Social work diary: ‘The boy is finding the changes hard’

A children's social worker reflects on a week on the frontline


One of my clients is a habitual offender, but as he’s not very good at it, he keeps being caught. At a case conference on his family today, it was decided to refer him to another agency. There are already many agencies involved: the family gets confused about who does what and I can sympathise.

I wonder if the conference professionals think that the more agencies involved, the quicker the family will have positive outcomes.


I visit a young girl who has been in care several months. When I used to visit her in school she was an unhappy child. She had much to feel unhappy about as she’d already sensed she was at the age when her parents could not meet her needs. It was even clearer there was no space for her once a new baby came along.

So what started off as a respite placement shows little chance of her going back home. She seems to be much happier now and shows me her toy whale, which she uses in the bath. She has christened it ‘Mr Splashy Pants’, which I tell her is a great name for a whale! I shall miss her if I have to pass the case over to the looked after children team.


I visit a boy who’s just changed schools after his parents had an argument with staff over something minor. He’s found the change hard to deal with, as mum and dad vilified his former teachers that he got on very well with.

Today he is a little brighter, as his class just studied the origins of some words. He learned that “penguin” comes from the Welsh meaning “white head” because Welsh sailors on an Elizabethan ship were the first to see them and named them using their own language.


Today I finish off a core assessment on a case where I have been very reliant on colleagues to provide me with information. I’ve seen the family twice but they have not engaged and avoided meetings.

The core assessment will enable the case to be downgraded to basic monitoring, but I cannot contribute much of my own input. While we are supposed to have virtually encyclopaedic knowledge of families, this cannot always be achieved when there are more pressing priorities.


The team’s office is in a business park and remote from shops. Our midday hunger is assuaged by the timely arrival each day of the sandwich van. For a while, I mistook its chimes for an ice cream seller, which seemed odd as it is winter.

After a child in need meeting this afternoon, two colleagues express surprise that the family’s mother teaches Bible study despite her mental health problems. I suggest that when mother’s beliefs are strong, this could help her manage her difficulties and get support for the children at the same time.

I wonder why professional generalise about mental health problems, thinking sufferers cannot have ability in other areas of their lives.

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One Response to Social work diary: ‘The boy is finding the changes hard’

  1. chrissie April 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    I couldn’t do this job-more power and credit to you.