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Hi, I'm Georgiana_Scope! I'm a student social worker and want to hear your views!

Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
edited April 7 in Disabled people
Hi all,

I have just joined Scope as a student social worker and want to hear your views on all things Scope and also what are your opinions about social work and social workers. Good or bad, I'd love to hear your views. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes 
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Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,239 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome 

    I don't have much experience of social workers just of one occasion when I was rushed to hospital in a coma state and my 10 year old was with me 

    My brother was contacted by hospital and he came to get him but hospital informed social services 

    Tbh I had to deal with them when I came round and they were very intrusive 

    I get they had his welfare in mind they did follow up enquiries with his school and gp who confirmed they had no issues 

    Suggestions made he wasn't fed but I'd they actually had seen him you can see he wasn't under fed 

    When we got to hospital he hadn't had breakfast due to what had been ab emergency situation 

    Was a lot to deal with on top of trying to recover and worrying about my son while I was in hospital and the fear of social services being involved 

    It all got sorted and no further follow up
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,258

    Scope community team

    Thanks for asking your question @Georgiana_Scope :) 
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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,665 Disability Gamechanger
    Have worked with social workers on and off for 35 years. Like everything there is good and bad and it depends on many things often out of view of the public. It’s a thankless difficult job not helped by being a political football. 
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,562 Disability Gamechanger
    I don't have anything bad to say about scope, even less so about our online community.

    As for social workers imho they should be made to live in the real world before starting the job, from my thankfully limited exposure to them they don't have a clue. How many times have we seen them make shocking mistakes, their stock answer afterwards being "lessons will be learnt", only problem is they rarely if ever are.

    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • GarzaGarza Member Posts: 130 Pioneering
    My experience with social workers has been quite limited but in those experiences I have found social workers to come with a pre determined idea of what you need with your disability rather than asking what they may be able to do for you, I hope to be able to limit my contact with them for as long as possible 

    I do agree with @mikehughescq that there are bound to be good and bad as will all professions and the public know very little about what goes on behind the scenes
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    I dont agree with social services when it comes to children and familys and how they deal with things if they put support in when it's needed instead of waiting for people to fail I am very passionate about this and I have campaigned and supported children and familys in crisis 
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    One of the issues that we found with Children's services social workers was that in general they came from a child protection background/perspective with little knowledge of the impact of disability and so there was always a sense (and sometimes a stated view) that the parents were the problem.  We did once, briefly have a children's sw who had a lot of disability experience and knowledge and he was like a different species altogether...but of course he didn't stay long.  In my, and others, experience lumping together children with disabilities (and their families) and children "at risk" is not helpful, either to the families or probably to the SWs as well.
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. Your view is very interesting I would love to hear in what way the social worker you referred to was different - in what way was he like a different species? I hear you are saying that some social workers had risk on the agenda and you didn't feel you belonged in that category, What way can a social worker improve their self image and be more relatable. Thanks in advance have a great day!
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @mikehughescq

    Yes I see what you mean about 'political football' it seems social workers are always in the news.  It was certainly something  I had to consider when I moved into the area of study. I'm from a journalism background you see. What would make an ideal social worker for you and how can I support people better in my role as a student social worker for Scope? Have a great day. PS I noticed you say on your profile you don't want to be tagged I'm new to all this so sorry if I have done this inadvertently 


