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Are you scared of Social Workers?

(423 Posts)
JugsyMalone Tue 31-Jan-12 18:44:49

I watched something on TV last night about social workers. I thought they were perfectly reasonable people trying to do a hard job. However, there was this nagging voice in my head saying "if they saw the house right now...." Laundry overflowing (far too much school uniform, a one use towel habit in the house and the dog's muddy paws in winter), mucky carpet (dog/winter/hoover needs replaced), we are all messy people and the toilet seat is broken, again. I desperately need to redecorate.

We sometimes have takeaways or good M&S ready meals and I smoke fags now and then in the garden. Sometimes I get pissed on a Friday with my mates. Sometimes their kids and mine are upstairs playing on xbox and eating chocolate and pizza whilst we get pissed and do kaeroke (sp?) dowstairs. I also hate getting up early on the weekend and let the kids watch (slightly) over age films, with me.

I have had 2 contacts with SWs ever, one to get DS2 into a special nursery (years ago). They were really kind and nice. Another (even more years ago) to get help with points to get a council house due to poor living conditions in a horrible flat, again really helpful.

But an unscheduled visit? OMG - have done laundry and kitchen and hoovering after watching TV.

I know IABU but wondered if anyone else felt this way?

hiddenhome Tue 31-Jan-12 18:47:20

I have learnt through bitter experience that anybody in so called authority is not to be trusted and will lie, manipulate and misrepresent in order to get their own way and drop you in it at every given opportunity, so, no, I don't trust social workers. I'm sure some of them might be doing a good job, but there are many arses around and some of them are just plain psychopathic.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 31-Jan-12 18:47:22

I used to do assessments for Social Services and I can tell you, my house is a mess, I sometimes get pissed on a Friday, I have takeaways, my DD eats pizza. They don't have the time or inclination to care about the above. don't be scared!!!

theincredibequeenofwands Tue 31-Jan-12 18:47:30

Never dealt with one but I know where you're coming from.

On days where I've worked a few shifts in a row mess and laundry tends to pile up.

aldiwhore Tue 31-Jan-12 18:48:57

Yes probably, but not just with social workers, any unannounced visitor!!

I do think people judge on fairly minor things sometimes, so maybe a social worker, being human, is also prone to judgement... saying THAT, they are also trained to see beyond the small stuff aren't they? So my washing mountain should never ring alarm bells with them.

I think people are scary. Social workers are probably less so, but there's always the potential for not getting it right.

Any unscheduled visitor makes me cringe, even if the house is okay. We're a very 'drawbridge up' kind of family.

FelicityWits Tue 31-Jan-12 18:51:27

I'm friends with a couple of social workers and they are amazing people who do a really difficult job and couldn't care less about piles of laundry/mess/scribbling on the walls.

However the more their job gets bogged down with paperwork and bureaucracy and 'cost-cutting' measures the harder it gets for the decent SWs.

We recently had some experienced with CAFCASS and I went into it with a very positive attitude. What happened turned me into a distrusting, cynical and very frustrated person and I am articulate enough to be able to argue my corner without losing my temper, and able to navigate forms and impenetrable reports etc. Many people aren't so fortunate.

But to answer your question, I don't worry very much about SWs seeing the state of the house because you get lots of chances to tidy up before they take any action and that's if you really are living in a shitpit, which your house wouldn't qualify for.

Sounds like you're more scared of being judged?

LynetteScavo Tue 31-Jan-12 18:52:03

I have never met a house proud social worker.

lisaro Tue 31-Jan-12 18:53:16

No, I'm not in any position personally to be, but I do know that the profession is open to very varying standards (and, indeed,ethics).

Spero Tue 31-Jan-12 18:54:29

Do you let your dogs crap on the floor and do you let the poo pile up?

Are you taking crack with your wine?

Are your children covered in bruises for which you can provide no explanation?

Is your partner hitting you and or your children?

If the answer to all of the above is no I think you will be ok.

No wait, scrap that as hiddenhome points out, there is probably a social worker in the bushes outside RIGHT NOW cackling with maniacal glee as she concocts a tissue of lies in order to snatch your children to fulfil government mandated adoption targets.

Don't open the door, whatever you do.

hiddenhome Tue 31-Jan-12 18:55:02

Social Workers have a lot of power under them and I have heard of cases where they have gone into courts of protection and told downright lies.

Due to growing up in care I am totally paranoid about having my kids taken from me and will only relax once they're 16. I keep a clean and tidy house, but I'm always aware that it only takes one vindictive person to send your life into freefall. This is why I don't push for more help for ds1. We keep ourselves to ourselves and trouble no one. I only go to the doctors if I really need to and make sure the dcs never get sick and are always clean and well presented for school.

Melindaaa Tue 31-Jan-12 18:55:15

Nope, wouldn't bother me at all. Having seen the programme that was on last night I can be utterly confident that I am million miles from being in that situation, thankfully. My house is always clean and tidy, apart from maybe a few toys on the playroom floor, laundry is always up to date, and my children are healthy, fed and clean.

hiddenhome Tue 31-Jan-12 18:56:26

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

JugsyMalone Tue 31-Jan-12 18:57:30

AldiWhore - yes, that's it I think. I just hate anyone coming to the door unannounced. I had reported a theft to the safer neighbourhood team (local police) once. They came for an appointment, they were great, I gave them tea in clean (previously bleached) mugs, penguins and was generally a good host.

