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Weekly Social Work Links 30

As the days become more distinctly autumnal, I’m sharing some interesting links I’ve come across over the last week. As always feel free to share any other links you find that are related or interesting in the comments section.

I’m always wanting to find new blogs that are related to social work internationally so if you find one I haven’t noticed again, please leave a link!

Firstly, another plug for This Week in Mentalists – a now-traditional weekly round up of mental health related posts from which I stole my inspiration for these round up posts. Essential weekly reading for me and for all those who have an interest in mental health.

Indeed, it was through This Week in Mentalists that I came across the wonderful new blog ‘Veruca Salt’ who works in a CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service) Team and in which she discusses anger management. Rang a lot of bells with me. I really look forward to following her blog which she suggests in her byline, will share ‘views on children and adolescent mental health’.

Keep writing, Veruca, I think this one will be a corker!

I also came across this post on Blogher which is written by someone who worked as a social worker. The title says it all really ‘The Problem with handing out the Happy Pills’. She raises some excellent and thoughtful points about medication.

Social Work Soldier – another new blog I’ve recently found, shares her thoughts on her first weeks in a new job.

While Social Worker Mom looks for a new job.

And as the author of From Media to Social Work gets ready to embark on her course, she shares her thoughts of the shadowing experiences she has had over the summer.

The Masked AMHP shares part one of his ‘genesis’ story or how he got into social work. It’s a fantastic post!

On a related subject the Social Work Career Development shares some motivational quotes and asks for more examples from readers.

Social Worker in the South meanwhile shares a moving story which indicates the importance of this line of work.

and Going Mental explains that sometimes ‘the system’ works.

On Eyes Open Wider, meanwhile, some reflection and thoughts on what the innate sadness in some of the work that is done.

The Modern Social Worker shares a post about Eugenics, Race and a woman’s right to choose. Perhaps particularly timely as the abortion debate ranks up here in the UK.

SocialJerk has some fine posts as always including this one about the paranoias that exist about adults working with children and some of the absurdities that have arisen around these paranoias.

Community Care’s Social Work Blog has a post about a ‘game’ developed by the University of Kent to assist in training around child protection practice through the use of scenarios (I haven’t actually tried the game but would be interested to hear from anyone who has)

Nechakogal’s blog shares some relevant (and freely accessible) research on different subjects,  which is worth checking out. I’m a great fan of open access for research and papers.

How Not to Do Social Work shares his variation on ‘What I did in my Summer Holidays’ post with typical thoughtfulness.

One a completely different note, A Social Worker’s View draws our attention to Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

And The New Social Worker Online Blog considers the impact on endometriosis.

The Social Work Tech Blog has a fantastically detailed ‘how to’ post about using technology to ‘observe’ sessions and to learn from them.

Finally congratulations to Gamer Therapists who has published a book on Video Games and Psychotherapy.

Weekly Social Work Links 25

A day late this week (although my original intention which might not have been very clearly stated) was always that it would be a ‘weekend’ project rather than a specifically Saturday project! This was a fairly emotionally trying week for me at work with the shadow of an unexpected news which shook me a fair bit. I couldn’t really face doing a round-up post yesterday but here’s my attempt for today. Apologies to all those wonderful posts that I miss out – please feel free to add them in the comments.

DorleeM has a useful and interesting post/interview which, in its course, define ‘racial microaggressions’.  I think it reflects a lot of issues around self-definitions, respect and empowerment.  It’s interesting to see the different uses of language as well – which is an aspect I’m particularly curious about with the use, in the United States of the term ‘Persons of Color’ (spelling intentional) where we would, in the UK refer to Minority Ethic groups. I have a difficulty with definitions related purely to ‘ethnicity’ as it seems to imply there is an intrinsic difference but am equality uncomfortable with ‘color’ being a sole redefining factor as an extrinsic difference.  Maybe that’s a thought for a post in itself but I think back to the ways that language defines our thought processes.

This post is actually from last week but I am including it because it’s a new blog I found from a Social Work Student (about to qualify) from Australia who is writing about some of the challenges of finding a job – it certainly seems that some issues are international in scope.

And another new blog to ‘turn up’ is Inspired Social Work written by a Hospital Social Worker in Canada – she writes over two posts, some hints for if you ever find yourself in hospital – part one is here – and part two is here. Again, very transferable guidance!

