An anonymous diary entry by one of Circle’s fathers’ workers, who mainly supports fathers and expectant fathers whose children are affected by their substance misuse.
Names have been changed
I start my day by taking G to his appointment at an educational and employment support agency. G has expressed a real desire to return to education via a college placement with the ultimate goal being a return to work. The meeting goes well and G leaves the facility in a very positive frame of mind.
In the afternoon, I attend a discharge meeting at the hospital from which baby T is due to go home with her parents. What was initially believed to be a straightforward meeting evolves into a lengthy debate concerning the safety, care and well-being of the child, due to new information provided today. Following discussion however, the baby is permitted to go home with her parents, albeit with a robust support plan in place.
On my way home, a crisis situation develops. A family member of one of the fathers who I support, calls and asks for some urgent assistance. I quickly travel to the other side of town to collect B who has emotionally broken down and badly needs some practical and emotional support. We talk things over and I later take him home to the care of his parents.
My day starts with the Team Meeting which takes place every Tuesday. This is extremely beneficial in that it provides the team with the opportunity to discuss the collective case-loads in detail. This ultimately provides for a more informed and effective support service. New allocations are discussed and I gain some vital information about the families I will soon be working with.
I then catch up with reports and emails and do some preparation work for the fathers’ group which I am due to facilitate later this week.
After lunch, I attend a Review Child Protection Case Conference. This is a difficult meeting at times, but we emerge feeling positive. As I write, progress continues to be made; Mum is doing particularly well and Dad is beginning to engage more positively with the child’s plan. Baby is currently thriving in the care of her mother and grandmother.
I attend a kinship meeting in the morning. This is a very positive meeting and it is recognised that the baby has been very well placed with loving and caring grandparents, within an environment conducive to his needs.
My next meeting is, typically, on the other side of town! It is equally as positive. The success of this family is predominantly due to the hard work of both parents following months of difficult meetings, tough decisions and some serious lifestyle changes. As a worker, it is very motivating and refreshing when there is clear evidence of good parenting and happy children.
In the afternoon, I meet with a newly allocated family. The meeting goes well, with everyone appearing motivated and enthusiastic to engage with the services. The father is particularly eager to join the fathers’ group and we agree a date for him to start.
I begin my day by supervising a ‘contact’ meeting at the beach. There is lots of positive interaction between parents and baby, which is great to see, and we have ice cream thrown in for good measure.
Later, I drive into the centre of town and collect one of the fathers from an appointment at an employment agency. We return to the office to attend the fathers’ group. The car journey is a good time to raise discussions around safe child care and future plans.
The fathers’ group itself is very enjoyable, with all fathers being enthusiastic and participative.
I attend a supervision session in the morning. Following this, I head out to a core group meeting at the home of one of our families. The planning meeting I attend in the afternoon provides for a more sombre affair where the issue of child safety is very much up for discussion. However, a plan is formulated and agreed by all present, and the baby is able to return home with his parents.