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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!

OP posts:
bluejelly · 08/08/2022 22:09

@Theillustratedmummy thank you for explaining all this. It was how I imagined it might be but good to have it all spelled out. Thank you for everything you do 🙏

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 22:14

boomoohoo · 08/08/2022 22:08

@KeepingUpWithTheKs you sound like a great social worker :)

Oh thank you! Probably the best compliment a SW can get as I am sure you agree! haha

OP posts:
KeepingUpWithTheKs · 08/08/2022 22:17

Angrypandy · 08/08/2022 22:08

Thank you for everything you do. Strange one, but so you ever get a feel for people outside work who you don't trust? And do you think your work affects that? (The context is i have a daughter who is friends with a boy in her class. The Dad of the boy is very friendly and often drinks in the same pub as I do (it's a small place so nothing odd about that). However, my friend who is a social worker actively dislikes him and can't really explain why - the reasons she gives are a bit trivial - I can never decide is she is over reacting or if she has special social worker powers and he's not to be trusted (I find him a bit odd, but mostly fine).

I think naturally because of the work I do and other social workers as well, we have a natural heightened state of risk and can often almost sense it which others may not pick up on but we experience and assess it day in and day out.

OP posts:
Wellthatgotbetter · 08/08/2022 22:38

I don’t have a question. My best friend is a child protection SW and she works her ass off. She is obviously very discreet about what she shares and even in the tiny bits she has let slip, I am humbled at the work she does.

Thankyou, OP and other SW.

Plantpotpetal · 08/08/2022 22:51

Why would a child aged 6, left home alone all day during a half term, not be a cause
for concern? First hand, called parents as younger sibling unwell at nursery. 6 year old answered phone. Worked out no parents present. Reported. Told by SS that they were not going to do anything else. This was the end of the week, mum and dad worked and the 6 year old had been left in the house alone every day from approx 7:30-6:30. Wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been directly involved.

GreenGreenGrass23 · 08/08/2022 23:01

Can someone whose had SW involvement (false claim, no risk of harm) and children with MH issues then go on to foster?

Garlicpotatoes · 08/08/2022 23:10

How many children have you failed?

Stripedbag101 · 08/08/2022 23:13

I grew up in a middle class area. Social services were never discussed, yet I am
now aware two of my friends were in very abusive homes. Parents teachers and doctors.

do you get many cases for children In wealthier homes? Do you feel professional parents can cover up the abuse better, society doesn’t suspect such respectable folk?

lastminutedotcom22 · 08/08/2022 23:46

How do you deal with a situation where children have a vivid imagination and make stuff up? This happened to a colleague and the headteacher called SS and brought someone in to a child basically saying

Mummy doesn't give me any tea before bed

Total lie but guess they have to investigate

Is the child told it's wrong to lie as my colleagues daughter is a serial liar about all sorts of stuff people hitting her, not feeding her, not letting her see her friends the list goes on

I mean my colleague is on her knees on antidepressants and tried to take her life last year - nobody listened to her

LizzieBet14 · 09/08/2022 00:03

How much training do you get in recognising ASD traits?

OverTheRubicon · 09/08/2022 00:13

Why are you so sure that your colleague's daughter is the problem? Even if everything she's saying actually is a lie, having a severely depressed parent is unfortunately a massive trauma, even when the parent is doing their absolute best for the child and thinks they're hiding it well.
The daughter could be telling the truth, she could be trying to find a way to get the attention she needs, or maybe she does have some kind of personality disorder or mental health issue of her own... But in any case, having a SW listen to her could be a good thing, and might result in help for the mother and daughter.

Sorry to derail - OP you sound amazing and thank you for sharing.

lastminutedotcom22 · 09/08/2022 00:23

OverTheRubicon · 09/08/2022 00:13

Why are you so sure that your colleague's daughter is the problem? Even if everything she's saying actually is a lie, having a severely depressed parent is unfortunately a massive trauma, even when the parent is doing their absolute best for the child and thinks they're hiding it well.
The daughter could be telling the truth, she could be trying to find a way to get the attention she needs, or maybe she does have some kind of personality disorder or mental health issue of her own... But in any case, having a SW listen to her could be a good thing, and might result in help for the mother and daughter.

Sorry to derail - OP you sound amazing and thank you for sharing.

She came into the office snd told us her mum was taking her to Florida and was deadly serious about it - I called her bluff and said well she hasn't booked any leave then
My colleague came back in and I said so when you off to Florida then xxxx told me your going she said not u less I win the lottery

She told a teacher she was getting a dog

She told her friend and friends mum that when they picked her up for dance it would be In a new car - no new car

She made up a lie her Dad hit her and he was actually away working at the time of this allegation social services attended school, police involved

Honestly my colleague is close to putting her and her over active imagination Into care she's had enough she's at breaking point - her partner works away a lot she's at the end of her tether and it's making her ill and nobody listens to her it's all about "hearing the child's voice" which fair enough, if there's an issue but I honestly don't think there is I think this girl is just a liar

For context she is 13 not 4!!

lastminutedotcom22 · 09/08/2022 00:27

@KeepingUpWithTheKs

You do sound very caring tho my post isn't a bash at social workers more like are they trained to tell when kids are lying

We as a team are worried about my colleague she really is at breaking point. She's worried she'll loose her job, and she doesn't understand the constant lies her daughter is telling.

Some days she comes in and just cries - what can she do? Everytime SS or the police or school get involved they just close the case off lack of evidence usually and just leave my colleague a bit more damaged

Please can you give me some advice for her?