If there’s one post that really riled me this week, it was this one. I don’t want to go into deep explanations as to why as I hope it is obvious but I think it is a poor indication of the expectations of students in the UK if they downplay theories and want to be solely taught how to process and complete tasks. As I said on Twitter, the training is a degree not an apprenticeship. Tasks can and should be taught by employers and we have too little genericism as it is.  It also makes me think about the purpose of university degrees. Are they to educate or to roll out ‘ready to employ’ graduates? There is an element of giving the rod rather than the fish here and we all have to take responsibility for our own learning but the theories give the profession important boundaries and guidelines – otherwise we just complete task after task without a wider context and that becomes dangerous.

How not to do Social Work expounds on the difficulties of keeping work fresh and the importance of training, reflection and resources.

S.Wangene  on ‘A Social Workers View’ writes about the moves to revise the international definition of Social Work.

Social Worker Mom identifies a problem and issue I’ve seen so many times but it never gets easier – Exercising the Right to Make a Bad Decision  . Although she has put it in the context of service users, I find myself doing it as well from time to time..

Meanwhile in Studentland – From Media to Social Work takes another step on the road towards her career change with her resignation from her job and  at a Deck of Many Things, thought turns towards Dissertation subjects – along with a useful analysis – coming from someone who is trained and worked as a scientist – on the differences between ‘research’ in science and social science.

Malcolm Payne poses an interesting question ‘Why do we expect the truth from case records?’  As I’ve had to do a lot of case recording analysis this week, it certainly rang some bells with me about assumptions and again, the language we sometimes use. Interesting.

Adventures of a (not so) cheap Social Worker comments on news that Charlie Sheen is going to be playing a Social Worker in a new TV show.

And Social Jerk in a timely fashion, spreads a bit of social work magic into Harry Potter’s obviously too prosaic world.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Weekly Social Work Links 24

The spectre of sickness has cast a shadow over my household this week. Fortunately I have more or less escaped the worst ravages but it’s been an interesting week work-wise and I hope to come back to some of the themes over the next week.

As for the rest of social work blog land, there has been much going on as ever.

SocialJerk has a new director who wants to make changes.

And How Not to Do Social Work meets a local council Cabinet Member for Childrens Services who demonstrates they learnt all they know about social care from the press.

Dorlee reflects on the first month of her job search.

And From Media to Social Work reflects on her first shift in a homeless project.

On another note, The New Social Worker has a fascinating article about the use of Facebook and Social Networking by Social Workers and some of the ethical considerations.

And this was an important news week in the UK for social policy and social care with the Dilnot report being published. Malcolm Payne covers the issues thoroughly on a few posts on his blog – worth reading through them.  This one focuses on carers and advocacy.  This one on the issue of quality of care which seems to have been lost amid the discussion of cost and this related post on whether we would pay insurance for care that is not top quality.

and worth looking at the comments thread here for more discussion about Dilnot and the repercussions.

Moving back across the pond, Social Worker Mom raises an absolutely crucial skill to have as a social worker – being able to tell your manager when you are ‘at capacity’.

And Social Worker in the South explains some of the ways she keeps going through the week at work.

Going Mental is counting down to her holidays..

And Diary of a Social Worker returns after a break.

Weekly Social Work Links 22

A quicker than usual version for this week as I’m a bit pushed for time this morning so apologies in advance for any omissions but as always, if you see something I’ve missed, please feel free to use the comment section.

A post from The Masked AMHP is always a treat – this week he turns his attention to a question I sometimes ask myself – Why be an AMHP?

And a new and interesting looking blog about a soon-to-be social work student ‘From Media to Social Work’ about a career changer (yes, I know it’s obvious from the title!) finding difficulty securing voluntary work.

Congratulations are due to S.Wangene at A Social Worker’s View who reaches her first year anniversary of her blog from Kenya.

And to Fareez at ‘Do No Harm’ from Singapore who celebrates five years of being a social worker! He shares some things that have kept him going in the job for five years (and it isn’t just chocolate.. ).

SocialJerk shares some of the ‘joys’ of working with schools.

And How not to do Social Work shares some of the frustrations of social work and the systems that grow around it.

Nectarine at Going Mental shares a link to a campaign to change the FBI’s definition of ‘rape’.

The Nudge Patrol discusses the importance of professionals taking therapy. Interesting – I’d venture a guess that approaches to this might be culturally different in the UK.

Mike Langlois shares some thoughts about ‘safe places’ which we might be kidding ourselves about to the detriment of those we work with and for.

Malcolm Payne asks if all practice in a religious social work agency has to reflect that religion. Great piece.

Meanwhile Dorlee continues with her job search and shares 20 questions every interviewee should know the answers to. Best of luck to her.

One of the reasons for the rapid round up is that I wrote this weeks ‘This Week In Mentalists’ while will be available at some point here. (it hasn’t published yet at the time of writing but it’s a great site so explore all content there in the meantime!)

