An anonymous diary entry by one of Circle’s family support workers, who has had a busy week supporting parents and their children.
Names have been changed
Today I meet my colleague to go over the training we will be delivering tomorrow morning. We discuss the content based on the attendee list and tailor some of the slides to meet the needs of the various professionals attending.
After this we have our weekly team meeting and today is a development session, so one of my colleagues has organised for a substance misuse worker to attend and facilitate an acupuncture session with the team. This is useful for us to understand the benefits of acupuncture groups in order to promote it to the families we work with.
I spend some time catching up on my case notes before attending supervision with my manager. Here we discuss all the cases on my caseload and the interventions I am using, making time to reflect on how these interventions are going.
I finish the day by going to a home visit with one of our Social Work students who I am a Link Worker for. We visit a child who has gone to live with his Auntie over the weekend due to his Mum being voluntarily admitted to hospital after a breakdown. His mum is going through various cognitive assessments to determine the impact her alcohol use has had on her brain, as she has become very forgetful and confused. The student who attends the home visit with me is able to offer the child one to one support, providing a safe space for him to talk about his emotions and the recent changes in his life.
This morning I deliver a workshop for professionals on ‘Working with Substance Using Families’ along with a Sunflower Garden colleague and a member of the MST (Multi Systemic Team). The training provides an opportunity for professionals from both adult services and children and families services to come together and share knowledge and experience about working with this client group. There are lots of fruitful discussions that take place throughout the morning via the use of group exercises and case studies.
After the training I make my way to the Recovery Hub where I am based during the week. The Recovery Hub is a service for adults who are looking for support to manage their drug use. Being based at the Hub helps the referral pathway, and one of the workers asks to discuss a case she would like to refer to Circle. The worker and I agree I should phone the client to give her information about the support she might expect and let her decide from there if she would like a formal referral.
I pick up a Mum and her two eldest daughters who are 9 and 12 years old to take them to the Kilted Lobster restaurant. We have invited several families along to help celebrate Mother’s Day ahead of this weekend. The Kilted Lobster close their restaurant every Tuesday to offer a meal to people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford to go out for dinner and they have offered Circle the whole restaurant for this event. Both girls and their Mum are excited about what food they will be able to eat tonight and have dressed up for the occasion. When we arrive at the restaurant some other families have already arrived, with one Mum telling me she has been looking forward to the meal all day, as having 5 children makes meal times and the cleaning up a very big task!
Today I visit a Mum who has just had a baby two weeks ago by caesarean section. She has a 2 year old who needs to attend an Early Years Centre, however she has struggled to get him to nursery since the section which has limited her ability to carry out daily practical tasks. The plan is to take her child to the Early Years Centre together, however he is not feeling well and is complaining of a sore tummy so we agree he isn’t well enough to go. Mum phones the Early Years Centre from my phone to advise them of the absence as she has run out of minutes on her own phone.
My next home visit is to a couple who I am facilitating the Parenting Under Pressure program with. This program is designed to be delivered to parents who have substance use issues and can be delivered in the home on a 1:1 basis. The programme covers modules including Managing Your Own Emotions, Managing Your Child’s Emotions, How You View Yourself as a Parent and Mindful Child Management, amongst others. This week we are looking at Managing Emotions, so we carry out some mindfulness techniques and challenge negative thinking. I leave the parents with a task of using worksheets to identify and acknowledge the emotions they feel over the course of two days, which we will look at next week.
In the afternoon I have planned a session with an 11 year old I am working with at school, however the Head Teacher phones me to advise the pupil is not in school today. I make contact with Mum and she confirms he is at home with a stomach bug. I spend the time writing an initial assessment for one of my families and making phone calls.
Today I have a student shadowing me; we attend an Early Years Multi Agency Meeting, where Health Visitors (as the Named Persons) discuss a case they are not sure how to progress with. There are various agencies that attend the meeting including Children 1st, Social Work, Home Link, GIRFEC Co-ordinator and children centre managers, and a discussion takes place about where the presented family might be able to get more support. The meeting involves an input from Mentor Scotland who provide support to children living in Kinship Care and their carers.
After this we attend a planning meeting for the family we met on Monday. This meeting has been called by the Adult Drug, Alcohol and BBV Social Worker and the Children and Families Social Worker. The purpose of the meeting is to ensure plans are working for child care of the two sons whilst Mum is in hospital. Mum has been released temporarily from hospital to attend the meeting and her sisters and Dad also attend. The family are working well together to ensure both boys are getting to school and are being well looked after. It is agreed that I will contact both the High School and the Primary School the boys attend in order to trigger a Child Planning Meeting.
My next visit is to a family who I have been supporting whilst their son has gone through the permanency process. Their son was removed 2 years ago due to poor physical health. When I arrive Mum is on an oxygen tank due to her COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Dad experienced a brain aneurism two years ago, so is often forgetful and has been left with a slight slur in his speech, so he can at times present as under the influence to people who do not know him. The family advise they were invited to their son’s new school and shown around and got to look at his school work. The family really enjoyed this and felt their son’s educational needs were being met well at his new school. The family have contact on a Friday, so are looking forward to seeing him and going to soft play together. They are waiting for court papers to be served to trigger the court proceedings that will put in place a Permanency Order, transferring some of their parental rights to the local authority. This is a very upsetting and complicated process through which the family have needed a lot of emotional support and practical guidance, such as attending lawyer appointments and meetings with the social worker.
This morning I carry out a joint home visit with a Health Visitor. Mum has been feeling low recently and has suffered from post-natal depression in the past so is vulnerable to this. The Health Visitor has carried out an assessment of her depression and her results are not good. We put in place a plan of setting a task for Mum each day, that involves her leaving the house. I will visit next week and attend the baby clinic with her.
I visit another Mum who does not have the care of her child after Mum was violently assaulted by a male in her home whilst she was under the influence of alcohol. Mum is determined to get her daughter back, so we begin the assessment phase of the Parenting Under Pressure Programme. This takes into account her depression, anxiety and stress scale, her parenting capacity and her child’s strengths and difficulties. I arrange another meeting with Mum for next week in order to share the assessment results with her.
My last appointment of the day cancels on me at the last minute, so I am able to catch up on some of my case notes for this week.