An anonymous diary entry by one of Circle’s Family Support Workers, who is helping her families to regain stability in their lives.

Names have been changed


I arrange a visit this morning with Shirley while her two children, Peter and Susan, are attending school. It has taken time to build up a trusting working relationship with Shirley as her partner Paul’s use of substances had a detrimental impact on the whole family. Paul moved out of the family home eight months ago and currently has his own tenancy.

Shirley has been struggling to manage her children’s behaviour. Therefore I had suggested supporting Shirley in 1-1 sessions in her home using the ‘handling children’s behaviour’ programme, as she feels anxious about attending groups.

We are now into our third session of the programme. Shirley’s confidence and self-esteem are beginning to grow and with my support she is starting to implement and maintain appropriate limits, boundaries and routines, and remain consistent with Peter and Susan. This is appearing to have a positive effect on the children, who are beginning to feel secure, safe and loved, knowing what is going to happen and when.


I arrange to collect Heather this morning to transport her to a ‘nurture group,’ which is organised by integrated children’s services. Heather is working hard to remain free from using illicit substances, which had been having a huge impact on her pre-school daughter, Laura.

Heather is naturally anxious about attending the group. I reassure Heather, reminding her that we have been preparing to visit the group over the last six weeks.

We arrive at the group and Heather is initially quiet. However, the staff and the ‘girls’ who attend the group welcome her, making her feel at ease and relaxed. The group finishes at 11.45am and Heather is astonished by how quickly the time has flown by. A day and date is set for the group to go out on an activity in the next two weeks.

Heather and I discuss travel arrangements for her with the staff, so that she is able to access the group weekly. I feel positive about the group’s influence on Heather, as I had observed her settling in and chatting to the other ‘girls’ who attend the group.


This afternoon I arrange to meet Tom after school for our 1-1 session. Tom is now looked after by kinship carers, as his parents were chaotic in their use of substances. Prior to meeting with Tom I visit his carers, Anne and Mark. I have been supporting them with appointments to Moneymatters so that they can access the benefits they are entitled to.

Tom arrives home from school and we discuss where we will head out to. Tom decides we will go to a park, which also has a good walking area, where we have been on several occasions.

Tom has shared how much he likes going to this park as it clears his mind and gives him the opportunity to talk with me. I have built up a close, trusting relationship with Tom over the last year.

During our walk Tom shares his ‘feelings’ and ‘anxieties’ with me – where everything feels different and strange for him at the moment. I acknowledge that it is a difficult and ‘sad’ time for Tom. Whilst walking we have time to explore this further. Near the end of the walk we move onto how excited Tom is as he has recently joined the local sports centre where there is a running club.

The walk finishes with Tom playing on the park apparatus and he is highly amused when I have a go on the ‘flying fox’!


Today I meet with Louise and Andrew. They are in the process of having their two young children, both under five years old, being returned into their care.

Louise is keen to access what amenities are in her local area for her children and asks if I can support her to attend groups. I have sourced this information for her and we discuss days and times when Bookbug takes place at the local library as well as a mother/toddler group.

Louise and Andrew struggle to maintain routines for the children, so we discuss the importance of routines and consistency, and of the support I can offer to Louise and Robert with this.


Early this morning I receive a phone call from Emma. She sounds upset on the phone and says she feels scared and frightened.

I visit Emma, give her time to talk and offer her emotional support. It becomes apparent during our conversation that Emma has placed herself in a vulnerable situation in the last week. She shares that she has ‘used’ substances.

Emma turns to me for help. I support Emma to make contact with the appropriate agencies by arranging appointments for her. Heather had disengaged with these services previously.

Emma’s children have recently started to have unsupervised contact with her and Emma is worried this may now be discontinued. Her children are currently with kinship carers.