This week’s writer is a county council social worker

As a fieldworker in an area office in the centre of town I join the
daily scrum of shoppers in the search for a parking space. The
managers have the privilege of parking under the office where they
they have a sacrosanct space. And in a bid to stop us using
management’s privileges each parking space now has an allocated
licence plate number staring at you from high on the wall! The
principle of need over prestige is not one enjoyed in our social
services office.

Why do my colleagues have a chronic hung over look about them?
Could it be that our team of nine social workers is now four? Is it
because three of them are moonlighting in an attempt to make ends
meet? Or is it the office, roasting in summer and freezing in
winter. Who knows?

Oh! This place is wonderful. An example: following adoption
guidelines we are obliged to send a leaflet to birth parents
explaining adoption. Easy. Not so! No leaflets in the office. Try
family placement team. “Not for us to have them.” Try the county
adoption team. The person on the end of the phone finds one rather
old dusty copy and doesn’t want to part with it. Helpfully gives me
the number of BAAF Adoption and Fostering. Great, now I’m getting
somewhere. No. It’s a duff number. Back to square one. I know, try
Adoption HQ. Helpful person on the other end says each area has to
buy their own leaflets. Great. Gives me a number for BAAF. Success
this time. Will send me a catalogue. When the catalogue comes I
will have to put the order before the dreaded funding panel. This
could take weeks! Perhaps I should write my own; it would be a lot

I enjoy a car journey to a care proceedings hearing. It’s the only
peace I have where nobody can get at me. Shame about the hearing.
Essential to these directions was the absentee birth mother who had
decided she wasn’t well enough. As a consequence nobody could think
of any directions. The judge set another hearing the week before
Christmas. When I’m on leave. C’est la vie!

I am taking a 12-year-old offender to youth court for the first
time. It was my hope that she would be dealt with efficiently to
protect her a little from the awful environment. Not so. Inside the
waiting area there are what seems to be about 100 people, all with
the same 9.30 appointment. By 11.30 everybody is champing at the
bit. My own youngster, who had started out being more or less
terrified by the prospect of being in court had now spotted some of
her friends and began to feel much more comfortable. By the time
she actually reached the magistrates three hours later she had
sworn at the ushers, smoked herself silly and had fallen out with
her mother. Needless to say, the matter was not dealt with – it was
timetabled for three months’ time. What happened to fast

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.