  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @woodbine
    Thank you very much for your reply and taking the time with this discussion. I must say I really tire of the phrase 'lessons will be learnt' as it seems to the public at least that serious case reviews don't always get the right results. I am studying serious case reviews at the moment and looking at highly emotive cases like Victoria Climbie and Baby P and as far as I understand they are supposed to lead to information on what to do in future but not  cast blame therefore I think its hard on social workers sometimes as they are blamed for everything and there is little information about who effectively is to blame. One of the pitfalls I think is when information isn't shared early on between organisations. What would make a successful social worker for you?
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @lisathomas50
    WOW I'd love to hear more about your campaigning. What sort of things do you do? That's fantastic. I understand your feelings. What would you like to see social workers do and be involved in?
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    The SW I refer to had grown up around disability and had a good knowledge of the social model, had done some specific training in disability issues and just "got" what many of the issue are for families with disabled children, rather than us having to explain and justify every single thing (which we had to do for at least one other, truly awful sw)
    I think another key thing to remember is that very often parents/carers of disabled children refer themselves to social services because they desperately need help/support/information.  That is often (not always I accept) very different to families who are referred to SS because there are concerns about child welfare etc.
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,562 Disability Gamechanger
    @woodbine
    Thank you very much for your reply and taking the time with this discussion. I must say I really tire of the phrase 'lessons will be learnt' as it seems to the public at least that serious case reviews don't always get the right results. I am studying serious case reviews at the moment and looking at highly emotive cases like Victoria Climbie and Baby P and as far as I understand they are supposed to lead to information on what to do in future but not  cast blame therefore I think its hard on social workers sometimes as they are blamed for everything and there is little information about who effectively is to blame. One of the pitfalls I think is when information isn't shared early on between organisations. What would make a successful social worker for you?
    As I said earlier sw's would be better if they had some real life experience before they became a sw, when our daughter started on her 5 year nightmare anorexia journey she briefly had a sw (no idea why) but she seemed to be straight from uni with no life experience and was less useful than a chocolate fireguard.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @Georgiana_Scope I campaign for children and familys to keep their children at home and parents with disabilities who have children 

    There should be more help and support if familys are struggling not wait until they fail  yes there are some people who shouldn't have their children but there are alot who just need help and support 

    Disability  mental health , postnatal depression, struggling for other reasons doesn't give social services exclusive rights to take their children more support is needed also as @woodbine said social workers should have life experiences  

    The problem is some people have a fear of asking social services for help because they are afraid of what will happen 

    Women who suffer domestic abuse social services don't support they would rather take their children than help them move away from their abuser and when women do their best to get away social services penalise them for doing that 

    Would I trust a social worker no I wouldn't  I have known women go under ground as its called the under ground network women hiding with their children  I csn go on I have campaigned for 20years 

    The secrets of the children and familys court is criminal  children that don't need to be taken are being taken I am as I say passionate about it 

    There are also more cases now where children were adopted don't  know who their siblings are  and end up in relationships  years later 

    To learn about experiences go on line there is plenty on there 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,277 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 8
    Playing Devil's advocate here. I trained as a physio in the late 1970s, & wanted to work with disabled children, especially those with cerebral palsy. In my last 3 month long placement I was in a regional Child Development Centre with 2 older physios who taught me a lot. When I re-iterated that I definitely wanted to work with children, they both said wait until you have children of your own, then try such work. I didn't listen, & hope I helped some children anyway. Were they right; well of course having children of your own gives you a way better understanding. However, to ask the same of any social worker, or therapist, to 'get some life experience' first, as has been suggested, may not always be viable. After years of studying, once qualified, I'm sure many hope to get a job.
    On the other hand, altho it was a long time ago (& seeing the same problems with the NHS I saw so long ago still appearing to prevail), my one & only experience with a Social worker was poor. As a student (my tutors had noted my interest in working with disabled children so helped me secure appropriate placements) I spent 6 weeks in a school for disabled children. Most had spina bifida, but there was one 5 year old I remember that had cerebral palsy. Probably because my interest in him was noted, I was asked to accompany a Social Worker to his home. I expected to see what she might offer....she spent more time commentating to me about the pictures & ornaments in his parent's lounge whilst his Mum went to get him from his bedroom. She didn't ask his Mum what help she might need, & didn't talk to this very bright little boy at all.
    It seems we have all replied rather negatively, but whilst I'm sure we all want appropriate safeguarding to happen, I hope I may ask do you study disability? This seems to be what others have mentioned, that they hoped there would be some understanding from a Social worker about disabilities too.
    As far as the above comments go about Family courts there does seem to be a balance needed between 'transparency,' & 'confidentiality.'  See: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7306/CBP-7306.pdf  tho I'm sure there are other reputable sources. Can you highlight any Lisa?
    As someone who was adopted as a 6 month old baby, surely the chance of them ending up in a relationship with a sibling would be infinitesimally small?  Do you have links to this Lisa? Several years ago I found I had twin half-siblings, & a younger half-sister. Not too difficult to do.
    Sorry for the long reply @Georgiana_Scope but you strike me as someone who wants to know more, & hopefully make a difference, as I did, so appreciate you joining the community in order to help in doing so.

