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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Accessory After the Fact….

Stuart Hall has now admitted to sexual assaults after categorically denying it. Jimmy Saville got away with abusing children and this only came out after his death. There were professionals who were noted as saying they wondered which one he would take into his special room on the day. This might be a bit harsh but anyone who knew, had a suspicion or saw these children and this man should be charged as an accessory after the fact. There is no one that should be allowed to get away with having knowledge of something like this and be able to get away with it. When I first read about Saville’s tasks I was disgusted. When I found out that professionals knew or even had an inkling of what was going on I was physically ill. We can argue that it was a different time, we could argue that things were different then…what we cannot argue is that he was excused because he was a celebrity. Celebrity does not make someone exempt from the law. I cannot imagine that any of these professionals would be so nonchalant about things or even let it go without getting some sort of law enforcement investigation if any of these, were their children. Or, maybe they would, especially if there was a pay out??? I have no idea what is going on when I see things like this. It is so incredibly disheartening. It is heartbreaking, and it just fills me with a sadness that feels jagged and raw.

I want to know if these children are okay (as adults). I want to know that theyit aint good were able to develop positive attachments and healthy relationships. I want to know that their parents were able to support them enough where these experiences did not leave them with stains on their childhood that overshadowed any other goodness. I know this makes me seem naive but I’m sorry, hearing about adults taking advantage of a child’s innocence and trust with no regard to the blatant wrongness and disgusting nature of their behaviour is disturbing. I just hope beyond all that at least some (better, all) the victims of these two people are able to work through their feelings about these experiences and not let them darken the possibility of happiness and healthiness in the future.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in The Social World

 

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Professionalism

Sometimes I think we forget to give people the basic respect they deserve as individuals when we are in the work place.

I was always taught that when you’re working you leave your personal feelings at the door and it’s all the work. As managers, this is even more true. Despite what we may think of an individual worker, we need to be professional and fair. We need to be practicing in anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive ways.

I have recently been witness to a manager speaking to someone in a very condescending, dismissive and flippant manner then obviously reacting to the workers understandable distaste of this treatment. As someone who has been through the same type of treatment I can honestly say it is incredibly undermining especially when done publicly. It can damage a worker’s confidence. It can damage their ability to be efficiency. It can create a tense and contentious work environment.

When it comes to my Social Work practice, I treat people the way I would want someone to treat my family should they every need to access services. When it comes to management, I do my best to give my workers the same respect I want to be given. It’s a basic human principle. As managers, workers see the way they are treated and the way others are treated. I am not ignoring the fact that there are some workers that require a level of authoritative management that others do no, but I am not talking about their individual needs as workers. Here I am simply talking about the way in which people communicate with each other.

Respect is paramount in any working relationship and if the working relationship is to work that respect has to work both ways, it cannot be one dimensional. I think as professionals when we learn to treat people they way we would like to be treated, talk to people the way in which we would want to be spoken, help others the way we would want ourselves or our family members helped we would create working environments that are free flowing open, honest and transparent.

I have never been one to play politics. I despise the entire practice. But I have been a witness and party to people who do, those who have their own agendas, those who make assumptions about my character without ever having engaged with me, those who have appreciated me as long as I went along with their plans and didn’t exercise any amount of individual personality what so ever. It’s leaves you in a very bad place; a place in which you can feel stifled and belittled in the work environment.

I urge Social Workers, Social work managers, and likewise any other professionals, to keep personal issues and problems outside of the office. When you come to work, be prepared to work and to focus. There are times when things are going on in your personal life that effect you in a way that inhibits your ability to focus, maybe these are days you need to stay away from work and reflect on how to improve your disposition.

As human beings we all want to be respected and in many instances understood as individuals and not made victims of other people’s opinions of us. Give people an opportunity to show you who they are. Judge people on their own merit and not assumptions and be open to being proven wrong. Learn to be the person you expect others to be and we can create environments where people learn, grow, and make positive contributions.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Social Work Practice

 

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The Social Work Hero

SW heroDear Fellow Social Worker,

Having been in management now for a little over two years, I wanted to say to my fellow Social Workers that I have not abandoned the front line. I still feel the pangs of the difficulties of day to day work. I know how difficult it is to truly want to help and be challenged at every end. But hang in there because the work you’re doing is crucial. I applaud your courage and bravery, coming in every day to deadlines and case notes and management targets and verbal abuse from clients, having other professionals undermine the work you do and being given more work on top of that. YOU are my heroes.

There is such a broad discrepancy between what we can do legally and what other professionals and even clients, sometimes, would like us to do. There is such a feeling of being depressed when working with professionals who are more inclined to expect you to do everything than to be a contributory party. But you are the heroes. Social Workers are out there every day working with clients who don’t want us there but we know we need to be there. We need to be there for the clients who don’t yet have a voice. We need to be there for those whose voices are being drowned out by all the white noise of life. We need to be there for those who have had their voices taken from them. I am passionate about Social Work. I have never wanted to do anything other than Social Work and as Social Worker who has been in the business of Social Work for 10+ years, who has not succumb to cynicism or complacency, I applaud all your efforts. I am grateful for the work you do for the most vulnerable of us out there.

When others seek to put you down or undermine the work that you do remember why you are there. You are there to speak for those who for whatever reason are not being heard. When you’re inundated by paperwork (well electronic paperwork) and bureaucracy remember why you’re doing it. As a professional you have a responsibility to the organization which employs you, however the paperwork you do is to document the work you have undertaken with the family so that should you not be around anyone can pick up on the work you do and be able to help that family. So although the bureaucracy is dictated by the organization, it serves to help you evidence your professionalism, your work and all the pertinent information needed for anyone to be able to go through and help a family in your absence.

It’s hard to keep up with it all, all of the time, so, my fellow Social Workers, learn to be advocates for yourselves. Don’t be afraid to tell management that you need some protected time to be able to get caught up. Don’t be afraid to take holidays, you are entitled. The work you do is emotionally draining. You are taking on the problems of others and trying to come up with solutions. Don’t be afraid to respectfully challenge superiors when you have evidence of why you are making the decisions on your cases. You are the experts on your cases. Don’t be afraid to tell people your limitations and guide them in the direction of those that can help them. You can’t know everything there is to know about everything. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground when you are being challenged by other professionals. You know what you are tasked to do and no one has the right to pressure you into things that are beyond you.

If no one else says it to you I am proud of you. I am proud that you have decided to embark upon one of the most difficult professions. I am proud that you continue despite of the negative stereotypes that cloud the profession. You are not the local baby snatcher. You are the Social Worker who wants to make sure every child has their basic needs met and are able to live and develop in an environment that allows them to thrive.

I applaud your efforts. I applaud your commitment. I applaud your dedication. I applaud you skills. I applaud your knowledge. I applaud your bravery. I applaud your work.

I ask only one thing, as a colleague. No matter what organization you work for, no matter how many places you work for, please remember those who you work with. I know the work can be burdensome and tedious and repetitive and time consuming, but please remember that everything you do is to improve the life chances and circumstances of vulnerable children and adults.

And for all that you do – THANK YOU! DANKE! GRACIAS! MERCI!

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Social Work Practice

 

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