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Documentary about social workers, disturbing and sad(23 Posts)
Documentary about social workers, disturbing and sad
Very interesting but also terrible; perhaps goes some way to explaining some aspects of the work in some places.
Not sure that there is much to talk about but interesting!
PS there are mentions of rape, domestic abuse etc but no violent scenes.
I'm wondering why you've put this up IGH - it's 6 years old and I don't think the family support worker had the right to take in a secret camera, especially when it was being used to film service users without their knowledge.
I suspect things are much worse now, as the budget cuts bite deeper and deeper and social workers have overwhelming caseloads and are totally demoralised. Small wonder that some LAs are running with 30% vacancy rates, high sickness levels with stress related illnesses and a reliance on agency staff.
I think if you took a secret camera into many work environments you would hear similar sorts of comments, especially public services e.g. nurses, teachers and the police. This govt is starving public services of funds and at the same time expecting improved services and a 7 day week for NHS staff. Jeremy Hunt is trying to make junior doctors work 15 hour shifts because there is a 30 billion pound whole in the NHS budget. I'd better stop or I'll rant all night.
Just from reading the news it looks like two major changes since then have been
- far more children are taken into care now compared to 6 years ago - so presumably there is more funding and less closing of files (to stop them coming back to bit the sw according to one of the sw's in the film) and
- there has been the "step up" retraining programme which offered retraining fasttrack into the profession (I think) to a certain calibre of candidate with a decent grant provided
nananina - are you still in touch with the profession enough to know what difference these changes these things have made?
*ignore erroneous "these things"! And please do rant.
I'm not sure of the numbers of care proceedings now, compared to 2006. There was a definite increase (around 50% extra cases) in care proceedings following the Baby P case. I think it might have levelled out again.
What I do know most definitely is that there is not more funding. I know it sounds logical that when work increases, budgets should increase but that's not how it works. As I said this govt have demanded massive savings from all public services, and the cuts are now biting deeper than ever. As far as Children's Services are concerned it means that they are totally under resourced in all respects. Tonight on the news we heard that the NHS is heading for the biggest crisis ever in terms of it's overspend. The thing is if you cut budgets to the bone, but the work doesn't decrease, then there is going to be an overspend - you don't need to be an economist to work that one out.
This deficit was caused by the Banks, who were greedy and were pushing people to borrow money, and more money, and the Labour govt did nothing to stop them - they should have been regulated and that didn't happen. However the bankers are still awarding themselves massive bonuses. To pay for the deficit the govt are starving public services of funds by demanding massive savings, and this is in respect of social services, schools, police, NHS, fire service etc. Their salaries have been frozen for 5 years and now they are awarded 1% increase, fixed for the next 5 years!
The other thing is the way they are making the poorest and most disadvantaged people in society pay for the deficit. The dreadful Work Capability Test that deems people fit for work when they clearly aren't, especially people with mental health issues, because it's an invisible illness. Many people (around 40) with MH issues have committed suicide after being found fit for work, when they can barely leave the house.
I haven't heard of the "step-up" training programme. I don't approve of these fast-track schemes (there's one for teachers) because the govt believe you only need a good degree to be a teacher, which is not the case. So there may be one for social workers - the trouble is that the volume of the work is so great that there is no time for newly qualified workers to be coached and start gradually, as was the case in my day. Now they are expected to deal with highly complex cases when they are just out of college and sometimes young people in their 20s. Small wonder they can't cope......
You did say I could rant!
Worrying that this was happening before the cuts. Can only imagine the sutuation is much worse now.
The "step up" programme has been run by a private company in "partnership" with the government - ie the government is footing the bill I assume. The "grant" was about £19000 for the year. I had thought it was aimed at other professionals re qualifying, but you are right, nananina, that a new graduate with a 2.1 would be able to apply (I think).
Re numbers so far as I can gather from the press it has been steadily increasing year on year. If placement orders are down (I think?) since 2013 then that is an awful lot of children in care.
I agree about the cuts.
Would more family support hands on frequent work, help? Or more education for new parents? (sorry if these questions sound naïve - not my field)
I think it's at best debateable that you can blame the Labour government for Tory cuts to public spending. They're Tories. That's what they do. If you get a Tory and cut them right through the middle with a chainsaw* then you'll find they have 'cut public spending ' written right through them like a stick of rock.
