Relationship Based Practice in Child Protection: An insurmountable problem?

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset

This is an article I wrote for, GAPS a UK based charity which promotes relationship-based approaches and psychodynamic and systemic thinking in social work. It is my most succinct and concentrated overview of key ideas and the approach I took in my role as a child protection social worker.

I walked up the short garden path of the home I visited. I held an A4-sized envelope containing a letter that I anticipated would devastate the parents to whom I delivered the letter. As I approached, my heart raced. I was tense, and every fibre in my body was telling me my anxious state would dissipate if I walked in the opposite direction. I attempted to down-regulate my heightened emotional state, but all I managed was to conceal my underlying state from visibility. I knocked on the front door. It jerked open, and the mother, Katie, quickly glanced before shouting, ‘not f—-ing today, I already told you, I don’t want you here‘. Before I uttered a word, the door slammed shut as quickly as it was opened.

I braced myself and knocked again. Katie opened the door. Her skin was clammy, her eyes puffed, and her hair unbrushed and greasy. She swayed, leaned on the door frame to steady herself, and I concluded that she was probably intoxicated. Isabelle, a 3-year-old girl with curly blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, leaned around the door frame inside the home, looked at me, coyly smiled and wandered back into the living room. Katie glanced at the letter and venomously asked, ‘what the f— is this?‘…

The rest of this article can be found here

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I *intend to write every fortnight about matters related to child protection, children and families, attachment, and trauma.  Or you can read previous blogs here.

By Richard Devine (31.10.2022)

Published by Richard Devine's Social Work Practice Blog

My name is Richard Devine. I am a Social Worker in Bath and North East Somerset Council. After I qualified in 2010 I worked in long term Child Protection Teams. Since 2017 I have been undertaking community based parenting assessments. I obtained a Masters in Attachment Studies 2018.

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