NeedToLeaveNow · 09/08/2022 00:31

Theres a thread on here about a child smelling of wee and poo
What steps would you take if reported to you?

boomoohoo · 09/08/2022 08:00

@Garlicpotatoes that is a goady question! You express your feelings about social workers very clearly in that statement! I would argue that individual social workers don't fail children, the system does. Its so flawed in so many ways. I cant ever properly describe all the paperwork we have to do, its unreal. and keeps us from building good relationships with families which in my opinion is the only basis for meaningful change (otherwise its disguised compliance - to use a term I hate)

I feel like social services are a sinking ship due to the endless budget cuts over the years. and social workers are just putting all their fingers and toes in all the holes that let water in - stretched across the boat as they do so ( this image comes to me all the time at work)

To answer your question directly (although it's at the op, I hope you don't mind me jumping in) I feel like I fail children all the time. Not because I'm missing something, but because of all the red tape. I knew some children were being neglected and emotionally harmed for months - it kept me sleeping and really affected my mh. I couldn't do anything as there wasn't enough evidence - the evidential threshold to remove children is very high. And parents denied everything. (This case had a good outcome eventually but you know what? Something awful had to happen first and police removed - the evidence had to be there) in order to make my cp visits to these children (and others) i routinely worked overtime - all evenings, often paperwork into the night and at weekends.

I wish more than anything my caseload was half what it is, so I can spend more time with children and families. But - I remind myself that it's not my fault. There's nothing I as an individual can do to change it. Systemic change is needed

purpleme12 · 09/08/2022 08:02

What constitutes evidence?
My child says loads of stuff that isn't true when she's angry as she can't control herself
Terrified people will believe it

boomoohoo · 09/08/2022 08:08

@lastminutedotcom22 I hope you and op dont mind me answering. Have they had any family therapy? This sounds like a relationship issue between mum and daughter, daughter has a lot of power in the relationship which - despite its misuse, is inappropriate and frightening for a child to have. She is pushing and pushing mum to see how far she can go. Mum needs support to get her power back in the relationship and not be floored by her child's 'taunts' and accusations. There will be an underlying need with this behaviour that therapy is best bet to get to the bottom of. I would recommend mum contact GP / social services and tell them the truth of how she's feeling and ask for family therapy. If they bat it away she can look into private family therapy - I know it can be costly but I would still encourage looking - there may be therapists who offer a sliding scale. The ss or gp route would be lengthy in wait time anyway

nex18 · 09/08/2022 08:43

What’s your working relationship with other professionals within the safeguarding arena like (schools, health visitors, MH services, voluntary services etc)? Do you feel that you understand their roles and responsibilities, do you think they understand yours, do you feel they all understand safeguarding procedures and thresholds? Do you think you all have the same aim?

boomoohoo · 09/08/2022 08:48

@purpleme12 evidential thresholds vary according to different interventions. So, as you may expect, the evidence required for a child to become 'in need' is less than for child protection, which in turn is less than for entering PLO - (which is essentially when we say to parents if this / this/ this doesn't happen, we will ask the courts for your children to enter care)

Basically, if what you daughter says is supported by any concerns by other professionals (school / hv police etc) it may trigger ss intervention. Not because what she's saying is neccearily true, but because assessment is needed to ensure the situation is explored and understood more fully and that everyone in family's support needs are considered

With your daughter - I don't know how old she is but it sounds like she's found a way to get to you, she knows it works. Perhaps it's the way she's found to have an impact on you? We all want to feel like we are important enough to impact our loved ones.

purpleme12 · 09/08/2022 08:54

@boomoohoo no it's not trying to get to me. I actually don't react at all. She has these outbursts where she screams and stomps etc etc and sometimes says things she doesn't mean now. She's not in control, can't calm herself down and needs me to calm her down which I do as I've found a way that works. But nasty nasty neighbour is using all this to their advantage and trying to imply you know what. I'd already spoken to school about her behaviour to get her help they've ended up referring her

purpleme12 · 09/08/2022 08:56

Maybe in her more in control moments she's trying to get to me but again I don't react most of the time.

steppemum · 09/08/2022 08:57

lastminutedotcom22
I agree with pp that there is a root cause to a 13 year old doing such attention seeking lies.
Could be to do with the mother daughter relationship.
Could be to do with kids own mental health.
Could be something else entirely causing the need for attention.

But it is definitely not normal behaviour.
I wonder if she has alwyas done it? Primary school? Or if this is relatively new?
For me, first step would be a counsellor for that 13 year old to find out what is going on.

KeepingUpWithTheKs · 09/08/2022 09:00

Morning everyone. I will be popping back on to answer any other questions. Don't want people to think I've abandoned the thread! Have a great day xx

OP posts:
boomoohoo · 09/08/2022 09:00

@purpleme12 that sounds so stressful, not only the outbursts but your neighbour too. It sounds like you're dealing with it and like the school have done the right thing by referring - I hope it's picked up and taken seriously, but if not please do keep asking for help from gp / ss, unfortunately sometimes you have to really kick up a fuss before getting what's needed.

purpleme12 · 09/08/2022 09:05

boomoohoo · 09/08/2022 09:00

@purpleme12 that sounds so stressful, not only the outbursts but your neighbour too. It sounds like you're dealing with it and like the school have done the right thing by referring - I hope it's picked up and taken seriously, but if not please do keep asking for help from gp / ss, unfortunately sometimes you have to really kick up a fuss before getting what's needed.

Thank you so much it is so stressful like you wouldn't believe if it was just my child I had to deal with it's hard sometimes but you can deal with that it's your child.
But what they're trying to do I feel constantly threatened and I can't describe how it's been. Had harrassment crime open for a year (for many different things). Half the reports to SS from them have been lies then half unfortunately they've taken from this behaviour,the screaming, which is true. So it's playing right into their hands that's the awful thing.

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