Johnny McDonald http://www.hclsocialcare.com 2m 553
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Social work is a great career choice for anyone interested in making a difference in the lives of those who have trouble coping in the modern world. The work is challenging but offers rewards with which few other jobs can compare.
Even at the best of times, social work can be difficult and tough. Social workers have to deal with people who are vulnerable and those who are on the fringes of, or even outside, regular society. Their clients will include the emotionally unstable and the mentally ill; there will be those who are affected by substance abuse and alcohol; the homeless; and, criminals. Every person and every case will have a unique aspect that the social worker will have to address and deal with, often in extremely difficult circumstances.
Of all the facets of social work, child protection is one of the toughest and most challenging. Child protection workers like those recruited by HCL Social Care, carry out a vital role in deciding if children are at risk and what steps need to be taken to ensure their safety. This involves dealing with often dysfunctional families, sometimes with alcohol and substance abuse problems, that are often reluctant to cooperate and can sometimes be threatening. The social worker has to act impartially and listen to the views of all concerned parties before working out a solution that is in the best interests of the child.
Often social workers are placed in no win situations, when outcomes are not those desired. There have been cases where children have been left in the care of their parents only to be subject to further abuse and beatings. In one case, a mentally disturbed mother committed suicide after her child was removed. In cases like these, public ire is sometimes directed at the social worker involved. Clearly, the job is highly emotionally charged and can have a high public profile.
Social workers engaged in child protection have to be able to cope with these pressures. They have to be prepared to deal with difficult and abusive people and those from other cultures who may not speak English. They may also have to work long and unsociable hours. Because of this, many only stay in the role for a couple of years before moving on to other fields of social work.
But if you think that working in child protection could be for you, then you should become a social worker and play your part in the protection our children. First you will need to obtain an approved social work degree and obtain some relevant work experience through voluntary work or other work that will demonstrate your empathy with the needy and desire to help improve their lives.
Once qualified, you will be able to practise as a social worker and will probably fond yourself being employed by a local authority or voluntary organisation like the NSPCC or Action for Children. If you want to work with children, you can become involved with family support, foster care and adoption, school attendance or child protection. All are vital roles supporting the welfare of children, but child protection is right at the front line and is right for you if you are prepared to face the extra challenges it poses.
About the Author
Johnny McDonald works for HCL Social Care.