Being a social worker: Are you damned if you do and damned if you don’t?
- Credit: PA
In light of our investigation into Norfolk County Council's children's services department, Dan Grimmer gives his view on the difficult job of social workers.
To say being a social worker is a difficult task is quite an understatement. It's a job in which you're often damned if you do and damned if you don't.
These people work with families who might not exactly welcome the intervention of children's services. Yet, in many, many cases, they do great work in extremely challenging situations.
What they do can save children's lives. It's a sad fact that some parents neglect and abuse their children and it's not fair to paint social workers as childsnatchers determined to take youngsters away.
There are times when it is essential that children be taken into care. That can be the difference between life and death.
You may also want to watch:
But good social work can also help keep families together - changing behaviours to help parents and children remain with each other.
However, high profile cases, such as the death of Baby P and closer to home - the death of six-year-old Lauren Wright in 2000 - inevitably, and understandably, can make social workers ultra cautious.
- 1 'Vindicated at last' - Pension compensation on the horizon for WASPI women
- 2 Sneak peek inside first £2.7m luxury mansion for sale
- 3 Tributes to popular entertainer after death following tragic accident
- 4 'It was as if Covid didn't exist' - Latitude-goers report positive tests
- 5 New landlords relaunch pub with three-course dog menu
- 6 Plot of gold? Land up for sale for £750,000
- 7 Neighbours' shock as man's body found in flat weeks after he died
- 8 Fly-tippers dumped dead relative's rubbish – just half a mile from recycling centre
- 9 Woman in 30s suffers head injuries in violent attack by two girls
- 10 Sisters reopen popular riverside pub
And those cases are complex. Yes, children's services departments should be criticised for failing to protect vulnerable children. But it should not be forgotten that, in these cases, it's the parents, step-parents and partners, not the social workers, who kill their children.
Such cases lead to more children being taken into care, although social services bosses are at pains to point out that the courts who make the final decision - based on evidence.
The difficulty comes when that evidence is questionable - and the fact that an MP thinks it has been in some instances is worrying.
Good social care practice should be applauded, but poor practice must be addressed. Ofsted has repeatedly raised concern over some of the work being done in Norfolk and we hope Matt Dunkley's leadership will lead to improvements.