Social Workers and the Legislative Framework: A Case of Occupational Blinkers
We have little doubt that the reader will have witnessed or experienced the apprehension which stems from statutory intervention in the lives of children and their families. Social workers are understandably concerned about the effects which legal action may have on their clients and working relationships. What is harder to confront, except among trusted colleagues, is the anxiety and fear that arise from an ignorance of the law, uncertainty about legal procedures, working with lawyers and, horror of horrors, giving evidence in court. We have all been through it, whether as social workers, or as in the case of our co-author, as a solicitor who frequently acts as an advocate. The well-worn reassurance that confidence will only come with experience is of little comfort to the beginner. Having shared the anxiety symptoms of dry mouth, racing brain and occasional mental paralysis, we do not believe that such suffering is necessary, particularly as social workers may also make unfortunate mistakes while they are travelling the path of experience in search of equanimity and confidence.
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