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End of year review 2022

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. Personal life In previous years, I have not…

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…

Rich Devine’s Social Work Podcast, 1st EVER episode

I have finally, after many years of researching, published my 1st podcast (yay!). I have spent endless amount of hours looking up various editing programmes, publishing sites and microphones over the past two-three years. The more I researched, the more confused I became. Eventually, I contacted Vicki from Social Work Sorted (who was incredibly kind,…

Coercive Social Work and Parental Resistance

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council Introduction A fundamental part of being a child protection social worker is to work with parents who, quite frankly, don’t want to work with us.  There are various reasons for this, and it is important that we seek to understand them while recognizing…

What does ‘direct work’ in social work really mean?

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the title and view it in full. Recently, I had the privilege of connecting with…

‘The mother requires 12-18 months of psychological therapy; unfortunately, this is not consistent with the child’s timescales.’

An exploration of psychological assessments and recommendations: a Local Authority’s perspective By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the title and view…

A Summary of Key Ideas from ‘In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts’ by Gabor Mate

By Richard Devine, Social Worker and Bath and North East Somerset Council Introduction  ‘Woke up feeling very scared, was very emotional and anxious for over one hour, then I remembered I had a can of beer, drank that and it receded my fears long enough to get to the chemist to pick up Valium’.  This…

A Compassionate Enquiry into Addiction

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council and Ian Thomas, Independent Social Worker and Tedx Speaker NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in…

Parental Advocacy: a FREE webinar

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council and Tim Fisher, Service Manager for Camden Council Parental Advocacy is picking up momentum as an effective, ethically sound approach to supporting children and families, underpinned by an increasing evidence base. The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Case for Change identify it…

5 books every front-line social worker should read in 2022 to make better decisions, build effective relationships, and improve the lives of children and families.

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. These are five books that have profoundly influenced…

5 books every front-line social worker should read in 2022 to make better decisions, build effective relationships, and improve the lives of children and families.

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. These are five books that have profoundly influenced…

End of year review 2021

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. Each year, in between Christmas and New Year,…

Reflexive Thematic Analysis – The What, Why and How

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. Preface:  I recently secured a position of British…

The Case for Change: How to Help Children and Families

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council The Children’s Social Care Review, led by Josh MacAlister published an interim report, titled ‘The Case for Change’.  In just over 100 pages the report identifies the fundamental issues of concern across the system. I thought the report is well-produced, coherently presented, evidenced-based,…

Social Work and Conflict

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. I was recently given the chance to deliver…

If I was in charge…

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council I was invited to write a piece for Social Work News. In this piece I explored what changes I would make if I was in charge. Because I lack imagination and creativity, I think the ideas I put forward are easily achievable and…

Conversations with parents about Family Group Conferences

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. Most parents will be reluctant to have a…

How to manage resistance and have difficult conversations that make a difference

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. Preface: This is a review of Motivational Interviewing…

Parental Advocacy: Building Bridges

By Richard Devine Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council… with Tim Fisher and Becca Dove from Camden Council and Leigh Zywek and Penny McKissock from Bath and North East Somerset Council. NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may…

Recording and Report Writing

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. I was recently granted the privilege of participating…

What I learnt attending Alcoholic’s Anonymous

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. The following is an essay I completed when…

The Effects of Being in Care, Being Black and The Search for Belonging

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council (26.03.21) NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click on the link and view it full. Introduction: I recently read a book recommended…

Working with Fathers: Challenging our perceptions of men

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council NOTE: If you are receiving this via e-mail it may be cut short by your e-mail programme and/or the graphics may be distorted. You may wish to click the link and view it in full. Introduction:  It is well documented that child protection…

We need to talk about resilience

By Rhian Taylor (19.02.21) Preface by Richard Devine. This guest blog is by Rhian Taylor, an experienced social worker with over 20 years experience. She has recently left academia after several years as a lecturer in Kent University to work in a specialist CAHMS team, where no doubt her thoughtful, kind-spirited and passionate commitment to…

