him and he will have to move again adds to her worries.

Friday

I visit a family to start an assessment. The father is from abroad and tells me that as the children have the nationality of his country we should not interfere. I carefully explain through the interpreter that as they are living in this country they have to obey the laws. He says he will go to his country’s embassy for the final word on it.

The deadline for the charity Christmas parcels has gone and I have forgotten to submit the forms. I do not tell colleagues, so end the week with my values intact.

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