Taking a child into care is always the last resort

7th March 2008 at 00:00
Working together: the social worker

How strong is your working relationship with teachers?

The school sees a child more than we ever will. They can report on the day-to-day behaviour, performance, academic achievement, how they settle and parents' involvement.

You have some teachers who are very keen to support families in making changes, working alongside us and keeping us in the loop.

Hertfordshire has set up school liaison officers to help teachers work with social services. Is that useful?

It's very important. At present, I am dealing with a child who has been difficult to place in school, so they have arranged an integration panel meeting, getting everyone who is working with the child and other school heads to come together to see how best we can get this child back into school.

How closely do you work with police?

Referrals can come through in relation to domestic violence incidents; a child may have been reported to us with non-accidental injury; a vulnerable adolescent may be out at night and the parents can't find them. We work very closely with the police, on a day-to-day basis.

Have there been times you felt unable to help as much as you'd have liked?

We do see distressing situations that can be heart-wrenching for me - as a person and as a parent.

It's disheartening when a family refuses to engage or does not acknowledge their responsibility. They may feel they are being attacked by other professionals, but they have played a significant role in the family's dysfunction.

It must be difficult to take a child out of the family and into care.

It's a last resort. It's certainly not the best part of the job, because we're here to keep families together. It's a decision that is not made lightly but is about the wellbeing of the child.

Sometimes social workers are criticised if they intervene too early. At other times they are criticised if they don't intervene soon enough.

I have a strong belief in my ability and a passion about the job. I believe all of us have something to contribute to our society. You trust yourself and you run with it.

Beverley Davy, 44, an initial assessment social worker in Hertfordshire, works closely with teachers to help children in danger.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today