Added Date: 10th August 2014
A day in the life of:

A Child Protection Fieldworker

My day starts at 6:00am when I am rudely wakened by screech: my alarm clock. When I finally manage to prise myself out of bed, I have the exciting task of trying to get ready without waking my daughter up. All going well she will wake up at 7:00am and we will sit and eat breakfast together this is non-negotiable and I am constantly reminded to “sit back down mummy I’m not finished”. I then grab all of my daughter’s things and make a mad dash towards the door.

I have worked with children and adults with disabilities since the age of 16; I have recently qualified as a registered Learning Disabilities Nurse. My own parents have been foster carers for 17 years and I was around the age of 11 when a little baby boy was 1st placed with us. At the time I did not think much about this process, however as I grew and started to ask questions, I realised that these children had gone through experiences that would have an impact on the rest of their lives. My parents also instilled in me that we should not judge people before walking in their shoes and that’s when I realised that some of these families loved their children but may have difficulties in parenting them without support. This being one of the reasons I entered the role of a child protection fieldwork for a charity called Embrace Wigan and Leigh. This position is funded by Wigan Council and is very exciting as there are very few roles like this in the country.

There isn’t a typical day for me, as every single day is different. Some days I am on the 8:20am train into the city to accompany parents to court. Days like these are very emotional. I am often on the train wondering what decisions will be made. These decisions will affect every aspect of the families’ lives and their lives could change forever. Therefore it is crucial I remain collected so I can offer emotional support to the families I work with.

On the train journey to court I will usually engage the family in informal discussions to try and help them remain calm before the day ahead. When we arrive at court I will begin to explain to the families how the day is going to pan out. Most of them will get very anxious as they are expecting a court hearing like they see on the TV : a judge with a big curly white wig and people all around. This however is not the case. We will firstly be called into a room with the solicitor to discuss the case, as many of my families have learning disabilities I often have to rephrase and breakdown what is being said so they can understand as the legal terms being used which can be very confusing.

After the discussions with the solicitor, the families normally have time to talk is over and they will be asked to wait for the hearing to begin. During the hearing, my role is to offer emotional support to the families, as this can be an extremely distressing experience as the solicitors and the judges will discuss the case, often saying things about the family that can be hard to hear.

There are many outcomes that can come from these meetings; my support differs with each of these outcomes. Sometimes I will be positive and I will provide reassurance, other times there is very little to be said and emotional support is all I can offer. These are the days that concern me most.
On the way home I reflect on the day wondering whether I have done everything I can for my families, if it has been a day of negative outcomes this can be quite an emotional time. I usually get home put my trainers on and head out for a run to clear my mind. This is important for my emotional wellbeing and it also helps me improve my mood before I pick up my daughter.

Once we get home I return to being a mummy again and start getting my daughter ready for bed and reading her a story.

I then head for my own bed and wait for it all to start again at 6:00am.

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