David Wilkins, Principal Child and Family Social Worker (PSW) for London Borough of Enfield discusses why he went into the social work profession…
I think what I like about social work and what attracted me to it is the way in which it requires you to be both excellent with people but also knowledgeable about theory and research at the same time. In other words, it’s both intellectually and personally stimulating.
My passion for social work was ignited from working with disabled children on Enfield’s excellent play schemes and after school clubs. From there, I was fortunate enough to gain a place on Enfield’s ‘grow your own’ social work scheme and I qualified from Middlesex University as a social worker in 2007. Two years later, I was promoted to the position of deputy team manager in Enfield’s Disabled Children’s Team and in 2012, I was then seconded into the role of PSW.
My job is incredibly varied. As PSW, my role is to champion social work practice in the authority and to help raise standards. This involves a lot of consultation work with social workers, spending time with the senior management team, delivering training to social workers, doing quality assurance work but also co-working with a small number of complex child protection and looked after children cases.
I love the variety but I gain a special satisfaction from being able to help children live safely in their own families. One of my best experiences as a social worker was when I worked with two young children in particular. Their mother was misusing drugs and alcohol and was trying to hide this from professionals and their father could be violent and was known to police as a possible drug dealer. The children were neglected, missing school and medical appointments, the youngest was losing weight and they both seemed scared of their parents. It looked as if the children would have to be taken into care and placed with a foster carer but together with colleagues, we worked really hard with the family and in time, the father managed to turn his life around. The children are now living with their father and his new partner and they are thriving – a happy family. The change in the father and in the children was absolutely remarkable. My only regret is that we were not able to help the mother in the same way.