Social work diary: ‘My worries about the child haunted me all weekend’

Police reports, placement reviews and pop groups all feature in a testing week for this anonymous child protection social worker


Last Friday I visited a young boy who had been placed for adoption. The atmosphere was very tense. The boy was unusually reticent and the adopters were reluctant to let me see him on his own. They told me it would upset the child. My unease over the situation has haunted me all weekend, so first thing today I contact the adoption agency and ask the allocated worker to visit urgently.

I get a police report on a family where the father has left his wife and taken the children to live with his parents. Last night he went to back to the house and an argument with his wife broke out into a fight. The children were in dad’s car and got drawn in before police restored a semblance of order. I can see this becoming a regular occurrence.


Today I visit a family where the children are very overweight. It has got so bad they are on a child protection plan, but even the best advice is making no progress.

The mother says the children only have to look at food and they put on weight. When dinner time arrives many cakes, biscuits and pizza are eaten in front of the TV. We will have to go back to basics on this one.


I ring the adoption agency that I tried to contact on Monday. They tell me that the relevant worker has gone off sick. Their manager promises to send someone from the team as soon as he can.


I visit a new case that’s been passed on from a colleague who’s left. The young girl is struggling with anxiety and the fear of her mother’s violent partner returning. However she is easy to talk to and very soon I know all about her favourite pop group and how she’s looking forward to going to see them soon.

When she goes downstairs and her mother mildly rebukes her over something, the girl becomes angry, screaming and shouting out of all proportion. Underneath her outburst I hear a real sense of frustration. This case will take a lot of work to unravel.


I get some feedback from the adoption agency. Apparently the adoptive couple are separating. Much now needs to be done, including a placement review and a rethink about the child’s future.

Back at the office Friday is treats day and team members buy large amounts of cakes, biscuits and chocolate which are devoured throughout the day. I hope the family I saw Tuesday don’t find out about what we get up to.

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