Diary: A personal take on the working week


The Sunday Telegraph is running a campaign accusing social services of persecuting parents and wrongly getting their children adopted to fill targets. It is in its sixth week with no opposing view printed. Either no one from social work has challenged it or the editorial line is not to print alternative views. Sadly either could be true.


Visit a family to do an initial assessment. The house is dark and dingy and the living room ceiling and floor has the marks of a pole used for pole dancing. The house is devoted to fetishism and unsurprisingly the teenage child looks depressed and he is overweight. Father says he cannot do things with his son due to work commitments. I talk to him about not allowing his interest to get in the way of meeting his son’s needs, but I feel he is not listening.


Wake up worrying about that case. At the office I speak to my manager and the police, but there is not enough evidence for an investigation. Ask for it to be allocated for core assessment and speak to the boy’s school and a sympathetic relative. There is nothing more I can do.


The team I am working with (and the whole organisation) are being reorganised. Two teams are being amalgamated even as an agency worker I cannot help but be affected by the process. Some team members get on with things, others are upset, others cynical. There is a high level of anxiety and noise as the merger gets closer. At times of change people let go of their feelings.


At 5 pm I am called to a police station for a 15 year old assaulted by her mother after an argument. She is from a middle class home, goes to a private school, on skiing holidays and to horse races. When her father comes to speak to us he stresses how much he has given to her and is doing for her. Working class families would say the opposite: “look what they are doing to me”. I agree with the police that she will not be safe if she goes home and I want to use police protection powers. But the father eventually agrees to her staying with a friend’s family till next day. I feel I am working in partnership with him to protect his child what would the Sunday Telegraph say about that? I finish at 10 pm, feeling ravenously hungry. Resolve to get something healthy to put in my briefcase in case I have another late night.


Hand last night’s case to the child protection team and attend a meeting with a psychiatrist who ends every sentence with the word “yah”, in the style of the 1980s “Sloane Ranger”. Then I visit a family whose mother grew up in Yorkshire during the miner’s strike of 1984 and she remembers those events very vividly. So do I. It is a world away from pole dancing!

At lunchtime a manager who is leaving to manage a team at another authority tells us at his leaving party that, in fact, he does not know where he is going. Is this real or have I missed some gossip?

Go home and read the latest and, sadly, last Harry Potter book. At least his world is falling into place at last.

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