  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @chiarieds there was a programme on telly not long ago about a brother and sister who met many years after they were adopted they had four children together on the fifth child something happened and the child needed a blood transfusion thats when it was found that the parents were siblings social services took the children into care there was supposed to be a second part but it was banned 

    Children are suposed to be adopted away from where they lived or known to stop the risk of this happening but some children are being adopted and kept in local areas it has been going on for years  and has always been kept quite because of the secrecy of children and familys plenty online about these things also about forced adoption 

    As for sibbling relationships unless something hapend where  some sort of test had to be done it could go unknown for  there is a book called sibling relationships unless that has been banned and explains the bond that siblings feel even when they haven't met each other for many years and how sibbling relationships happen I learnt alit from a social worker I knew very well who did want to help change things but most social workers like that are out numbered 

    I agree that there has to be confidentiality  but there is no transparency in children and family law in court papers aren't allowed to report neither is tv if a parent is involved in a childcare case they aren't allowed to speak to anyone but social workers solicitor barrister or professional people that are involved in the case  it is against the law 

    Parents are fighting back now or trying to there is lots of information you just have to find it  but i would say training to be a social  worker all this type of thing will be part of the training I hope that one day social services will change for the better 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    Barbra gonyo is a good case mother and son @chiarieds this type of thing was picked up in 1980s 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @lisathomas50
    Sounds like you do some really good and effective work. 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @lisathomas50
    The programme you speak about sounds very interesting and I will look up the Barbara Gonyo case thank you
  • MarkN88MarkN88 Member Posts: 1,325 Pioneering
    I do remember watching a programme on TV. It was one of those undercover/investigative types, think it must of been panarama or dispatches. It was horrendous to watch and that initially give me the preconception of social workers as a negative role in society. 

    I nor family or anyone I knew to the best of my knowledge had dealings with a social worker. 

    However that did change when a family member had dealings with social workers and they helped so much and had a positive impact that ensured the future was better. 

    Unfortunately I can’t go into details on a public forum, sorry. 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @woodbine
    Thank you for your reply, I suppose when we say life experience it can mean different things to different people, Someone might be older with vast life experience but not have children for example, would you say that they are not experienced to work as a children's social worker for instance. Does the social worker require lived experience of the area they are working in? I think the problem is there is a shortage of social workers overall and even more a shortage of specialisms it must be really frustrating to be given a social worker that does not have any specific training in the matter they are dealing with. Thanks for sharing some of your story it's all good for my learning. Social work is a second career for me and as a mature student I do have quite a bit of life experience but I won't have specialist experience in the area I'm interested in until I start working in the field . 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @chiarieds
    Thank you very much for your interesting story. As a student we do cover disability but as I am doing my placement with Scope I am lucky enough to get more training on it than my peers. I am interested in your comments about life experience. As a mature student I do have quite vast life experience of different issues including disability but have an interest in various areas of social work including youth offending for example and don't have any experience there! I wonder if I might be able to offer a fresh perspective to this new area and not be jaded but others might think I need more specific training? I think with most degrees and masters courses you are provided with a general overview of social work and then it is paid employment that provides actual specific experience. I have really enjoyed learning about the plights of disabled people and can identify with them but I still have a lot to learn and welcome the challenge
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @MarkN88
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and provide a snapshot of your experience and I'm glad it was favorable, It certainly gives me a boost to think that there are positive perceptions out there. I do think the panorama style documentaries can show a very negative view of social work and as they are seen by millions do have a lot of influence on perception it would be nice to see more balanced views and perhaps hear about some of the success stories that don't make the news. Have a great day 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @Georgiana_Scope its also I think about what a social worker defines as being wrong  or is it just help needed  or struggling  I think when you start working in the field depending on which part of social work your working in only then will you understand 

