What is social work? Championing those who have no one else to do so

Claudia Megele, co-chair of the Principal Children and Family Social Worker Network, reflects on the meaning of social work in this extract from the network's e-book released for World Social Work Day 2019

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Unfortunately, in life most people will tell you what’s not possible, a few will tell you what’s possible, less than a few will tell you to reach for the stars, even fewer will be your staunch advocate and committed supporter who believes in you and believes you’ll get there! Less than a handful will be there right next to you when it matters most in moments of heartache, pain, failure, loneliness and loss.

For most of us we turn to our close family and friends in difficult moments; moments when we feel most vulnerable, scared and confused. They give us light, hope, strength, kindness and love. Their kind words, listening ear and practical support means that the pain,  and discomfort starts to melt away and we are able to pick ourselves up and recover from some of the difficult experiences and moments life throws at us.

Unfortunately, at times, for some people there is no one to turn to, there is no champion that believes in them unconditionally, and there is no listening ear, kindness or care. In those instances, it’s social workers who are right there, next to you, showing kindness, empathy and understanding and offering practical advice and empowering support.

That is what social workers do and that is why social workers play such an important role in the lives of children and young people and their families. That is the challenge, the reward and the essence of what we do and why we do it.

In celebration of the World Social Work Day 2019, the Principal Children and Families Social Worker Network has published an e-book with a collection of stories and experiences from practitioners and leaders about human connection and relationships and relationship-based practice. The e-book, Promoting the importance of human relationships: World Social Work Day 2019is free to download until Sunday 24 March. Thereafter it will cost £0.99 and any proceeds/royalties will be donated to the charity, Every Child Leaving Care Matters, which campaigns for children in residential care to be supported until the age of 21, along the same lines as those in foster care. 

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