One of the coppers came back for a chat (thinking I liked visitors I imagine?!) and I hid in the hallway but he continued his "policeman's knock" until I opened the door and then.....he saw the mess.

He said, "what are you doing this afternoon - housework I would imagine?"

Cringe!

WillCrossThatBridge Tue 31-Jan-12 18:58:02

Q. What's the difference between a social worker and a Rottweiler?

A. A Rottweiler will let you keep your baby!

I studied psychology and we had a shared lecture on Abnormal Psychology with some social work students- the lecturer (a psychologist!) waited until the social work students were out on placement one week and told that joke. A few po-faced social work students had actually made the effort to come to the lecture after all and were not amused!

Seriously, though, no, I am not scared of them. I trust that most of them can tell the difference between normal mess and slighly lax parenting and actual abuse or neglect.

However, I know some people do have bad experiences with them and I have never even had contact with them (apart from the fact that my mum was a social worker before I was born...) so I guess I am lucky enough to never have been given any reason to fear them or worry about them.

Chubfuddler Tue 31-Jan-12 18:58:02

Nope. But I have no reason to imagine one is going to turn up on my doorstep. My husband spent some time in care and the sceptre of SS does loom over him though.

scurryfunge Tue 31-Jan-12 18:58:15

Wow, hidden home. Just how many people in authority have you had a bad experience with to have that view?

lesley33 Tue 31-Jan-12 18:58:49

social workers and anyone working in these types of fields regularly sees really filthy houses - faeces lying around, etc. They also regularly see real neglect - kids not being fed, having no bed or bedding, etc. Honestly, unless you are in how clean is your house territory or really neglect your children, I think they would be less judgemental than most people.

In fact I know some of the inquiries into child deaths have highlighted problems with social workers becoming to used to terrible neglect and filth and so not being as judgemental as most people.

keepingupwiththejoneses Tue 31-Jan-12 18:59:04

I have seen both sides of the argument. I have a lovely social worker for ds3, she is from our local children with disabilities team, I wasn't sure at first but in our area it is the only way you can get any respite and she has been nothing but helpful. On the other hand I have a friend who was in contact with the same team, different social worker, who had her son removed from them because the social worker ticked the wrong box whilst doing the first assessment. She had to fight through the courts to get him back as the social worker who did it lied and said she hadn't, she had ticked the box to say he had been sexually abused shock. Another friend has had nothing but problems with her social workers (x3) the most recent being about 3 weeks ago. Whilst doing a regular review she left the room to go upstairs to get some paperwork and came down to the social worker virtually interrogation her son who has downs, with communication problems and verbal dyspraxia. Needless to say she has put in a complaint!
Where I work, we have trainee social workers come in on placement and all of them who have been in are really nice.

Spero Tue 31-Jan-12 18:59:06

I too have heard of these cases where the social workers tell such damnable lies. So do the police, who took the children into police protection. so too did the paediatric radiologists who x rayed the broken bones. But it wasnt me who twisted his arm! Cries the parent. Those social workwrs are all liars.

As we have established 'anyone' in authority will just lie at the drop of a hat. Bastards.

Spero Tue 31-Jan-12 19:00:23

Hiddenhome I have represented parents, local authorities and guardians for over ten years in child protection proceedings. My opinions are very firmly based on evidence.

JugsyMalone Tue 31-Jan-12 19:03:12

One thing I was wondering about with SWs and the new crackdown on welfare.

Let us say Judy is a single parent to 4 children - the youngest is over 7 (or whatever the age for not being on income support is now).

She is really struggling, she is under the SWs and her teenagers are going off the rails and she has been given "parenting plans" to fulfill rather than her kids going into care.

Does she also have to look for work?

wahwahwah Tue 31-Jan-12 19:04:08

No. Friend's mum was one and she was a complete and utter loon.

diabolo Tue 31-Jan-12 19:05:00

hidden are you OK?

I work in Child Protection in a rough estate school so have to deal with lots of Social Workers. I find them mostly to be helpful and really only interested in the welfare of the children they are trying to help.

They will do almost anything not to remove a child from its home, even though sometimes I feel it would be for the best. Occasionally, I feel they don't go far enough, but then, I have to deal with some pretty horrible things.

They go out of their way to visit families on evenings and weekends, which I never would have believed before doing the job. Unscheduled visits are part of the job - they want to make sure your child isn't sitting on the floor with a black eye, a broken arm, and in a pile of dog poo.

Sometimes I can see why people are distrustful of them, certain SW's do often "talk down" to people they perceive as being less educated than they are, and some do wear very strange clothes (black hot pants, green leggings with purple lace-up knee high boots anyone? For work????? As a "professional"????)

On the whole, I think they get a lot of undeserved bad press. And the pay is shit. Yes - I would trust a Social Worker.

Spero Tue 31-Jan-12 19:07:00

I guess if her benefits are cut she will have to look for work. The gov is then either going to have to spend money on more nurseries or more foster parents as a single mother who struggles to parent well won't get any better when she is trying to work as well.

But having said that, best thing that ever happened to one of my clients was getting a job in her local supermarket. She thrived, they made her a supervisor quite quickly and for first time in a long time she was able to stop taking drugs. BUT her mum was very supportive re child care, that's the only way she could make it work.

hiddenhome Tue 31-Jan-12 19:08:30

I have had bad experiences with everyone in authority apart from the police. I am a product of my upbringing and make no apologies for it. I was seriously sexually assaulted by a consultant paediatrician just to give you a taste of what I've had to put up with over the years.

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