    Mostly social workers are told what to do by people who are higher up even if the social worker thinks its the wrong decision disability social workers aren't as bad as children and familys social workers 

    I hope you will be one of the good ones and hopefuly stand your ground 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @chiarieds I read your thread but that was back in 2015 if you ever have the unfortunate situation to be in a children's and family hearing its a lot different 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    There are one hundred and two thousand children in care and this is social services keeping familys together 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @lisathomas50

    Thank you I do intend to be one of the 'good ones'

    I have interests in disability, youth offending/probation and drugs and alcohol and can forsee a lot of crossover in each so I only hope I can do a good job and provide a good support for people. 


  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @Georgiana_Scope drugs and probation are good areas I am an independent voluntary advocate and I represent people in children and familys crime drugs  I campaign also for help and support in all those areas and I help drug addiction withdrawal and rehab programmes  I cover alot more now I am not working at the moment and I look after my mum who has dementia 

    I am currently campaigning for domestic abuse  children and familys keeping children at home with support  Disability campaigning  and campaigning to change law 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @Georgiana_Scope I wish you all the best in your social work 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,277 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Georgiana_Scope & @lisathomas50 -  just looking online last night Lisa, that was the most recent relevant link I could find, which is why I often ask if links can be provided, so perhaps you have a more up to date link? This is a field I know very little about. However, it made me think, going back to disabilities in children, whether social workers learn about certain disorders, e.g. I have a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), & have met the founder of the UK's EDS Support group. I remember her mentioning that some members had previously had difficulty as bruising, which can be a feature of this disorder, had been questioned in their children. EDS is thought to be more common than the 1 in 5,000 mentioned in the literature, so something a social worker might come across, & which I'd like to highlight here to raise awareness. Please see the last section, 'General'  in this link about 'Your child & EDS', which says, 'Be aware that, due to injuries and bruising, you may be accused of child abuse. Respond in a positive manner and explain about EDS calmly. This may even be a time for heightening the person’s awareness of EDS and saving someone else from the same accusation in the future.'
    Then there are other disorders such as Osteogenesis imperfecta, where there can be neonatal fractures.
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @chiarieds
    Thank you for the information about EDS and the possibility of it causing bruising, this isnt something I was aware of. As a social work student I haven't had any formal training on disability but we do study legislation including the Care Act on supporting people who have impairments and possibly lack capacity. I think if you went into a specific social work role where you are working with disabled people you would get specific training on it as I do at Scope. There is a wealth of information though and I bet you will agree nothing beats hands on experience and lived experience from the expert themselves
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @lisathomas50
    That sounds like a really worthwhile and gratifying position I would love to hear how you got into your role. Yes I have an interest in probation and youth offending as well as disability and other areas. I was a volunteer for many years for a drugs and alcohol service and found it vey rewarding. You must get great satisfaction from what you do especially in challenging the laws and trying to keep children with their families. Hats off to you!
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @Georgiana_Scope I wish you all the best in your social work 
    Thank you so much, it's hard work and I'm only in  my first year but I hope to find a rewarding and worthwhile career in it
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,665 Disability Gamechanger
    @mikehughescq

    Yes I see what you mean about 'political football' it seems social workers are always in the news.  It was certainly something  I had to consider when I moved into the area of study. I'm from a journalism background you see. What would make an ideal social worker for you and how can I support people better in my role as a student social worker for Scope? Have a great day. PS I noticed you say on your profile you don't want to be tagged I'm new to all this so sorry if I have done this inadvertently 