Two round-up posts before 9am on a Saturday. Phew. I’m off to enjoy my weekend and wait for the so-called heat wave!

Have a good weekend all Smile

CQC and Southern Cross – a retrospective

I’ve bemoaned both the changes in the CQC and the financial troubles of Southern Cross over the last few years since I started writing this blog.

For today, a bit of a ‘lazy post’ – I thought I’d collate all the posts that I’d made on those two subjects. It provides a little bit of context and stops me repeating myself.

Southern Cross

Trouble at Southern Cross (2/7/2008)

Active Care – Another Tale of Southern Cross? (16/8/2008  – READ THE COMMENTS!

Alton Centre, Active Care and Southern Cross – An Update (5/9/2008)

Southern Cross and Hillingdon (19/12//2008)

Frozen Reading (12/2/2009)

8 deaths – 10 days (26/2/2009) – oh the irony when I comment that Southern Cross own a lot of real estate.

The concerns and worries about the financial management of Southern Cross go back a long way. This is not ‘new’ news. The ‘new’ news is that the company is now close to the brink of collapse. There is almost an inevitability in this as those who sought to make a quick buck in the care sector realise that sometimes the figures don’t add up. Property doesn’t always pay. But making money on the back of what was a public monopoly (provision of care services) can lead to some rich pickings until some of that money needs to be spent. Corners are cut. Staff costs are cut. Older people are warehoused in increasingly larger residential and nursing homes while the roll-out of the so-called personalisation agenda rings very very hollow at the moment for those who are the most dependent and those who need long term care. Where this the personalisation within residential and nursing care services? Where are the small group homes with support for older adults with dementia? They don’t exist because they wouldn’t make a profit.

That is what those involved with personalisation need to address. Not how people who have capacity and ability to manage personal budgets or have families to help them will manage but how will personal budgets (health and social care) and personalisation help and create better systems for older adults in dementia nursing care. Give me an answer to these questions and I’ll have more faith.

CQC – Care Quality Commission

From the first day the CQC came into ‘being’

DoLs, IMHAs and the CQC (1/4/2009)  – these were all introduced on the same day. Do look at the quote from Barbara Young, the first Chair of the CQC. VERY telling.

Britain’s Homecare Scandal (10/4/2009) – another Panorama investigation.

Inspections (3/12/2009)

Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes? (8/12/2009) – another TV programme.

Linford Park Nursing Home (3/8/2010)

Closing Care Homes (30/9/2010)

Lessons from the Care Sector (26/10/2010)

Trouble at the CQC (3/11/2010)

Johann Hari’s Manifesto for Change in Care Homes (26/1/2011) – one of which was ‘proper inspections’.

Scrutiny, CQC and ADASS (15/2/2011)

Excellence Ratings for Care Homes (1/3/2011)

Inspections and the CQC (11/3/2011)

Whistleblowing (7/4/2011)

Which Care? What Care? (19/4/2011)

Care Home Crises (16/5/2011)

So is this surprising? I wish it were.  I want to emphasise though that it is the management of the CQC that I feel is badly serving those who need support and care rather than the individual inspectors who I know have as many criticisms of the system as the rest of us do. How did this, or the last government allow regulation so toothless just as they are ratcheting up the OFSTED inspections? Does it say anything about how we, as a society, want to value or hide away adults with disabilities?  I suspect it does.

Weekly Social Work Links 15

I’m away for the weekend so a quicker than usual round-up for this week

SocialJerk is pushed to the limit. Oh, I’ve been there – many times.

Dorlee has an interview with the author of Fat Social Worker.

Back in the UK, Malcolm Payne writes about the affect that child protection failings have had on other branches of social work (particularly in palliative care).

I loved this post a A Case Manager’s Verse which links to pictures of elderly animals.  We’re so used to seeing pictures of baby animals it draws an interesting contrast of perceptions about age.

Interesting post on Gamer Therapist about professionals, boundaries and making connections.

At How Not to Do Social Work the author is feeling frazzled (I can definitely empathise)

Nechakogal writes about a moment of emptiness and a feeling of abundance. Living in one of the most densely populated countries, I can’t help feeling a little envious.

Back in the UK, Going Public picks up on some warning signs for the health sector from social care’s experience of ‘contracting out’.

And I’m going to end with a tale from an Occupational Therapist, rather than a Social Worker – in OT on Wheels – but I think it needs to be read by everyone who works in adult care in the UK about the effect of our action and inaction on those whom we work with and for. It shouldn’t be like this.

