The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Death Threats and Dogs – Book Review

Published by Community Care for Kindle and available from Amazon, Death Threats and Dogs is a compilation of social work anecdotes from practitioners working with children and families, young people, elderly services, mental health teams and disabilities teams.  Some are funny, some are sad.  A frequent theme is dealing with increasing bureaucracy and financial constraints.  With the voices of the front line practitioner through to the social work manager a wide range of stories and scenarios are told and there’s something in there for every reader.

One of my favourites is the social worker trying to persuade a mum of an 8 year old boy that it’s not appropriate for him to sleep in the same room as his sixteen year old sister and her 25 year old boyfriend.  With mum completely unable to understand the concerns, the worker begins to question her own sanity and ask “am I in a comedy sketch?”

Another anecdote is of the social worker visiting a man whose father has just died.  Finding the man’s father sitting in his wheelchair in the middle of the room, “stone dead”, the worker muses, “I struggle to recall the bit of training that advised on how to deal with such situations. I conclude that I must have been off that day.”

These stories remind me of some of the old characters of social work, from way back in the days of working in generic teams (in England), who could relate with measures of humour and compassion events from their days.  It feels as if a lot of the sharing of those stories has been lost under the weight of managerialism in recent years.

Donovan, Sally (2013-05-16). Death Threats and Dogs: Life on the Social Work Frontline (Kindle Locations 744-745). Community Care. Kindle Edition.

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