The British Association Of Social Workers (BASW) is collaborating with the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, to examine how much one to one time social workers spend with children and families during child protection investigations. In order to do this, they have created a survey, and they’d love to hear your thoughts.
This is what the introduction to the survey says:
“The Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) and BASW are working in partnership to promote and enhance the importance of social workers spending quality ‘direct’ time with children and families, which is vital to developing trusting relationships and completing good quality assessments, decision-making and plans based on the wishes, feelings, holistic needs and interests of the child.
Children have a right to have their voice heard in any decision that affects their lives, to receive information and explanations in meaningful ways, and to have opportunities to explore their concerns and receive support. Any system change to delivery of services for children should also place children’s views and experiences at the heart of delivery. Children in research studies and consultations, such as with the Children’s Commissioner’s Office, have expressed their concerns about social workers spending less time with them and not seeing or hearing from their social workers enough. This is also a concern highlighted by numerous serious case reviews and public inquiries which highlight how the absence of engagement and communication with children compromises not only children’s right to a voice but to their safety.
We want to hear your views and gain enough feedback so we can lobby for social workers to spend more time undertaking direct work with children.”
Whilst the initiative is a good one, the questions are not as precise as we would have liked. Question 2 is particularly worrying, as it lumps face to face contact with phone contact, which are not the same at all when it comes to getting to know a child and building a trusting relationship with them. We would invite the BASW to edit this questionnaire so that these two elements are separated.
We hope the sector will remember that quantity of time must be combined with quality time, so that social workers not only sit face to face with children, but really listen to what they have to say, and most importantly understand what these children are saying.
At only five questions, which are very basic, it’s a short survey, and so quick to fill out. If you’re not a social worker, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this survey, too.