Carl Jung: Modern Man in Search of Soul: 10 lessons (part 2)

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset (05.02.2021). Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933) is apparently a great introduction to Carl Jung’s theories of analytical psychology. The book is broken down into eleven essays dealing with topics of dream analysis, Freudian psychology, spirituality, religion, and the unconscious. I don’t…

Carl Jung: Modern Man in Search of Soul: 10 lessons (part 1)

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset (22.01.2021). Modern Man in Search of a Soul is apparently a great introduction to Carl Jung’s theories of analytical psychology. The book is broken down into eleven essays dealing with topics of dream analysis, Freudian psychology, spirituality, religion, and the unconscious. I don’t claim…

End of Year Review 2020

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council (31.12.2020) Introduction:  As the year comes to a close, I have decided to write and share an end of year review. For the past few years, I have spent a few hours during the time in-between Christmas and New Years reflecting on what…

Forrester versus Featherstone: A debate Part 3

By Richard Devine (18.12.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council. Introduction:  On 07th October 2020, we held a debate at Bath and North East Somerset Council between Brid Featherstone and Donald Forrester. This debate was inspired by an article each of them wrote for the COVID2020 online magazine. Very briefly, Forrester advocated…

Forrester versus Featherstone: A debate Part 2

By Richard Devine (16.12.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council. Introduction:  On 07th October 2020, we held a debate at Bath and North East Somerset Council between Brid Featherstone and Donald Forrester. This debate was inspired by an article each of them wrote for the COVID2020 online magazine. Very briefly, Forrester advocated…

Forrester Versus Featherstone: A debate Part 1

By Richard Devine (14.12.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council Introduction:  On 07th October 2020, we held a debate at Bath and North East Somerset Council between Brid Featherstone and Donald Forrester. This debate was inspired by an article each of them wrote for the COVID2020 online magazine. Very briefly, Forrester advocated…

Social Media and Social Work

By Richard Devine (02.10.20), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Preface: This is a review of ‘Social Media and Social Work: Implications and opportunities for practice’ edited by Claudia Megele and Peter Buzzi (2020).  Introduction:  ‘The fast evolving social and technological landscapes have transformed society and the understanding of ‘social’ and are rapidly…

10 Lessons from 10 years on the Frontline: 10, Asking for help

By Richard Devine (11.09.20) Lesson 10: Asking for Help It turns out that I don’t have 10 lessons. I only have 9! A couple of days ago I realised that I wasn’t going to have a 10th lesson. I remembered, however, that I could do what I have always done when I am ‘stuck’ or…

10 Lessons from 10 years on the Frontline: 9, Small Wins

By Richard Devine (10.09.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council. In this blog, I will share some of the mini-lessons that I have picked up over the years. It is a random list of ideas and thoughts that didn’t fit into any of the other lessons. So here it is:  Confidence over…

10 Lessons from 10 years on the Frontline: 8, Some parents need long term support

By Richard Devine (09.09.2020) Lesson 8: Some parents need long term support Introduction:  This is the most recent lesson I have learned. If I would have read this blog during the first few years of being a social worker, I would have dismissed the idea as fanciful, unrealistic, and probably proposed by someone disconnected from…

10 Lessons from 10 Years on the Frontline: 7, Effective social work depends on effective time management

By Richard Devine (08.09.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council Lesson 7. Effective social work depends upon effective time management Introduction: Poor impulse control; easily activated fear system motivating avoidance of difficult tasks; and the inability to organize and structure my time according to a set of priorities are all issues that…

10 Lessons from 10 years on the Frontline: 6, Attachment and Trauma

By Richard Devine (07.09.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council. Originally I had intended to write a blog with 10 pithy lessons from my experience of being a social worker since I qualified in 2010. What I have done instead is write 10 lengthy (ish) lessons, each amounting to the equivalent of…