*NB I am not recommending this. Unless it's George Osborne.
NanaNina Re I'm wondering why you've put this up IGH - it's 6 years old and I don't think the family support worker had the right to take in a secret camera, especially when it was being used to film service users without their knowledge.
I put it up because I found it interesting (and disturbing). I think as an adopter and for others who are going through the system as potential adopters it is helpful to understand some of the background to the way social services has worked.
I did not know how old it was but in one sense I am not sure it matters if it is six years old. It is not very old.
I can only comment on the secret filming to say that although I would hate to be secretly filmed at work, the identifies of people were not shown. And if I were under the pressure of those social workers and and support workers I would actually be glad someone had come in and shone a light on what was going on.
I actually think it is quite sympathetic to social workers and those working alongside them, showing how hard they worked in such terrible situations and how stressful it was.
Personally I certainly was not making any moral judgement on social workers by putting it up.
NanaNina if you, or anyone feels it is inappropriate or offensive you are welcome to report it and have it removed.
I think as someone whose child came from the kind of chaotic family that is shown in that documentary it is quite helpful to see how much or how little social services are able to do BUT it is, of course, a snap shot in time of one area and one time and I would not assume it is the same for all of the counties in the UK.
I am a social worker and the cuts have caused terrible situations. People with 65 children plus on their caseloads. Awful! Worst I have ever known it.
I am sure it is terrible. I think many social workers do a brilliant job, all those we met were great. Uncovering the situations of overwork is not being cruel to social workers, it is shedding light on the system failings.
I like my friends went into sw to make the world a better place (corny I know but I really did think I could make a difference). but in the end it felt like we had just become part of the problem.
onlyoranges I am sure you did help many. I had very positive experiences with social workers (as an adoptive parent).
I am a retired social worker/manager onlyoranges - I retired in 2004 and the writing was on the wall then, but I know the situation is horrendous now, especially in safeguarding, and I feel for all of you, fighting a losing battle. It must be utterly demoralising - it's a bit the same with teaching. People have no idea of the pressures.................you know I think social workers should leave LAs and work on a freelance basis, or a group of you could form a collective. You could then charge what you wanted for your service, plus travel, plus travel time etc., you'd need to factor in that you would be self employed and would have to pay tax and NI, holiday pay, sickness pay etc. BUT the LAs would have to "buy you in" and you could choose how much work you did.
After I retired I worked on a freelance basis for 5 years. PM me if you want more details
I'm sure freelancing works well for sws but I can't see how it does anything other than exacerbate the problems described here about a lack of funding and high workloads.
It's interesting that you say you felt you were becoming 'part of the problem' onlyoranges. It would be good to hear more about that. I certainly feel that the issues in sw go much deeper than those undoubtedly caused by austerity. It seems to me that it has been historically badly managed and that now even good staff have few places to look to see exemplary or even adequate practice. Very very sad. And only going to get worse.
We were told to do things that we knew were wrong. We tried to stand up to the managers but if you did they made your lives hell. We placed children in families we knew were not suitable but there were no other free beds and going to external agencies cost more money so the managers wouldn't approve it and there was more things we tried to water the decisions down but it was very hard. And there were worst things happening. I couldn't stand it. It made me very unwell.
Your quite right Jane freelancing does of course exacerbate the problems but this government is intent on pushing the privatisation agenda and would privatise social care if they could find buyers, but it's not a very popular purchase is it.......in the meantime social workers need to be able to use the skills and expertise that they have built up without being overloaded with work and bullied by managers, who are themselves being leaned on from senior managers to cut costs.
Safeguarding Children will be watered down with fast tracking service's, which will not work in the long term, more children in care, adoption's down by 45%, foster services in recruitment crisis, too name a few as a result of government intervention. No short cuts too a Quality service which always will be expensive too achieve in the short term but will work with investment.
That sounds awful, onlyoranges, and I am not surprised at all having spoken to a couple of LA CP lawyers, who had the same manager as the SWs and basically said the same thing, do what you are told or go (and given that most are locums that is not too difficult to enact). Do you have any other examples?
The other thing is that presumably paperwork has gone up since the requirements re reporting have changed, meaning that there is now more CP reporting as anyone working with children would prefer to report just in case rather than be faced with the consequences of not having reported.
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