Social work diary: ‘My service’s decision has left the teenage mother struggling’

A row about a pony, dieting and allowances all feature in a challenging week in child protection

mother and child
Picture credit: Gary Brigden (posed by models)


I have a case of a teenager with a baby and an abusive boyfriend; she has been in care and now lives with her sister. She had been paid an allowance agreed by one of our old service managers but we’ve been told this is to be withdrawn. The sister relies on it and cannot understand why it is being stopped. Me neither.


I visit a family where the parents are separated and locked in a residence and contact battle. As is so often the case, it is very acrimonious but it’s a middle class family. There is a row over whether to buy the child a pony. The child tells me they’d like an alligator but their bath isn’t big enough to keep one. This will be an interesting report to write.

The rest of the day is spent completing referral forms for cases. They are usually lengthy, requiring the referrer to know the family in the minutest detail.


A colleague has being doing research on emotional eating and how this affects weight gain. They want to use these ideas in their work with overweight clients. Around us the office is full of people eating biscuits and sandwiches at their desks at all hours of the day. Perhaps we should use this idea with ourselves first.


I visit the family affected by the decision to withdraw the allowance that was made on Monday. It is difficult to justify it, apart from being a new interpretation of the rules. Now the young person has to use most of her benefit payments to help the pay the household bills.

I can only think how much better it would have been to phase out the payments rather than stop them abruptly.

The family are now going to get bogged down in the complaints system which will take attention off the mother’s attempts to manage things with the violent father and look after the child.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.