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In the latest edition of Sanctuary Social Work News, we catch up with a children’s social worker to find out what a typical day in a Looked After Children team is like. 

8.00am I like to arrive early to the office and the first thing I do is check my emails and the Integrated Children’s System (ICS) to see whether anything has happened on cases overnight. This also gives me a chance to think of the tasks that must be done that day, and allows me an hour undisturbed to start final evidence for court. 

9.30am I attend a Looked After Child (LAC) review for a child placed at home with their parents. This placement isn’t going well as the mother has not sustained any positive change to meet the child’s needs, and so the meeting is difficult and emotional for the family. We agree a care plan with tasks for the mother to complete within the next three months. I have to spend 20 minutes after the meeting calming the family down and ensuring they have understood exactly what is needed from them. 

11am I receive a telephone call from a foster carer. A child who is currently in foster care due to sexual abuse has started to make full disclosures of what has happened to her in the past. She made the disclosure the previous day in therapy and within the placement last night. The foster carer is distraught, and the therapist requires additional support due to the nature of the disclosure. I have to have a 15 minute de-brief with my manager after this phone call due to the content of the disclosure. We agree that we should hold a strategy discussion regarding the content of the disclosure, then I complete the paperwork and send the relevant information to the police. 

12.30pm I attend a risk management meeting regarding a child who is no longer on my caseload. However, I am responsible for their younger siblings as they are looked after children and I have known the family longer than most professionals currently involved. We discuss the risk posed to the young person by their associates and the risk the young person poses to others, as there has been an escalation in criminal behaviour. We discuss staff safety and agree that rather than a home visit, the parents should meet us at the office. We also formulate a risk management plan for the young person. I later receive an email from the Senior Manager at the Youth Offending Service saying “I just wanted to say thank you for attending the meeting as I know you had to move some things around. Your contribution was very helpful as you had a long - standing understanding of the case and risks.” 

1.30pm I update ICS with this morning’s events and carry on writing my final evidence. 

2.45pm I complete a statutory visit to three children placed at home with their mother. This is a case in which the local authority is making an application to discharge the Care Order as the mother has made significant improvements and the children’s needs are being met. The virtual school has spot purchased an emotional support service which is helping the youngest child with their emotional wellbeing. The mother reports that this work is going well and that the child is now displaying less challenging behaviour. She also believes that her daughter had been displaying this behaviour as a result of being rehabilitated once home from care, and that she was testing her to see if she would leave again. The mother feels this intervention is helping a lot with their relationship. I spoke to the older two children about their late marks at school. They are leaving in plenty of time but arriving late most days and they agree to try to improve this. 

4pm I complete a home visit with the little girl who made the disclosures over the weekend. She was waiting for me when I arrived with a worry bag. This is a bag that she had asked me to get after reading “The Huge Bag of Worries” by Virginia Ironside. I spent a few weeks trying to find one, so in the end I asked a family member who is good at sewing to make me one. 

To read the rest of this feature, simply view Sanctuary Social Work News online. You can also subscribe to the magazine, which is free of charge.

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