10 Lessons from 10 Years on the Frontline: 5, The complexity of domestic abuse

By Richard Devine (04.09.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council. Originally I had intended to write a blog with 10 pithy lessons from my experience of being a social worker since I qualified in 2010. What I have done instead is write 10 lengthy (ish) lessons, each amounting to the equivalent of…

10 Lessons from 10 Years on the Frontline: 4, Parenting courses don’t work (!?)

By Richard Devine (03.09.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council. Originally I had intended to write a blog with 10 pithy lessons from my experience of being a social worker since I qualified in 2010. What I have done instead is write 10 lengthy (ish) lessons, each amounting to the equivalent of…

10 Lessons from 10 Years on the Frontline: 3, Decision Making and Removing Children

By Richard Devine (02.09.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council. Originally I had intended to write a blog with 10 pithy lessons from my experience of being a social worker since I qualified in 2010. What I have done instead is write 10 lengthy (ish) lessons, each amounting to the equivalent of…

10 Lessons from 10 Years on the Frontline: 1, Relationships Matter

By Richard Devine (31.08.2020), Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council Originally I had intended to write a blog with 10 pithy lessons from my experience of being a social worker since I qualified in 2010. What I have done instead is write 10 lengthy (ish) lessons, each amounting to the equivalent of…

The problem with resilience

By Lys Eden (14.08.20) Preface by Richard Devine: This is a guest blog by Lys Clark, care experienced social work student. I found this to be a thoroughly captivating and thought provoking piece, in which the concept of resilience is explored. Lys lucidly and incisively articulates concern with the term. She persuasively argues that it…

Book review of The Ecology of Human Development (1979) by Urie Bronfenbrenner

Subtitle; Picking Sides: Psychology versus Sociology in Social Work By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset (31.07.20) Introduction: A challenge in social work is being taught both sociology and psychology. There can often be a tension between these two disciplines, with each making the case that the level of analysis in…

Critical cause of concern and critical cause of change

By Richard Devine (17.07.20), Social Worker and Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES). Introduction: Too much support?  Frequently, I am overwhelmed by the variety and severity of problems that a parent or family is experiencing. Drug and/or alcohol use, domestic abuse, poor mental health alongside dire housing conditions, financial difficulties, and children with a…

Drugs, death and my decision to become a Social Worker

By Richard Devine, Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset Council (03.07.20) This was the perspective of my dad at one point during my childhood. He died when I was 16 years old after he spent most of my adolescence using drugs and alcohol or in rehabilitation treatment centres. Whilst in rehab my dad…

“She prioritises her own needs above her child’s”

A reflection, by Richard Devine; Social Worker for Bath and North East Somerset (19.06.20) (Vacancy in BANES currently for deputy team manager – just click on the job title and it take you directly to the website). I am cautious in analysing the meaning of words, statements, and phrases in children’s social work. Language is…

A Reflection on a long career in Social Work

Preface by Richard Devine: This is a guest blog by Ruth Martin, a recently retired (mostly!) Social Worker from Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES). She wrote a reflective piece on the changes in social work since she qualified in 1977, an impressive 42 years ago.  She very kindly agreed to share it. I…

Book Review; Erving Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

By Richard Devine (22.05.2020) Introduction  Erving Goffman’s 1956 book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is considered one of the most important sociological texts of the twentieth century. His work is often a staple part of the social work curriculum. Goffman invokes language and imagery derived from theatre. This functions as an effective analogy…

Why we don’t talk to children?

A guest blog from Andy Black, a Social Worker in the Child in Care Team at Bath and North East Somerset Council (08.05.20). Introduction: I wanted to write this blog as the question of why we don’t talk to children is something that has consistently arisen within my own practice. After almost two years working…

A summary on the ‘WHY’ of writing a chronology

The most important part of writing a chronology is understanding WHY we complete them. Often in Social Work, the ‘HOW’ is underpinned by the ‘WHY.  There are many reasons to complete a chronology but here are five of the main reasons:  To understand Children Social Care involvement with the family or child thus far. You…

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