Social work diary: ‘The boy opens up to me for the first time in months’

Just when a child demands my full attention I find myself worrying about paperwork, writes a social worker

Boy on chair
Photot: Image Source/Rex Features

By an anonymous social worker

Monday

I speak to a children’s centre to ask if one of my families can come on a parenting group they are running. They agree. These kinds of things often take a long time to sort out – when I asked last week they turned me down – so it is amazing that everything’s been sorted so quickly this morning. I hope rest of the week is like this.

Tuesday

I visit a young mother on behalf of a colleague. She has eluded other colleagues today and the address is hard to find. She has a young baby and a slightly older Rottweiler. The mother shows me how well the baby and dog get on. When I warn that the dog could become viscous my words fall on deaf ears.

Wednesday

The family I’m visiting for the first time haven’t received the phone message I left to let them know I was coming. They plead having no credit. Sometimes mobile phones seem to militate against communication. It would have been better to have sent a letter but there is little time for that.

I go through the child-in-need plan with them that my team has inherited. The family complain that it is all from the past and that is too negative. I sympathise with them. The assessment takes no notice of their strengths, just their problems. I agree that we can make a new plan.

Thursday

I visit a young person in school. For first time in months he opens up to me and tells me something that changes my view of family relations.

While he is talking I start to worry whether I will be able to get the report of this visit on the recording system within the required 24 hours, just when he needs my full attention. Small wonder I often feel like a unit of production.

Later I visit a family who I have been trying to see for several weeks, but both parents are at university in the day. When I finally get to see their son he is a bright and happy three-year-old. We spend most of the visit with him trying to tie my shoelaces.

He is smart. It is difficult to arrange a further visit because their routines revolve around university, private study, praying, church meetings and services, but we finally settle on a date.

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One Response to Social work diary: ‘The boy opens up to me for the first time in months’

  1. Barbara MacArthur April 24, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    “I start to worry whether I will be able to get the report of this visit on the recording system within the required 24 hours” – Nothing changes. Reminds me of when I was a social worker in the 1960s/1970s etc., lists of referrals were longer, hours long and pay miserly. I was told to keep records ‘up-to-date’ so when I was told that I must visit an elderly man who a councillor had referred as “Dishevelled, Uncouth and unkempt”, I wrote on the file – “Visited, Mr. so-and-so – found him to be Shevelled, couth and kempt”.