Five minute feature: A day in the life of a social worker in Gloucestershire
OFFERING a helping hand to a single mum struggling to bring up four children whilst suffering from depression is all in a day's work for social workers in Gloucestershire.
The county council has a team of workers dedicated to improving the lives of some of society's most vulnerable people. Working with a wide range of professionals they help anyone, from children in foster homes to single parents, dysfunctional families and the disabled.
Maggie Jones, a community social worker with the authority, outlines a typical working day.
A typical working day for me usually starts in the office where I check my diary to see what I have planned. It's usually very busy as I cover a large area of the county and support a wide range of professionals who work directly with families.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
My first visit at 10am is a joint home visit with a family support worker to see a family who are experiencing difficulties with a range of issues - financial difficulties, housing issues, mum appears to be suffering from mental health issues (low mood and depression) and there are concerns about the children's low attendance at school.
It becomes apparent during our visit that the family are in urgent need of advice about their entitlement to benefits and that mum is not addressing her mental health issues.
The way she is feeling at the moment is making it difficult for her to keep the home clean and tidy and she tells us that she is finding it very difficult to sleep at night. This means that she is often tired in the morning and not able to get up in time to take her four children to school.
Mum agrees that she needs some support and we discuss how we can provide this for her and the children.
The family support worker provides mum with the contact for benefit advice and we advise mum to make an urgent appointment to see her GP.
In the meantime, a food parcel is provided to ensure that the children and their mother have enough food over the weekend and until her entitlement to benefits is sorted out.
We also discuss a plan of action in order to help mum tidy and clean her home. She agrees to this plan and we arrange to re-visit in a few days' time to see how things are improving.
Back to the office for a quick case discussion and then I'm off to a meeting in a school where I have been asked to provide advice with regards to a complex case.
This time there are a wide range of professionals already working with the family. Together with the parents we examine the issues impacting on the children and make an assessment of their needs in order to coordinate the right support at community level. The meeting goes well and the parents say they are grateful for the help they are receiving.
Then it's back to the office again to catch up with emails and missed phone calls as well as some supervision preparation for my role as an assessor to a second year social work student. Then I'm off home.
I love my job. There are challenges and never enough time in the working day but I love seeing children and families achieving their goals and improving the quality of their lives. I work with people from all walks of life. You couldn't do a more interesting job.