Protecting our Children: Episode 3

Our guide to episode 3 of the BBC social work documentary


Protect the children - trio

Camilla Pemberton examines the response of social workers to the second episode of the BBC’s documentary series Protecting Our Children

Monday night’s episode of the BBC series Protecting Our Children seemed to provoke an even more positive online reaction than the first – even winning over some of the first film’s critics.

In particular, there was huge praise on Twitter and our live debate for the empathetic and calm-headed approach of social worker Annie (pictured) – seen supporting young couple Shaun and Marva during their fourth pregnancy – and her manager Arthur.

There was animated discussion, and some amusement, at the sight of Annie flanked by two burly security guards during home visits. (The security guards, like the social workers, were employed by Bristol Council for all the viewers who asked last night).

There was debate around the role of adult services in child protection cases, to support parents with mental health and substance misuse problems – as we saw last night. And of course there was the all-important question of whether the series will improve the public perception of social work. (Most viewers said they were hopeful but not quite convinced yet.)

twitter.jpgHere’s a quick round-up of views, thoughts and reflections from the web (more to follow soon):

@VjLupton (via Twitter)
Even more sure I’m doing right by getting my degree after #protectingourchildren amazing people making a difference.

@CathyAshley Family Rights Group (via Twitter)
Very moving #protectingourchildren. Sympathetic portrayal of all involved. Complete respect for social worker & her manager.

@mwilliamsthomas (via Twitter)
Half way through prog- very impressed so far – Annie a credit to the profession @ComCareChildren #protectingourchildren”

@mrspentleton (via Twitter)
#protectingourchildren. Massive respect 2 the SW. Massive respect 2 the foster carer. Everyone should watch this. Pay attention media!

@SteveDonnan (via Twitter)
Social workers get such a bad rap, I think they do an incredibly difficult and dangerous job. Takes great strength #protectingourchildren

@BASW_UK British Association of Social Workers (via Twitter)
Social worker showing great resilience & empathy, lets hope her other 14 cases are not as challenging!

And you can replay our debate from last night here:

Episode Three: Meet the main characters

Louise - Protecting our Children

Louise: Social worker

Louise has been a child protection social worker for eight years. Viewers will see her trying to assess whether a couple – who both have drug problems and had their baby removed at birth and placed in temporary care – are capable of caring for their child.
Ben - Protecting our Children

Ben: Senior social worker

Ben is a senior social worker on a duty and assessment team and has been working in child protection for the last 12 years. Viewers will see him dealing with reports that a child is at risk of being sexually abused by his mother’s boyfriend – a known paedophile.


Ellen - Protect our Children

Ellen: Senior social worker

Ellen is a senior social worker with seven years’ experience. For the past year she has also been working on a duty and assessment team. Viewers will see her trying to help a single mother make her flat safe and hygienic enough for her seven-year-old to return home.

Protecting Our Children: The spearhead of a new movement?

Yvalia Febrer

Yvalia Febrer, a senior practitioner in Richmond’s children and families team, describes the reactions of her colleagues and friends to the BBC’s Protecting Our Children and explains why the high-profile series should leave a lasting legacy for social workers.

Lessons for social work

Lucy Rai

Lucy Rai, senior social work lecturer at the Open University, which co-produced Protecting Our Children, discusses some of the important issues arising from the final episode

How to improve your practice

Our series of comprehensive Inform guides to alcohol misuse, hospital social work and supervision can help ensure you keep the children on your caseload safe


Guide to the assessment and support of non-abusing carers in circumstances of reported sexual abuse committed by an adult in the family

Guide to the impact of parental substance misuse on child development

Guide to substance misuse related disorders and the impact on parenting

Reference manual

Parental substance misuse

Looked-after children – kinship care

Not an Inform user?

Visit or call Kim Poupart on 0208 652 4848 to find out more about Inform

Free looked-after children guide

looked-after child

To mark the screening of Protecting Our Children, Community Care Inform is offering free copies of an expert-written, in depth guide to care planning, placement choice and review in relation to looked-after children (©AAPix/Alamy)

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Replay last week’s debate

We round up some of the best comments from last week’s Protecting Our Children live chat. Plus, you can read all the comments by replaying the whole discussion.

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