    I don’t think it’s about individual social workers much as people want to believe they as individuals can make a difference. Social work nowadays is very process driven but the training doesn’t really prepare you for the reality that 50%+ of your time will be spent typing and engaging with your legal team. The biggest issues can’t be resolved by social work because they’re structural e.g. poverty. An awful lot of social workers decline to engage with the financial side of things despite stats showing that at least 70% of social work issues are derived from poverty. Engaging with finances is not simply referring people to Citizens Advice. It requires getting to grips with the basics of benefits and the damage of things like sanctions, the benefit cap etc. 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @chiarieds you brought up a fantastic point about bruising and fractures many children have been taken into care and found out after these children have been adopted there is so little awareness of these types of things 

    To be fair @chiarieds there is so much that social services need to learn about  but they  do come to the wrong conclusions  I know some children do need to go into care but not as many as social services take into care and some of the reasons  that children are taken into care for are wrong 

    It's a good subject but it's a very large subject and hard to get information because of the secrecy of the family court 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,277 Disability Gamechanger
    Georgiana_Scope said:
    Thank you for the information about EDS and the possibility of it causing bruising, this isnt something I was aware of. As a social work student I haven't had any formal training on disability but we do study legislation including the Care Act on supporting people who have impairments and possibly lack capacity. I think if you went into a specific social work role where you are working with disabled people you would get specific training on it as I do at Scope. There is a wealth of information though and I bet you will agree nothing beats hands on experience and lived experience from the expert themselves

    Looking at the statistics Scope quotes that 13.9 million people have a disability, so 1 in 5 (don't know if this includes children, or 'just' relates to England & Wales), & 8% of children have a disability; this surely has a much needed relevance, & need of 'some' understanding by social workers. Please see: https://www.scope.org.uk/    Scope also highlights both disability & poverty here: https://www.scope.org.uk/news-and-stories/we-cannot-accept-a-system-which-allows-disabled-people-to-live-trapped-in-poverty/  

    I do agree that nothing beats hands on experience, which will (usually) come after you qualify, however if you are getting specific training about disabilities with Scope now, that is all for the good.

  • Sandy_123Sandy_123 Member Posts: 1,543 Pioneering
    I've worked next to social workers when I worked with multi displinary teams, I think it depends on the person, some of the social workers were great, and did more then what they needed to, however I've also worked next to social workers who only did what they were asked to, never went out there way to get to know the person or their needs, went off sick when challenged. 
    So I've seen both sides of the coin. Work related.
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,111

    Scope community team

    Just to chip in with my thoughts too!  I did an access course with peers who are now social workers, and the workload/constraints they are working under definitely doesn't make it an enviable job (well not for me!) so I admire you @Georgiana_Scope

    What would make a good social worker in my opinion is someone who leaves pre-conceived cultural ideals of how people 'should be' to one side; who judges situations with an open, tolerant mind; and works from a place of compassion, wanting the best for those they are supporting.  It's easy to see people as 'cases' and not humans, just another piece of paper on a desk - admittedly an issue exacerbated by the complicated admin procedures - but I'd want to be treat with dignity and be given time to be heard as a person.  I know my friends definitely fit into this ideal when they started their careers but I also wonder how much the pressures of the job have chipped away at this being feasible in the long-run.

    Also, I really hear what Mike is saying about structural inequalities such as poverty being the root cause of many problems social workers deal with.  They are putting out fires fanned by successive governments and the withdrawal of systems/services designed to help those most in need.  It's hard. 

    I hope this hasn't painted too much of a pessimistic picture for you @Georgiana_Scope !! We definitely need people like you to drive the momentum forward, particularly for disabled people who have historically been oppressed and pathologised just for having different bodies - so thank you for giving our community time to talk to you!  Good luck with your time at Scope and I look forward to talking with you more  :)
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  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @Sandy_123

    Hi there, thanks for your response. It's upsetting to hear of social workers that do the bare minimum and do not respond to being challenged. Do you have any advice for a trainee?
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @Cher_Scope
    Hi there
    Thank you very much for sharing your insights on this. I hear what you are saying about social workers needing to treat people as people and show compassion. In my role with Scope I am finding I need the same qualities. Is there anything specific I can do to avoid alienating disabled people in practice. What are the specific needs that matter to them? I really look forward to hearing from you 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @mikehughescq
    Thanks for your further comment. I see what you mean about social workers needing to have training and knowledge around poverty benefit caps etc. I am getting a lot of support learning these areas at Scope. The benefits system is a minefield in my opinion and needs to be understood better to benefit all. I am hoping  individual social workers can make a difference in some way to peoples lives it's one of the reasons I entered the field of study. 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @lisathomas50
    Hi there

    Thanks for your further engagement.

