Book about realities of child protection work wins award

Freya Barrington's book about child protection, 'Known to Social Services', won in the biography/autobiography/memoir category at the London Book Festival.

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Photo: WestEnd61/REX Shuttershock

A book about the realities of being a children’s social worker has been awarded a top prize at the 2015 London Book Festival.

‘Known To Social Services’, written by former child protection social worker Freya Barrington, won best book in the biography/autobiography/memoir category.

The book follows a fictional social worker and her caseload in the “grim, grey world of (fictional) Deacon Hill estate in Millbrook and the tormented lives of its inhabitants”.

In an interview with Community Care last year, Barrington said the book was informed by her time as a social worker, and she wanted to raise awareness of the “impossible task” of social work.

Bestseller

Since it was published, the book has been a bestseller in the social work category on Amazon, and received 22 five-star reviews.

Barrington said she was “truly speechless” when she discovered the book had won.

“My motivation for such a book was to raise the profile for social workers and to try to give the general public an accurate picture of what our job is really like,” she said.

She added: “That a debut novel should win a section of a major book festival is a notable feat for any author, but for a book of such specific genre, I felt that in acknowledging the book as the winner, the judges had been insightful enough to recognise and endorse my objectives for the book.”

Barrington said the book had filled a gap for reading material for students and qualified social workers, and she has been invited to speak at universities about it. A sequel is currently planned to be published around Easter.

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