Sometimes people ask me what I do and I talk about working with children and families. This is what I do it’s true, but its really a lot more than that.
This morning, a Tuesday after a bank holiday weekend, I checked my email with some trepidation and was surprised to find that there were no emails that I had to deal with. I thought to myself ‘I’ll give it an hour for all the weekend emails to come in.’ We get an email each evening from the police letting us know the children who have gone missing in the last 24 hours. I wondered if they had sent one over on Monday and I’d receive it as soon as the main email box was checked.
I decided to make a start on the weekly figures for last week – a job that I’m meant to do on the first day of the week but it very rarely gets done. So since I had a bit of a quiet morning I thought I would get it done.
Before I could finish this task a phone call was received from a girl we’d been working with on Friday. She’s 17 and has nowhere to live. She can’t go home because she has bail conditions and there is no other family members who can house her. Over the weekend she was placed in B&B accommodation but she has nowhere to go from midday.
The team I work in runs two services – homeless and missing. Normally, I only work with the missing side but both members of the homeless side were out and not likely to return to the office until about 11.30. So I was asked to start work for this girl which involved contacting family members and then passing the information on to the social work team. Thankfully, my colleagues returned to the office at 10.30 and were able to place her in our emergency teen accommodation before the end of the day.
I then spent some time on updating myself with the cases of the children who are currently reported as missing. One young person had been found and returned to his placement in Wales. I contacted Children’s Services in Wales to request that they undertaken a return home interview. Return home interviews are undertaken to talk about the reasons why a child went missing – were they running away from something or running to something.
There were a number of colleagues off work today and there was a lot of new referrals. I was asked if I could help out on a couple of them. I researched the history of the cases and then sent them for an assessment by social workers.
I received some information about a child who had been reported missing over the weekend. I checked the history, discussed it with a colleague and updated the spreadsheet we use that logs each child missing and what work we have undertaken. The phone numbers we had didn’t work so I sent out a letter.
I had to go to conduct a return home interview. The girl had run away after being grounded. It turned out that the reason for the grounding was more interesting than the running away. I undertook a Child Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment and then agreed to complete referrals for support services.
The family had a staffordshire type dog who was lovely. I spoke to her and gave her some love. The family had had interventions from Children’s Services before and they were amazed that I didn’t ask for the dog to be removed. The dog was very friendly and very well behaved especially with the 4 year old sibling.
On returning to the office, I made a call to inform the mother of the earlier homeless girl that she was in a safe place.
I completed a spreadsheet task for my manager. She’d been struggling with it for hours. I did it in 20 minutes.
I received the email from the police which said that they had received a high number of referrals over the weekend and they were still dealing with the data. Tomorrow… and the rest of the week, is expected to be busy.