Diary of a children’s centre leader


Numbers , numbers and more numbers. I know we are reaching loads of vulnerable families but our database doesn’t reflect this. I spend the day analysing the figures we have and finding ways of recording our outcomes for those white, employed, older parents who we are supporting because of their mental health needs or because of domestic abuse. I meet with my team who are working above and beyond expectations to support them. I can ask no more of them and yet we are constantly being told by the powers that be that we are not doing enough.


We have our advisory board meeting today. Several professional colleagues fail to arrive. However, our four parent members push their buggies through wind and rain to get there. They have loads of great ideas and their children also make a very vocal contribution. We must be getting something right.


Apparently David Cameron wants to replace our outreach team with health visitors. Try telling that to our linked health visitor who reports today that we have transformed the life of some of her families. Of course she wants more health colleagues but she tells us she wants more of us too. She says she can’t imagine how she could do her job without us now. Try telling that to Mr Cameron.


A trip to the zoo. Three coaches full of families join us. They are all so excited. It is fantastic to see them having fun together. Parents tell us they would never be able to do this without us. They take photos and the children draw pictures for us to tell us all about their day. It’s great for me to spend time with real live families again. It’s just a shame I have to be in charge of the sick bucket.


We are worried about one of our families. The parents have separated and mum has obsessive compulsive disorder. She follows her little boy everywhere he goes, removing anything she considers to be a hazard; even soft toys and books. Her house is immaculate – a germ-free zone; her son has nowhere to explore. There are signs her illness is having an adverse effect on her son’s development. The health visitor is concerned too. I made a referral to my colleagues in social care who said they would make an assessment. Today they tell me they have visited and will be taking no further action because the child appears well cared for. Well what a surprise.

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