Social work diary: ‘The mum and children need to be heard’

A children's social worker reflects on a challenging week...

Picture: patpitchaya/fotolia


It’s been a quiet weekend for my cases; two have needed emergency intervention recently. I know it makes work for duty if I’m not in on a Monday morning.

At a child protection conference, there’s been no progress on a case. The parent brings a solicitor and after some persuasion, agrees to work with us on solicitor’s advice. It’s a relief as visiting the parent was difficult, although the children and I get along well.


I‘ve taken a case from a colleague who is sick. A case conference is due and the children have been on a child protection plan for 18 months. Their mother has a reputation for abusing all professionals and is genuinely intimidating.

At a core group she complains vigorously about various professionals including the former social worker, whom she claims she never saw.

The meeting could get difficult, so I explain it will help if we can all act politely. It helps calm things and afterwards I invite her to put her complaints in writing so they can be addressed properly.


I visit the children from yesterday’s conference. One just cannot manage in mainstream school and her sister enjoys being notorious in school for her misbehaviour. Thankfully, the younger children appear more stable and do well in junior school.

A news item today is of a local authority’s children services being taken over by a trust after poor Ofsted ratings. It’s a warning to us all, which overshadows the good work being done there.


This morning I have numerous emails from the mother on Tuesday’s case. She feels the family are continually let down by professionals not keeping promises. I write saying I’ll reply on Monday.

I will compose a response over the weekend and devise a way of working the child protection plan with mother and the children. The important thing is to make sure both mother and children are heard and we put the children’s needs first.

Checking the file, I see that a decision of a case conference to refer the family to the child and family consultation service was never done. I can see mother has a point.


Colleagues talk of a TV programme about the authority being taken over by a trust. There’s been staff shortages, low morale and poor decision making over a prolonged period; it could apply to many places.

I get a call from a parent wanting to discharge her child from Section 20 care. It’s a serious neglect case that’s going for care proceedings, so after talking to our legal services I make a visit to talk it through with her. I brief emergency duty, hoping it doesn’t come up over the weekend.

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