    I can see what you mean about social workers jumping to the wrong conclusions and I can see the conflict between wanting to safeguard children and making sure other factors are not the reason for bruising and so on. IT's clear that more information needs to be made available on the conditions you talk about so social workers aren't as hasty in making judgement calls against parents that may well be innocent. 

    I will definitely be doing more reading in this area

    Yes its great to get more comprehensive training in disability from Scope I am learning a lot and hope it holds me in good stead for my career]

    When you say a social worker must be experienced can you add to this? Do you mean in the area they are working or just life experience in  general. I always ask this when it comes to childrens and families work. Does a social worker need to be a parent for example? And could a person that is much older with plentiful life experience have more experience than a young  parent with little life experience. Or is experience not about time?

    INteresting things to discuss I look forward to your reply
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @chiarieds
    Yes I agree that when so much of the population is disabled social workers need to have some specialist knowledge in this area. I think most social work courses are more general - adults and children and families - and the specialisation comes when you begin practice eg working  at Scope but there should be more core teaching on this area in my opinion. Saying that I am only in my first year so I may get to have more training before my 2 year course ends. There does seem to be an emphasis on safeguarding above information and advice giving due to the constraints social workers are under but thank goodness for peer support like in the forum where likeminded people can share experiences
  • Caz_AlumniCaz_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 626 Pioneering
    edited April 15
    Hi @Georgiana_Scope,

    Thank you for starting this thread and prompting a very valuable reflective discussion! 

    I am a fairly recent addition to the Online community team here at Scope, so I have read all the posts above with a real degree of interest. Like you, I am keen to find out more and learn how to approach my new role, so that I do the best job I can do.

    Reading the posts from our community has helped ME a lot as well. So, thank you very much to everybody for your contributions. And I completely agree with you, Georgiana, about the value of having a forum like this where people can come together, share experiences., and provide peer support to each other. 

    Great to hear that you've found the conversation to be of such benefit, not only in terms of the work that you're doing now, but also for your future career. :)
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  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    Hi @Caz_Scope

    Fantastic to hear from you and I hope you are enjoying your new role.

    Scope is fabulous isn't it and the peer support found on these pages is second to none

    I have really benefitted from the input of so many people its information that you can't find in a lecture or textbook.


