Let's Talk Social Work
The Care Review, Part 2 — Meeting the needs of Black & minoritised children in care
In the second of two episodes exploring issues related to the independent review of children’s social care in England, Andy McClenaghan is joined by social workers Patriche Bentick, Senior Practitioner at Camden Council and James Kargbo, Fostering Team Manager, also from Camden Council. They examine issues facing Black and minoritized children in the care system, the extent to which matters of equality, diversity and inclusion have been considered in the Care Review so far and the need to decolonise social work education.
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Friends in high places57:25This episode explores social work and government policy in Wales. That’s not unusual for Let’s Talk Social Work, but what is a little different is that we will be considering these issues with the focus placed on an individual and the role they have played in shaping both.Since 2018 the Welsh Government has been led by Mark Drakeford. A former social worker and social policy academic, Mr Drakeford held the posts of Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Minister for Health and Social Services before becoming First Minister. In December he announced he will stand down as leader of the Welsh Labour party and First Minister in March 2024.Andy is joined by social workers Abyd Quin Aziz, Reader in Social Work at Cardiff University and BASW Cymru committee member, and Plaid Cymru member of Gwyned Council, Councillor Delyth Lloyd Griffiths. They explore how Mark Drakeford’s time in office has influenced the Welsh Government’s approach to social work, and the extent to which wider Government policy has been informed by social work values.Image attribution—User: (WT-shared) Cardiff at wts wikivoyage, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Responding to sibling sexual behaviour and abuse44:12This episode of the podcast features discussion of issues that may cause distress, including sexual harm and abuse by siblings, and listener discretion is advised. In this episode, Andy is joined by social worker Anna Glinski, Deputy Director for Knowledge & Practice Development at the Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse. They discuss the challenging issue of sibling sexual behaviour and explore how social workers should respond to instances of inappropriate, problematic and abusive sexual behaviour between siblings.Among the issues discussed, they consider the prevalence of sibling sexual abuse and the extent to which the issue is understood within the profession. They examine what causes children to become engaged in inappropriate, harmful or abusive sexual behaviour with their siblings, and how social workers can take a whole-family approach to supporting the children involved.In 2023 the Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse published guidance on responding to sibling sexual behaviour. The document can be accessed at https://www.csacentre.org.uk/app/uploads/2023/09/Sibling-sexual-behaviour-English.pdf
Meet me where I’m at52:15The first episode of Let’s Talk Social Work of 2024 explores a fantastic, coproduced training project run by the Western Health and Social Care Trust which equips social workers to better support families affected by addiction.The discussion examines the effects addiction has on families and overviews the first-hand impacts that social work involvement can have when a parent is struggling with addiction. The episode also addresses why a service user-led approach is critical to increasing understanding and delivering real improvements in outcomes for children and families.Andy is joined by Sarahlee, a parent and expert by experience who was instrumental in creating the Meet me Where I’m at project, and Western Health and Social Care Trust social workers, Claire White and Serla Meenan.At the start of the episode Andy mentions the Have Your Say workforce survey for social workers and social care workers in Wales. You can find out more about the survey and take part here.
Promote the Vote43:43In this episode, made to mark Human Rights Day, we’re examining a really fascinating subject—the Promote the Vote project. The project helps social workers support people with learning disabilities to make use of their right to vote.Despite the UK being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities—Article 29 of which ensures the right for disabled people to vote—barriers remain which can prevent people from exercising this right.Joining Andy to discuss how Promote the Vote is helping people with a learning disability overcome these barriers are Hafsa Akhtar an expert by experience, Elaine James, Head of Service for Learning Disabilities and Preparation for Adulthood at Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Amani Ali, National Management Trainee also based at Bradford Metropolitan District Council.BASW’s UK-wide social work surveyEach year, BASW surveys social workers and social work students to identify the profession’s priorities for the year ahead. This year’s survey is exploring views on current working conditions, on issues of environmental, professional and social sustainability, and social workers’ views on supporting people to participate in voting in the next General Election.The survey is open until Monday 8 January 2024 and results will be anonymised prior to analysis.It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and is available here.
Social Work with Older People53:21This episode explores the findings of the Social Work with Older People research project led by the University of Birmingham and the University of Bristol. The project has sought to examine the role social workers play in supporting older people, carers, and families to transform situations. It looks at the barriers which can impede the delivery of high quality and effective services and outlines a series of recommendations concerning how social work can better meet the needs of older people.Joining host Andy McClenaghan are Dr Paul Willis, who at the time of recording worked for the University of Bristol and is now Professor of Adult Social Care at Cardiff University, Nargis Kapasi, a member of the project’s Expert Advisory Group, former social worker and someone who has lived experience as a carer, and Gerry Nosowska, Director at Effective Practice, Co-host of the Helpful Social Work podcast and former Chair of BASW UK.
A portrait of the social worker47:28This episode is a break from the norm. It doesn’t explore an area of practice, a social policy issue or a campaign. Rather, it is a discussion of a life in social work. The life in question is that of Patrick O’Dea who earlier this year published his memoir—I who had it figured out. The book charts Patrick’s upbringing in 1950s Dublin, his years as a social work student at Trinity College, his beginnings in youth and community work and a career in probation. It comes full circle to overview Patrick’s position as a social work educator in his alma mater and on to his work advising a Hedge Fund—a role the young 1970s utopian may have had questions about. You can purchase a copy of I who had it figured out here.
Nothing about us without us36:13What does it look like when experts by experience are fully involved in shaping and informing social work education? What does the role entail? How can universities avoid tokenism and ensure meaningful engagement? What are the benefits for social work students, people who use services and the experts by experience themselves?To address these questions and many more, host, Andy McClenaghan is joined by Rebecca Regler who earlier this year wrote in the British Journal of Social Work about her journey from being a social worker, to a service user, to an expert by experience, and Cherie Carlton, Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead from the MA social work practice, Think Ahead, at Middlesex University.You can read Rebecca’s article, My Journey from being a Social Worker, to a service user, to an expert by experience here.
When the going gets tough48:07Social work is a demanding role and even under the best of circumstances, as social workers support individuals to improve life opportunities, they will face difficulties and stresses associated with their work. Andy McClenaghan is joined by Dr Jennifer Simpson and Sam Pulman to explore the theme of resilience in social work. Jennifer is Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Course Leader for MA Advanced Social Work at Nottingham Trent University and Sam previously worked as a frontline social worker with children and families, and as a social work manager before embarking on her doctoral studies. Both are closely involved with the work of the Social Workers’ Educational Trust.First the conversation considers how social workers can withstand and recover from the pressures and stresses they face. Then the discussion moves on to examine whether a focus on resilience gives an easy out for organisations which overburden and stretch their social workers beyond what is manageable and ask if resilience as an individual quality is really what we should be focused on.
Self-Neglect: Exploring the Social Work Response46:22Episode 66 of Let’s Talk Social Work examines a subject which previously hasn’t been explored on the podcast. The discussion focuses on self-neglect—what it is, the ways in which it affects people and how social workers can respond.We look at how the social work approach to supporting people who self-neglect has changed over the years, the duties placed on Local Authorities in relation to self-neglect by the Care Act and how these requirements must be balanced with each individual’s human rights.Joining Andy McClenaghan to explore the topic are Lizzie Furber, Principal Social Worker with responsibility for Social Justice, Diversity & Strategy at DCC Interactive Ltd and Independent Social Worker, Lisa Barrett. Lisa runs the consultancy Clutter Free Living and is a Trainer with, and former Board member of, the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers.