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I am a child protection social worker - AMA

148 replies

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 12:20

I feel as though there are a lot of false information in the press and in general knowledge about child protection social workers so, ask me anything!

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Minimalme · 08/08/2022 20:30

I often wish I had been brave enough to ask to go into care as a child.

Could a child do that or do they assess the parents and if they are 'ok' send the child back home? Or do children never ask because they are scared of their parents reaction?

Minimalme · 08/08/2022 20:33

Also, I wish schools taught children about healthy relationships within families.

For example, letting them know that parents shouldn't be shouting and swearing at them, shouldn't hit, push or kick them and that no child should have to see their parents being violent to each other.

I wish someone had told me this at 10 and at least I might have realised that it was them, not me who was in the wrong.

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:35

puddingandsun · 08/08/2022 14:27


I was wondering how are you treated by the families - have you ever felt not safe, have you been threatened, etc?

Thanks for the thread.

I have been threatened more times than I can count! I always understand why, heightened emotions, fear, unease or the worst case because there is something to hide. However, I always try and remind myself of what I would be like in their shoes and to think about their background. With the wide held view of social workers it's no surprise people get their backs up

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:37

somanybooks · 08/08/2022 14:31

I'm interested in how home education is seen by social workers. Is it something that crops up regularly? Do you see many substantiated cases involving home educators? Is there an element of malicious referral around home education? Should home education be regarded as a safeguarding risk, as some people seem to believe?

Unfortunately I don't feel qualified in a sense to answer this as I have not had a case with home education. I understand why people might believe there is a safeguarding risk just due to the fact the child is not seen in a school environment however it is important to remember that home education is still governed and regulated.

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coodawoodashooda · 08/08/2022 20:39

When talking/interviewing with the abusive parent is it obvious it is the abusive parent?

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:39

Triffid1 · 08/08/2022 14:41

Thank you. But can you clarify? Or perhaps, a better way to put it would be:

If I have a concern for a child, under what conditions are those concerns likely to be taken seriously? eg, if one or both of the parents are screaming and yelling at each other constantly is that something that would be considered a problem (on MN, I've seen people insist this is abuse and SS should be called). What about if the parents are under extreme stress and as a result are yelling at the DC or using language that is arguably inappropriate?

I mean, obviously, you see clear neglect or abuse that results in clear physical harm and it's obvious, but it's less clear to me where the threshold is otherwise.

Concerns are always taken seriously. However, it is hard if no other reports have been made by professionals. In cases such as you have described, one would assume the police would have been called at least once and therefore we would have police information to support the referral when it comes into MASH and domestic abuse is seen as a serious factor in child protection.

Again, if parents are under extreme stress then we would work with them to help to alleviate this stress and find more appropriate ways of directing their stress.

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:40

jammiewhammie65 · 08/08/2022 14:53

What should a person do who suspects a child is being neglected. Their hair is matted fingernails dirty clothes dirty skin is red and angry. Child is autistic and non verbal so can not tel anybody. Child cries when it is time to go home from care setting. Has been reported several times to the care setting manager but nothing ever seems to change for this child. Is there an anonymous route to report this ? Thank you

The best way to report an annonymous concern is your local MASH team or the NSPCC or even both if your concerns are serious enough

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:42

Strulch · 08/08/2022 14:55

How do you stop children that have been adopted from contacting birth family when they become old enough to have access to social media and from stopping their birth family from finding and contacting them?

This is very very hard to police and again I don't work in the adoption team but it's something that social workers in this day and age really cannot prevent. If the children are old enough to access social media the best thing is for the adoptive parents to explain the risks and support the young person if they want to reach out to their birth parents and the different routes they can do this in a more managed way.

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:43

I6344 · 08/08/2022 15:02

Why is what my DSDs mum does classed as "good enough" by social services when she is actually being abused? 😢

Good enough parenting is the standard we are meant to used and again will be different for each social worker although it does have to be overseen by their manager. If you have further concerns please keep reporting them.

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:49

steppemum · 08/08/2022 15:10

if you have children removed because of emergency situation (eg children found wandering in the street) what is the procedure then?

is it possible for the family to 'earn back' their kids? What would they have to prove?

I ask because I work with a charity with families who are in need of support but not bad enough for SS involvement. There are often stories of other families/friends and their involvement with SS. I can never work out if there is a timeline of training and improvement demanded of parents and a second chance, or if once the children are put in foster care that is it. I can't work our what the hoops are that the family are being asked to jump through, and the reports I hear are not always from objective reporters!

So if a child was removed in an emergency situation it would either through police protection powers which last 72 hours or an emergency protection order which lasts 8 days. During this time the local authority can apply for an interim care order or they can return the child if they believe the risks have been reduced significantly or removed.

