A Reflection for World Social Work Day

Taking a moment to recognise all that social workers do in their role working with looked after children.

At Home for Good we have the privilege of regularly engaging with professionals who work with looked after children, foster carers and adoptive families, and over the years we have met many fantastic, passionate and committed social workers.

Surveys show that social workers are incredibly stressed, overworked, and often experience emotional distress and even verbal abuse in their role, and we are often struck by what we hear from those working in children’s services, child protection, family finding and family support, who are tirelessly working on behalf of children in care and their families.

Yet amidst these challenges, so many of you keep pressing on, full of passion and determination, with an overwhelming responsibility to do whatever you can for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.

Thank you.

Thank you for all you do in the midst of great pressures and added stresses and cutbacks and changing policies and new legislation and negative media and public opinion.

Thank you for trawling through piles of paperwork and producing so many comprehensive reports, for the painstaking detail you put into keeping accurate records, for the papers you write that will be read by judges and carers and panel members and decision makers, for the countless emails you send in response to the daily influx that floods your inbox, and for reading so many dozens of PARs to ensure you find the best possible match.

Thank you for managing a diary that could so easily spiral out of control, for organising meetings that often require a level of military precision to ensure every necessary individual is present, for planning training courses and home studies and panel dates and LAC reviews and assessments and introductions, and for always thinking three steps of where you are right now to ensure you get to the right place at the right time for the right reason and with the right paperwork.

Thank you for walking with birth families on difficult journeys, for supporting exhausted foster carers through tough times and changing circumstances, for managing the expectations of waiting adopters and anxious new parents, for navigating the tangled web of relationships that surround each child, for listening to multiple opinions and attitudes and experiences and versions of events, and for carefully considering every word in case you overlook a tiny smidgeon of important information.

Thank you for thinking, and thinking, and thinking, over and over and over again, of every outcome and potential avenue, for reasoned decisions and gut instincts and heartfelt evaluations, as you make difficult choices amidst painful circumstances that affect real lives.

Thank you for taking so many precious children to your heart, for caring so deeply about their lives and their futures, for creating life story books and ensuring precious mementoes are kept safely, for getting on your hands and knees to play with train tracks and build lego when a hundred other tasks are pressing on you but a little life is about to be changed forever and you want them to have the space to ask all their questions and share all their fears.

Thank you for stepping into scary spaces and treading carefully through chaotic places, for taking the verbal assault and rising above the misrepresentation, for putting the needs of the children above your own and advocating for their best at every point of the journey.

Thank you for pressing on when it’s hard, for working countless hours of overtime, for doing all of the unseen things that you will never be acknowledged for or paid for, for making the decisions that nobody should have to make, and for giving of yourself, again and again, going above and beyond and always further, and doing your best wherever you can. For the children.

So often, social work is a thankless task, but today, on #WorldSocialWorkDay, we want to say THANK YOU.

Author:
Home for Good


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