The Broken Swing: a poem on social work

A social worker captures the challenges of meeting children's expectations in this poem, inspired by a family she worked with

Photo by AdobeStock/my_stock

by Rosie R

I find writing about my social worker casework a cathartic experience – a means of support for some of the sadness and despair that the role can bring.

This poem was inspired by a case from a couple of years ago, where a young person trusted me with her worries, asking for my help. She particularly loved a high swing ride, and this became a focus for me to illustrate her journey.

Her hopes had been around her parents “changing and improving” for her but, sadly, that did not correlate with what the local authority needed to do to keep her safe. As a result, she began to be less open with me. Her parents also blamed me for their shortcomings.

I think sometimes what we need to do falls short of children’s expectations, since their views are understandably simplistic and childlike. I reflected on this when I discussed the case in supervision, as I felt initially that I had let the young person down.

The broken swing by Rosie R


One Response to The Broken Swing: a poem on social work

  1. Ruth Clelland July 13, 2023 at 1:11 am #

    Really lovely poem and a great way to reflect about such a sad situation.