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
I travel to meet with a mum who is getting an extended contact with her baby daughter. Mia is a young mum and her baby was placed in local authority care due to her drug use. Mia has done well to stabilise her substance use. She was initially having contact once a week, however, due to her progress, contact has been increased. I supervise the first half of the contact between Mia and her daughter. As Mia has limited contact she is unable to attend some of the mainstream mother and baby groups on offer in the community, so I offer baby massage during the contact. Baby massage helps promote a secure bond between the parent and baby. Mia is keen to participate in this activity as she is worried about how the bond with her daughter will be developed due to the limited contact.
I travel to the other side of the authority to meet with Angie, James and their two children. Angie had tried to cancel my visit as the family are having to move from their current accommodation. After some discussion she did agree to me visiting. On arrival at the house there is a big hole in the lounge ceiling. The family are trying to pack up their belongings for moving tomorrow. I agree to help them move the contents of the fridge and freezer to the new accommodation tomorrow morning.
I meet Angie and we pack up my car with the perishable foods. Partner James remains at home with the children. We drive to the new tenancy to meet with the estate agent and unpack the food. Once Angie had signed all the paperwork and recorded the gas and electricity readings we drive around the village to locate schools, doctors, etc. Angie is very happy with the new house and local facilities. I agree to visit again on Thursday to help the couple complete forms for registering the family to a GP practice and enrolling their oldest child in nursery.
In the afternoon I meet with my line manager for supervision. This allows me the opportunity to discuss my cases and my professional learning and development. Given that this is a new service, we are working together on the set and reporting of this, so some time is spent reflecting on the project’s progress.
Today I am having an office day. The organisation is currently changing the database we use. I spend the day ensuring all my families’ information is transferred to the new system and all case notes are up to date.
My first appointment is a discharge meeting at the hospital. Wilma, who I support, gave birth on Monday evening. Due to the baby being on the child protection register a discharge meeting needs to be held with all professionals involved to assess if baby can go home. The social worker chairs the meeting and asks for input from myself, the midwife, the health visitor and the parents. A support plan is put in place and Wilma and her son can go home once all the medical checks are complete.
I carry out a joint visit to a couple with their social worker. Jane and Scott’s baby is due in November. Both parents have children from previous relationships, none of whom are in their care. The social worker has been carrying out an assessment on their ability to care for the unborn child. An initial child protection case conference is scheduled for next week and the social worker goes over her report with the couple. I arrange to meet Jane at Citizens Advice on the forthcoming Monday to try and access support for historic debts. Jane is also keen to continue attending the pregnancy support group which will resume next week so we make some plans for transport to the group.
My final visit is to Angie and James. We complete medical forms for all family members and a nursery application for their oldest child.
I catch up on some phone calls to professionals and case notes this morning. This is a good way to spend the last day of the week as it allows me to reflect on progress. There can be times when parents may present with an immediate issue that needs resolved over the weekend but things have been quiet today.
This afternoon, I write a children’s hearing report for a hearing that I am due to attend in a few weeks. These reports are detailed and the office is peaceful which allows me work constructively. I plan to visit the family next week to discuss the report and to ensure that they are prepared for the hearing which can be difficult at times.
…and now it’s my weekend.