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:51

larkstar · 08/08/2022 15:18

I have wondered about a friend of mine, who retired from a senior position in children's social services after many years, who was recognised with a national award - obviously he was unable for professional reasons to say very much at all about his work - in fact - he rarely did - other than to say that there are some terrible things going on in the world. Since he retired I and a couple of other friends have had to put some distance between him and ourselves - he's become quite outspoken on issues relating to his charity work - which is all very laudable - but he is apt to over react to the tiniest things said when discussing anything remotely related to his charity work - in short - he's become a bit unhinged. I wonder if the mild mannered man who loved to laugh loudly, the guy I genuinely liked - is now paying the price and suffering from the after effects of his work - have you heard of anything similar? He's made a number of long standing friends very wary of him - I have opted to have no further contact with him - he was so unreasonable about a multi-faceted, nuanced discussion we were having - I had been involved with some charity work for 30 years - I never mentioned it to anyone - my former friend talked about his work too much - well - ranted rather than talked - I know from my work how difficult it is for charities to get local people involved with implementing projects to actually account for money spent and that it's not unusual for charities to have to withdraw from projects when they are not satisfied with the way things are going - I thought we had things to discuss - I was shocked by his rather unhinged over-reaction to a discussion about both the realities and complex ethical issues of charity work - I do wonder if he needs help to adjust to retirement and perhaps to deal with the effects his job has had on him. Unfortunately I just can't talk to him ATM.

Social work is extremely draining and can often be traumatising which is why the turnover is typically quite high as people simply cannot cope with what they see at times. It wouldn't surprise me if someone suffered from long-term effects of a long career in the field.

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RJnomore1 · 08/08/2022 20:52

Would you recommend it to a young person as a career?

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:53

CharlieD2020 · 08/08/2022 15:19

What is your take on putting photos of children on social media?

Is there a real danger from revealing the faces of your children online?

I often wonder this as minimise the number of photos of my LO online but family members share photos of her sometimes. This makes me feel uncomfortable because my LO doesn't have any say on what is posted about her and I don't know who my family members have on their social media friends lists.

This is a very murky area as personally I do put pictures of my child on my Facebook. However, there are clear risks in doing so in the public domain and my Facebook is very very restricted due to my work anyway.

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:54

RelentlessForwardProgress · 08/08/2022 15:24

Would you recommend your work to someone thinking of retraining in this area?

And what sort of voluntary work would be most useful in weighing up whether I would be suited to the future job?

1000% I would recommend.

The best volunteer work would be in homestart as they work directly with vulnerable families or in domestic abuse or substance misuse charities.

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:56

Iamdonewiththis · 08/08/2022 15:33

Why do some children move from foster carer to foster carer. One bloke on TV last week said he went through nearly a 100 different foster homes.

This varies from case to case.

It can be because of challenging behaviour that the foster carer struggles with. It can be because the circumstances of the foster family changes which means they can no longer foster. It can also be because the foster carer's are only short term placements rather than long-term. Again, i am not in the fostering team but these are the reasons I am aware of.

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 20:59

kindereggxo · 08/08/2022 15:35

hi! thanks for this thread! i’ll be at my final year of uni this year and plan to go onto a graduate social worker course. Was your training difficult? Was you thrown in the deep end? Any tips or advice you would give? thank you Flowers

I'm not quite sure what you mean by a graduate social work course, I'm so sorry! I went straight from my undergraduate into the field. I did my AYSE which has a protected case load but it was very full on and it can feel as though you are thrown in the deep end but depending on the local authority, a lot of teams have good managers and you just have to be very pushy about getting your supervision or if you feel a case is too complex for your experience. Good luck!

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KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 21:01

Minimalme · 08/08/2022 20:30

I often wish I had been brave enough to ask to go into care as a child.

Could a child do that or do they assess the parents and if they are 'ok' send the child back home? Or do children never ask because they are scared of their parents reaction?

Personally, I have never been asked outright by a child to go into care but it is by listening to a child's language and body language that you get the gist of what they would prefer. Assessments are so important here because they are so focused around the child's voice and often you can pick this up, even without them saying it.

Although I will say that most the cases you find, even if cases of abuse and neglect the child has a loyalty and love for their parent which means they do not want to go into care and just want their parent to change.

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Marshatessa · 08/08/2022 21:07

How long have you been qualified?

What makes a good social worker manager

bluejelly · 08/08/2022 21:09

I have no questions but just wanted to say thank you for the incredible work you do, in hugely challenging circumstances.

LaBaDeeLaBaDa · 08/08/2022 21:12

Minimalme · 08/08/2022 20:30

I often wish I had been brave enough to ask to go into care as a child.

Could a child do that or do they assess the parents and if they are 'ok' send the child back home? Or do children never ask because they are scared of their parents reaction?

There's a really moving book I read a few years ago by a woman who went to a police station with her younger siblings and asked to go into care - I think it's called Hackney Child

LadyMonicaBaddingham · 08/08/2022 21:13

I genuinely think that you guys are awesome, how much support do you get behind the scenes, as it were..?

coodawoodashooda · 08/08/2022 21:14

How seriously are referrals from Women's Aid taken?

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 21:18

Marshatessa · 08/08/2022 21:07

How long have you been qualified?

What makes a good social worker manager

I've been qualified two years now.

A good social work manager is simply one that actually listens to their staff, makes time for their staff to offload onto them and is one that is able to recognize when their staff is actually under stress and is always supporting them. Making decisions is often so so hard so having a manager to talk things through and to get a different perspective is invaluable.

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Hdhabvdhhebsb · 08/08/2022 21:19

What qualities as a person would you think help you be the most rounded social worker? I have utmost respect for social workers, because I couldn't imagine doing the role as I couldn't imagine both being concerned but yet remaining emotionally detached enough for it not to have consequences for myself...if that makes sense

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 21:19

LadyMonicaBaddingham · 08/08/2022 21:13

I genuinely think that you guys are awesome, how much support do you get behind the scenes, as it were..?

Support basically comes from our colleagues and our management which is why a good manager is so important and will often determine how long a social worker is able to stay in this particular field.

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