Miscellany


Something of a hotch-potch of a post today – I hope I can be forgiven a little stream of consciousness relating to some thoughts and stories that have caught my attention.

Simeon Brody at Mad World points out a rather narrow-minded article in the New York Times which questions the value of programmes that aim to reduce stigma relating to mental illness.

The Guardian publish an interview with the head of the Social Work Taskforce, Moira Gibb. A couple of points that jumped out at me were that the entire conversation focussed solely on children and families social work – I wonder if there is a general perception that no other kind of social work exists – if anything that is my fear relating to the task force.

As the questions are asked about standards of child protection and the focus remains on vacancy rates within children and families teams, the work that takes place within the adults’ services and the needs of vulnerable adults will be forgotten.

Another interesting point from the interview I thought, when Gibb, the Chief Executive of Camden Council was asked

‘Could the Baby P case have happened in her highly successful borough of Camden?’

Well, there’s a journalist that might have done a bit better research and asked her directly about Rhys Biggs.

I think I’m in rather a contrary mood at the moment, if it doesn’t tell.

I have many thoughts at the moment about seeing social services from the other side, as a new foster carer – it’s amazing how it flavours your experiences and although I am loathe to say it, three weeks into our very first placement, I’m yet to speak to or see the social worker who has apparently been allocated to work with us.

I say that with the full knowledge of the pressures, workload and harrassment that is involved in working in this field.  I am, have and do try to be as sympathetic as it is possible to be. It’s a fascinating place to be from the outside. I’ve had a lot of general thoughts about the experience of fostering but have made a general decision not to write about it here however in the context of being a ‘client’ of social work and social services, it is an eye-opener. I try and get on with things as I can but it’s hard to even be overly sympathetic when calls aren’t returned, emailed aren’t answered and the only time any kind of movement seems to happen is by direct and bolshy telephone calls to managers.

It does, however, provide me with a lot of further sensitivity of how it feels to deal with social services ‘from the other side’.

And today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces his budget . Among much reporting of financial doom and gloom, Carers UK are holding a protest march in London and Edinburgh to draw attention to the poor financial support for carers – and quite rightly too, in my opinion.

Age Concern are drawing attention to the needs of older people and urging the Chancellor not to forget them and Action for Children are calling for the young not to be forgotten!

Finally, MIND announced their shortlists for Journalist of the Year and Champion of the Year – certainly some interesting names there!

Hopefully back to something a little more coherent tomorrow!

2 thoughts on “Miscellany

  1. Some good points here.

    To be fair to Moira Gibb, I have it on good authority that she actually spoke about social work as a whole, but that (to her frustration) the Guardian chose to focus on the children’s side.

    This situation serves to emphasis media bias isnreporting on social work issues. The question is, what is the answer?

    Community Care’s Stand Up Now for Soical Work campaign is based on the premise that drip-feeding positive images of all types of social work into the media (and the public consciousness) will raise public awareness of other types of social work and that eventually the papers will have to start reflecting that. But it’ll certainly be a long process.

    In the short term, writing to the Guardian to ask them why they didn’t include more on adult social work might help – they think they are reflecting what readers are interested in, so readers need to emphasise that they want more balance.

    • Thanks for that, Emma. I hadn’t considered the editing of the interview – that’s how naive I am about journalism!

      I love the campaign by the way (as you’ve probably realised) but I fear that generally there just isn’t the same level of interest in stories relating to specifically (because that’s where I work) older adults.

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