  • CaleyCaley Member Posts: 21 Connected
    I'm a new member and just noticed this thread, so thought I'd add my thoughts.  I haven't had personal experience with social workers, but in my last job as a support worker with elderly people I and my colleagues did work with them on many occasions in getting needs assessments done for elderly people who needed community or residential care services and also in cases safeguarding cases where we were concerned that vulnerable older people were being financially and/or physically abused.  The impression I got was that because there were massive austerity cuts going on at the time and local authorities were drastically reducing their budgets, the social workers would do what they could to avoid taking on complex cases, passing the buck wherever they could, deciding people had mental capacity after seeing them for half an hour when we'd known them years and knew they clearly didn't have capacity, hardly ever getting back to us when we tried to contact them and consistently failing to offer anything other that sticking plaster solutions for gaping arteries, if you get my meaning.  It was a constant battle to get them to do anything and was a source of frustration for myself, my colleagues, the service users and their families who were often desperate and just didn't know where to turn.   Some of the social workers were actually really good people who were working in incredibly difficult circumstances, others just came across as incompetent and/or pretty dismissive and just didn't want to know.  I saw the quality of older peoples' services disintegrate right before my eyes, which was so depressing and for those good social workers who wanted to do their best to support their vulnerable clients, it must have been soul destroying.  I had to leave the job six years ago due to my own deteriorating health, but I dread to think what it must be like now - I can't imagine it will have got any better, specially with covid issues to further destroy an already chronically under-resourced and substandard older peoples service
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    I worked in care adult care up to last year if anything it has got worse I have also had contact with social services children and familys  I have lost all faith in social services  to be fair 
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @lisathomas50
    sorry to hear that, id be interested to hear in what way things have got worse and why you have lost all faith as it would help me as a student
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @Caley
    Welcome to the community and thanks for taking the time to give me your feedback. I'm sorry to hear about your experiences which sound really deflating and upsetting. What can I learn from this as a student social worker? 
  • CaleyCaley Member Posts: 21 Connected
    I think one thing to be prepared for is that you may not be able to offer the support to your clients that you feel they deserve because of the constraints with serious under-funding and budget cuts.  The council I worked with and I assume many others had to really tighten their eligibility criteria, for example our local authority stopped providing community care services to anyone other than what they deemed to be "critical" need, leaving many who needed support having to either go without or find the money to pay for it themselves.  A good example of that was daycare services.  A lot of our socially isolated older folk really looked forward to their one or two days out a week and suddenly they were expected to pay £25 a day instead of the previous fiver they'd paid, which many of them couldn't afford on low incomes and it really impacted their emotional wellbeing which was so sad to see.  So I think what I'm saying is be prepared for constant conflict between what you feel a client needs and what you're actually allowed to offer within the very tight and strict criteria, and also possibly huge caseloads where staff cuts have been made and you're dealing with too many cases to be able to devote a lot of the time and energy to individual clients that you feel they deserve .  I apologise for sounding so negative, but that's been my experience of social work in older adult care.
    The fact you're on the forum asking for people's input means you're already invested in becoming a great social worker who really cares about their clients and I really wish you the best of luck - clients deserve people like yourself who care about doing their best and are willing to go the extra mile.
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @Caley
    Thank you very much this has given me some valuable insights. I'm not looking forward to the pressures I will inevitably face with all the cuts and such, I think huge caseloads is the norm as well.

    I am looking at going into probation/youth offending/ helping prisoners I know that these services are overstretched as well

    I used to be a journalist and thought that field was tough to crack !

    What  traits would the ideal social worker have in your opinion
  • CaleyCaley Member Posts: 21 Connected
    The criminal justice system would indeed be a very challenging career but could also be really rewarding if you're able to support people towards a better quality of life away from offending.  
    I'd say having empathy would be very important, being able to see things from a client's perspective (even if it doesn't make a lot of sense to you - quite often it doesn't), being able to build a rapport with clients (not always possible however hard you try, but it does help if you can gain their trust) having a very non-judgmental approach, good communication skills as you'd be liaising with lots of other people and departments and may well come across those who I mentioned earlier - the ones who want to pass the buck, are judgmental, don't want to know etc so having the ability to remain professional while being assertive and sometimes persistent could be very important. Assertiveness might also be needed with clients sometimes. Also I'd say admin skills like record keeping (which I assume is a statutory requirement anyway), report writing etc and time management skills would be essential.  Knowledge of other organisations and what they offer, like voluntary organisations in your area, is invaluable and it's well worth building up contacts to help with sharing information and referrals.
    I worked many years in the voluntary sector as an advice and advocacy worker, moved to the statutory sector as a support worker and then did a degree in counselling and learnt a lot about the link between previous life experiences and current issues in peoples' lives, including looking at things like addiction, criminal behaviour etc and how that can be common in those who have been through difficult pasts such as trauma/abuse/neglect in childhood, and I'm assuming you cover this on your course.  It is something which may come up if you're working with offenders and although it's not an excuse for criminal behaviour, it can sometimes be the reason behind it and getting some insight into a client's background might help to understand and help them better.  
    I'm not sure which would be the toughest, journalism or social work in the criminal justice system, but you certainly sound like you're up for a challenge!

