Social Services part of the problem

Good people go into social services, but their desire to help others is harnessed into a system that is rotten. Poorly constructed in its origins, handing out services to the lucky few, undermining existing grass roots structures, instead of supporting them. Seeking powers that brought it into public disrepute as clip-board bureaucrats who took people’s kids away. Building institutions (childrens and old people’s homes) that attracted corrupt abusers of the vulnerable. With a third rate management whose primary aim has always seemed to be to protect their own back. So what we’re left with today are increasingly expensive solutions and the creepy suspicion that the real hard cases can easily slip through the safety net.
So what is the solution?
1) Social Services should recognise that the key worker in their project is the Home Help. Home Helps must replace Social Workers. The job description needs to be practical – helping children to get dressed, breakfasted and to school on time – and later home, fed an evening meal and to bed. Or helping chaotic families by developing routines of clothes washing, cleaning and budgeting. Or supporting older people with appointments and maintaining their networks. These should be timed interventions – not services for life; with a secondary aim of supporting people to build up their communty contacts. The only visit to a home, should be one that gives practical support. Questionaires and interviews must be banned.
2) Social Services must be stripped of all powers to divide families and they should limit themselves to being witnesses, in extreme cases, to proceedings in a court. Criminal acts should be dealt with through the criminal justice system, and a home help giving intensive practical support to a family for one month will have a much better idea if foul play is going on, than a social worker visiting to ask questions.
These root and branch changes may rescue the modern SS from its rotten state, or they may be too late?
The current “personalisation” changes, where the system is recognising that people are best making their own choices, will shift control back to communities and families. We need responses to social crises that are local, individual and unique. Perhaps this will be a progressive way to role back the rotten state and re-energise neighbourliness and community cohesion.

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