It is the job of Social Services to protect children. Social Services and Social Workers have a difficult job. There are far too often cases reported on television where Social Services and other agencies have got things wrong and children have suffered harm and even died.
These highly publicised cases make the job of social workers and social services even more difficult. Parents can complain that Social workers and Social Services can be inconsistent. Parents can also complain that Social workers and Social Services can be vague as to what they need to do to avoid Court Proceedings or it can seem that the “goal posts” are moved. Sometimes parents are unwilling to talk to Social Services, which just gets them into more trouble.
When Social workers become involved with families, it can be a difficult and stressful time. There can be meetings, which can be stressful and intimidating.
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Frustrations for Parents
Parents can become frustrated if telephone calls to the Social Worker or members of their team are not returned
Parents can also be frustrated if events are written up differently to what they remember happened.
Parents can feel unsupported and everyone is ganging up on them.
For parents, the stakes could not be higher.
If a case goes to Court, there is a risk that their children will be removed from there care. Maybe they wont be returned home.
There can be a pressure for parents to agree to other family members looking after their children instead
Pressure on Social Workers and Social Services
But the stakes are high for the Social Workers as well. They want to help families. If they get things wrong, and a child suffers harm whilst they are helping a family, then they could lose their job. If a Social Worker thinks a parent is avoiding them or is not cooperating, they will become suspicious.
Legal Aid for Families
This is a complicated area of Law.
Legal Aid is still available to parents for advice.
Ian is a member of the Law Society Children Panel and has a long history of advising clients in the area of Social Services and Child Law