Our adult son has a learning disability. How will he cope as coronavirus surges?
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Madeleine Cowley
3y ago
Families with vulnerable sons and daughters have been left adrift during the pandemic. We fear what will come next Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage My younger son, Thomas, turned 40 in June. But the big party to which his many aunts, uncles and cousins had been invited had to be cancelled. Thomas has Down’s syndrome and a severe learning disability and lives in a residential home; until recently, he hadn’t been able to see his family since early March. His father and I have been able to keep in touch with our son via video calls facilitated by his key worker, and ..read more
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Pandemic or no pandemic, young people should not 'age out' of care
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Krish Kandiah
3y ago
Care leavers are vulnerable to exploitation and destitution. They deserve protection after the threat of the virus has receded My daughter has just left home. Well, she has, and she hasn’t: despite the mountain of stuff she took with her to university, her room is still full. And despite her much-anticipated independence, she still phones or texts several times a day. I forward her mail, answer her culinary questions, sympathise at 2am when there’s a loud party keeping her awake and grant access to the bank of mum and dad. She may not be living under my roof, but I am her safety net emotionall ..read more
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As a care leaver, I've felt neglected and unsupported during the Covid crisis
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Kerrie Portman
4y ago
When I got sick and had to self-isolate, I was without help. My electricity was cut off, I ran out of food and I had to skip meals Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage When lockdown began, nearly all my university classmates went back to live with their families. But I don’t have the emotional support or safety net of a family. I didn’t see anyone I knew for 13 weeks. As an autistic care leaver, the hardest part of dealing with the Covid pandemic has been the neglect and lack of support I have experienced at my accommodation. The overwhelming stress of my situation c ..read more
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Half-century is an opportunity to hail social work's role in society's changes
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Ray Jones
4y ago
A decade of austerity has heaped pressure on the profession, but it’s important to celebrate its achievements Amid the concentration this year on Brexit and coronavirus, and with a focus on the NHS and its 72nd anniversary, another significant anniversary is passing by with little recognition. It is 50 years since a unified profession of social work was established across the United Kingdom, and 50 years since the creation of integrated local authority personal social services in England and Wales. Before 1970 there were eight separate membership organisations for different specialist social w ..read more
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Parenting a disabled child is lonely – so I built an app to help us find each other
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Jessica Barker
4y ago
Finding people in similar situations nearby and the services you need is a challenge for families like mine It was 10 June 2015. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Maisie, our cherished baby, was making her way into the world. At 7.14pm, Maisie made her appearance. A mop of thick black hair, a cute button nose and chubby little fingers that curled lovingly around my hand. This is it, I thought. I’m head over heels in love. Related: 'We're on our own': how the pandemic isolates families of disabled childrenBrian O'Hagan Related: Sign up for Society Weekly: our newsletter for publi ..read more
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Covid-19 is robbing children taken into care of a chance to properly say goodbye to their families
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Angela Frazer-Wicks
4y ago
Saying farewell to my children was devastating, but I at least have memories to treasure. Families today aren’t so lucky Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Sixteen years ago, I was choosing gifts for my children. My eldest son, then aged five, had asked for a “big boy’s watch”. My 18-month-old son would be happy with something he could eat, whether it was edible or not. I found a shop selling silver tankards, chose two and had my sons’ names and nicknames engraved, along with “mammy loves you”. I spent ages browsing for the perfect card for each of them. Related: H ..read more
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'I wasn't a gangster, just a kid from Shropshire': how drugs gangs are exploiting lockdown
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Sonya Jones
4y ago
My team is seeing ever-younger children being recruited to county lines drugs trade during the pandemic Ever since he was a little kid, 16-year-old Adam* loved gangster movies. The glamour of the lifestyle – the money, the cars, the respect – all appealed to him. When a gang from a nearby city expanded its drug-selling operation to his neighbourhood, it sucked him in by promising to make those dreams come true. But the reality was very different.  One day Adam was robbed of drugs and money on the street. He barely slept for 13 days in a bid to earn it back because he didn’t want the perso ..read more
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He calls us 'new Mum, new Dad': fostering a teen asylum seeker
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Anonymous foster carer
4y ago
Salim has been with us for three years and we treat him as one of the family My husband and I were lucky enough to retire with good physical and mental health, but wanted to still be socially useful. After more than 60 years’ teaching experience between us, we decided to apply to be foster carers. Working with teenagers kept us young at heart, but the first question we asked the county council was: “Are we too old?” We were fast approaching 60, but there’s no age limit for fostering, just a medical to get through – which fortunately we did. Related: Fostering a teenage asylum seeker was chall ..read more
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Building 'resilience' won't stop traumatised social workers quitting
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Diane Galpin, Annastasia Maksymluk and Andy Whiteford
4y ago
A new diagnostic tool and workforce health check risk blaming frontline professionals for their burnout and distress A healthy workforce is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure children and their families receive the best possible social work support. The positive effect of a stable and experienced workforce cannot be overestimated when one considers that inspectors say reduced staff turnover can lead to better quality services. However, these aims have been frustrated as social workers leave the profession due to stress and burnout. Analysis of the children and family social work workforce in ..read more
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'Hard truths told in a gentle way': how life story books help adopted children
The Guardian - Social life blog
by Hannah Walker
4y ago
Life story books can help adopted children understand their past, but are often not prioritised by social workers Baby Charlie* was unable to live with his birth family, but they were determined that he would know where he came from. Although it was sometimes painful, Charlie’s birth mother and his maternal birth grandparents all spent time sharing memories and anecdotes, and explaining what happened in their own words. Charlie’s mum also pointed out where his cot used to be (the glow in the dark stars were still visible on the ceiling) and his scan picture on the fridge, allowing me to take p ..read more
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