An anonymous diary entry by one of Circle’s family support workers, who had a varied week of working with a number of families.
Names have been changed
I start my week with a home visit to the B family. The family are subject to conditions through the children’s hearing system, one of which is that a professional visits them once a week to confirm the health and well-being of their 3 year old son and 8 week old baby daughter. When the family were referred to Circle in May 2014 there was a history of poor engagement with services and their relationship with the local social work department had broken down. The regular visits by the social worker were causing quite a lot of anxiety to the family; professional meetings were very negative and did not assist in improving the situation for the child. The voluntary engagement approach Circle offers has worked much better for the family and has provided the platform for a more holistic supportive role. An example of this is the mother attending a baby massage session with her daughter that I had referred her to after the initial home visit. The session goes really well and the mother has since reported better sleep patterns for her daughter.
I have a home visit this morning with a single mother of three children who moved to the local area a year ago. The initial referral was for her 11 year old son who had experienced the most disruption when the family moved and was violent towards her and his siblings. We complete a 3 month review and there are positives as her son has made a lot of progress in settling in the local area and the violent incidents are no longer an issue. However the main concern today is the family’s housing arrangement as they live in a two bedroom home which is clearly too small. Unfortunately the mother was recently told by the local authority that the family are not a priority. We explore options and agree to a referral to a local housing advice service.
In the afternoon I have a one to one support session with an 11 year old, W. We make a carrot cake and also look at W’s Junior Award Scheme Scotland folder and plan after school activities for the school year. This approach works well for W as he is low in confidence but very happy to try new activities, and the scheme is a good tool to recognise and celebrate W’s achievements.
I attend a morning appointment at Sleep Scotland with the mother of B family. Her 3 year old son has very disrupted sleep patterns waking up most nights around midnight. The meeting goes well with concrete advice from the Sleep Scotland team. The mother acknowledges that the hardest part will be implementing the recommendations.
The afternoon is taken up completing Intrelate, the database used by all Circle staff to record family case notes and progress.
The morning is taken up with a Child Protection Case Conference at the local social work department. H referred herself to Circle in early June as she felt isolated and marginalised by child protection procedures despite being the victim of domestic abuse. Fortunately the difficulties she was facing with her parents who are kinship carers for her 2 children have abated and, with progress in other areas, the children were removed from the register.
I accompany H to a morning grounds proof hearing at the Sheriff Court. The children’s reporter and H’s lawyer reach agreement out of court and the judge is satisfied with the grounds. Visits to the Sheriff Court have caused H a lot of anxiety but today she manages well with support from her mother and me.
I pick up G from his school at 12.20pm and we spend an hour or so at a local beach collecting items and taking pictures for a collage. G responds really well to one-to-one time with me and despite a difficult week at school, it is good to finish the week on a positive. I drop G with his carer with lots of positive feedback to help start the weekend on a good note.