A letter to the social worker who changed my life

A care-experienced young person writes about the difference a supportive social worker made

Photo: CDStock/Fotolia

Dear Mel,

I wanted to write this letter to you to help you see the positive difference you have made in my life. I remember one of the first times I met you, I was helping another care-experienced young person express her grievances to you. You did everything you could to ensure the young person felt her voice was heard and you handled the situation with a great deal of empathy. I remember walking away from that meeting and thinking wow, this ‘corporate parent’ really does care.

Despite having a very senior leadership position in children’s services, you still made the time and commitment to support a care-experienced young person who was experiencing great difficulties.

Before you started to support me I felt I was very much on a destructive path, I had lost sight of my goals and all hope of achieving my aspirations. I have experienced many emotional difficulties trying to deal with the abuse and trauma I suffered. You not only supported me through my period of self-destruction, you also gave me hope that life can and will be better. You made me see that I was much more than the words of my abusers.

You have not only gone above and beyond to make me feel that I am worthy and that I can reach any aspirations that I have, you have given me the platform to show the very individuals who doubted me that I can and will succeed.

Learning to trust you was difficult. I can remember how I would question your motives and create barriers to test you to see if you would give up on me like others have done in the past. Because why would anyone want to support me when my own mother didn’t.  However, no matter what behaviours I demonstrated you always held me in positive regard and never once gave up or turned your back on me. You have always pushed me to aim high and reach for my goals.

Without your support I would have struggled to gain a place at university. I never thought that I, a care experienced young person, would have my first year at university nearly under my belt. The progress I have made and continue to make with your support and commitment is phenomenal. I have gone from a young person who had lost sight of who she was to a young person who is reaching her full potential and defying all the odds stacked against me.

Many people seem to be so disapproving of social workers but for me you have been my saviour, the person that saved me from the destructive path I was on. You saw that I was broken and piece by piece you have helped me put my self back together. There is no doubt that without your support, help and guidance I wouldn’t be the young person I am today. You very much inspire me to be the best version of me that I can be. My future, which was once bleak, is now bright and full of ambition.

You’ve made an outstanding difference to me and for that I will always be thankful.



This letter was written by Beth Goodliffe. Beth is an ambassador for A National Voice (ANV), a programme run by Coram Voice for young people aged 16-25 with experience of being in care. ANV empowers young care-experienced people to raise awareness and influence national policy.

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6 Responses to A letter to the social worker who changed my life

  1. MDA Dhlamini March 19, 2019 at 7:31 pm #

    Thanks for sharing a good side of the social worker and I am very proud of that social worker who brought up light on some one’s life.
    MDA Dhlamini
    Proud social worker

    • Faith Nthute March 20, 2019 at 2:17 am #

      I am a Social Worker, it is not easy these days.in our world of work. One has to be selfless and commit to impact people lives .

      I am inspired by the Social Worker

    • Jan Davies March 20, 2019 at 3:04 am #

      This is what makes our job worth while.

      Very well done indeed Mel. Beth feels that you have gone above and beyond her expectations of a Social Worker.

  2. George Gale SNR March 19, 2019 at 11:58 pm #

    There are caring managers but very very few, you are lucky to find a great lady, respect to her

  3. Nic Ward March 29, 2019 at 9:33 pm #

    20 years for me in residential childcare. The best job in the world! Such an honour to make memories with some truly fabulous young people x

  4. Janice Porter April 4, 2019 at 11:01 am #

    A great reminder of why I chose this profession. Xx