Have a good weekend. I’ve got a train to catch Smile

Weekly Social Work Links 14

I know, not quite weekly as I was away last weekend and I’m off for the Easter break so I’m starting the long weekend with a few links from the last couple of weeks.

The Masked AMHP continues his series about Mental Health Tribunals with a post about nearest relatives and their roles in the process.

Dorlee at Social Work Career Development has a great post about ‘termination in therapy’. I still find ‘closure’ quite difficult so it was interesting reading about her reflections on this vitally important process.

SocialJerk writes a very touching piece looking back at someone she has worked with and still thinks about. I do that quite a lot as well.

Melinda Lewis in Capitol to Classroom shares her best career advice.

Nancy Smyth has a great post about skills for the digital age and how we need to adapt.

How not to do Social Work looks at ‘low risk’ placements and foster care. How risk is determined can affect the rest of a child’s life.

Social Worker in the South reflects on liking her job and being exactly where she is. I am fortunate enough to feel the same.

Mel at My Skim Cap writes about the ‘when people become numbers’ and hospital discharges. Some things are the same all over the world.

LCSW Mom at Just When I Think I’ve Seen it All writes a thoughtful post about a death.

Diary of a Social Worker writes about the public perception of social workers

Chris Mill’s Child Protection Blog looks at the increase in calls reported to children’s helplines.

Shirley Ayres has written about the ‘must attend’ social work conference this year on 4th July at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. Looks really good. Would love to go but there’s no external training budget. Anyone want to sponsor me? Smile   (free places for service users/carers/unwaged)

On ‘A Social Workers View’ S. Wangene talks about the beauty of the night sky and noticing it. Speaking of which she has had a lovely redesign of her blog. Go and look!

Ladybird writes about some of the difficulties of writing anonymously and not writing what you want to share sometimes. Oh, I feel that pain!

My last post for the week is not from a social worker but it relates directly to my practice and is a fantastic post about whether the Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards are compliant with Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights. OK, it might have quite a specialist audience but Lucy’s blog is an absolute must-read for anyone working with the Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act in the UK.

I’m away now for the Easter break. I can’t promise there won’t be any posts at all as sometimes I can’t resist but certainly any posting will be less frequent for the next week.

So happy Easter/Spring!

Weekly Social Work Links 11

I am going to have to do a quicker than usual ‘round up’ this week because I’m heading off to the March this morning.

But it has been a fantastic week in terms of the richness of posts.

I’ve already written a post about why I am marching today but this post by SocialJerk about the situation regarding housing in New York opened my eyes. This is where we are heading.

On the subject of housing Malcolm Payne writes about the ways that the social work role is described in literature provided for housing staff and he raises a lot of the issues of the confusion about the definition of the social work role and the issue of  why ‘social worker’ is often confused with ‘local authority social worker’ in the UK.

Ladybird writes about the ‘ripple effect’ of the cuts in her own service.

A Social Worker’s View talks of the problems raised by a shortage of condoms in Kenya. Something to bear in mind from my often anglocentric world view.

The Masked AMHP and the next stage of his explanation of the tribunal process ‘When Detained Patients Appeal’ series and the story of what happens in a tribunal.  Sometimes I forget how alien some aspects of my job may seem to others. I haven’t ever written about tribunals. Perhaps one day I’ll pop up with some of my own thoughts and experiences.

How Not to Do Social Work has a time for decisions and contemplates burnout. A potential hazard of the trade.

And Nectarine on Going Mental  raises the issue of noise in the office. I feel her pain.

While Social Worker Mom asks when it’s no longer healthy to work with a particular client.

A Case Manager’s Verse talks about issues regarding communication via email at work. Many interesting points raised that I hadn’t considered and some I had but hadn’t quantified.

Jamie Middleton writes about the importance of pets to someone’s mental wellbeing.

JaeRan Kim writes another thoughtful post about treating difference and perceptions about mainstream integration and the place of disability culture when moving towards fully integrated societies. Food for thought.

Dorlee at Social Work Career Development has a great interview with an art therapist about her work.

Nancy Smyth at Virtual Connections has a post about the use of Second Life and a PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) simulation. I remain a little uneasy about this kind of simulation. I haven’t had any experience of using second life and remain generally sceptical but it is interesting to read about these programmes and how they may be used. Maybe I’m just being a fuddy-duddy!

Speaking of which, I’ll sign off with an post from the Social Work Tech Blog about using a ‘Social Work Digital Toolbox’ and there are some useful ideas there if you have an iPad or want to justify the acquisition of one ‘because it would be good for work’.

To sign off though, I’m going to link to this video of the Andrew Lansley Rap.

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