  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @Caley
    Thanks very much for your insights some really valuable information there

    are you a counsellor now\? Must be interesting job


  • CaleyCaley Member Posts: 21 Connected
    I had to leave my last job due to declining health and did the degree in the hope of being able to find a job more suited to my health issues, but since I graduated both mine and my husband's health has got worse (we care for each other) and after doing a year work placement as a volunteer trainee counsellor with carers, I realised that as much as I enjoyed it, it just wasn't for me.  I found the constraints of the counsellor role quite frustrating after working for years in jobs where I was giving practical advice and support and some personal family issues affected my own emotional wellbeing for quite a while, so I'm now doing a part time OU degree in psychology because I found that side of the counselling degree fascinating and it gives me something to do to keep my brain going.  I don't regret doing the counselling degree though, it was one of the best things I ever did.
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @Caley
    I'm sorry to hear about your declining health I understand as I have mobility issues that came on suddenly and now affect my whole way of life.

    I don't think you ever regret studying even if you don't follow on on that path. I did a great deal of journalism training but it was natural for me to change path with the onslaught of the internet and a lack of opportunities

    Psychology sounds reaally interesting. I was looking  at PHD's in the states and was looking at psychology...its just my ticket to the US not sure I could be dedicated enough for that level of study, my masters is challenging  enough!
  • ktewazktewaz Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hello Georgiana, I'm new to the scope community but wanted to join after I read this very engaging post. I am just about to become a student social worker, so this thread has been really eye-opening for me. 

    I also have some care experience relating specifically to children's services with a disabled parent. I think my biggest suggestion (that I will implement myself), is to research the medical conditions experienced by service users and how this can impact them. I've felt that the lack of knowledge around medical conditions can be an issue, both to the social worker providing support and the service user themselves. By doing the research ahead of time I hope that it would demonstrate to the service user and we want to work with them not against them. 

    Thanks again for asking these questions!
  • Georgiana_ScopeGeorgiana_Scope Member, Scope Posts: 47 Connected
    @ktewaz
    Hi there!
    Do tell me more about you? Will you be doing a degree? What area are you looking to get into? Good luck!

    Yes I agree we need to research thoroughly around medical conditions so we can offer the right support.
  • Geegeenumber1Geegeenumber1 Member Posts: 307 Courageous
    edited July 2
    Hows everybody doing
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @Georgiana_Scope things have got worse as less help is given to children and gamilys more children are being taken into care instead of help and support being given .

    In adult care less help is given assessments take longer cut backs in hours people need for home care  longer stays in hospital for elderly whilst care packages are put in place 

    Not enough help for disabled parents they get penalised if they have children that help them and vise versa  parents with disabled children don't get enough help and support 

    Children that are at risk are often missed by social workers until either things have got realy bad or sometimes when a child has died 

    There are children that live on the streets and can't get help and they end up liveing a dangerous life 

    There are so many things the list is long 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    The only way your realy going to know is when you become a qualified social worker when you have come across the things that have been said on here only then will you understand 
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Posts: 4,363 Disability Gamechanger
    @Georgiana_Scope I  just read that you want to go into the youth offenders side of things probation and prisoners etc I take my hat off to you its the one of the hardest parts of the profession you need to be very thick skined  and alert at all times and aware of your surroundings  and read between the lines 

    Be presperd for abuse these are the hardest people to get through to and help these are the people thst needed the help before they got that far again being let down by society  help not being there when it was needed 

    You need nerves of steel and be prepared  hope thst you get the chance to make a difference 
  • littleacornlittleacorn Member Posts: 198 Pioneering
    I worked in children and families for may years and found social worker in the whole very helpful when working as a professional with good co ordinated, family focused delivery. Most new social workers found the job overwhelming and never stayed long within their team. Older social worker were set in their ways and found it difficult to adapt to new practice. 

    As a disabled person I find that social workers come with a preconceived idea having read their referal notes. Just like non disabled people disabled people are individuals with individual needs which they are the expert in so should be listened to. Social workers although I do understand are looking at how a persons needs fit into their role and not looking holistically. 

    As part of social workers training I believe that some of the training should delivered by those with experience eg. Disabled people, parents of children with disabilities, families with children,  carers etc
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