The Secret Diary of an Adoption Support Social Worker

The Secret Diary of an Adoption Support Social Worker

We asked our Adoption Support Social Worker Caroline what a typical week looks like for her supporting Caritas Care Adopters, adopted children and families and she rose to the challenge…here’s her National Adoption Week diary.

The first appointment of the week couldn’t go ahead due to adopters having to self isolate! We are all getting to grips with the new Covid safe ways of working and making sure that we are keeping everyone as safe as possible. We rearranged our session and will look forward to seeing them soon.

This afternoon, I attended a virtual school EHCP review meeting alongside our adopters. I’d been into the school previously to offer some support to understand the impacts of early trauma on children, to think together about some of the behaviours they were seeing in the classroom and ways of responding to help the child feel more emotionally safe and secure. The review was really positive and it was so lovely to hear how proud everyone was about the progress in so many areas of this child’s development.

Today also included catch up telephone calls with some adoptive parents, and some planning and practising for an online training session that we’ll be putting on later this week.

The morning began with a consultation session with an adoptive parent. We spent time talking about some recent issues, arising from increased anxiety following so many changes over the recent months with lockdown and then return to school. We thought together through ways to manage. We put a plan in place to make contact with the local authority social worker to request an application to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) for some specific therapeutic support.

This afternoon I visited a young person for an initial Therapeutic Life Story session. We had met a few times previously to think about the type of support that would be helpful and now funding is in place via the ASF for Therapeutic Life Story work. Our sessions will focus on the young person’s understanding of her own history, exploring her feelings and the impact of her early years. We will go at her pace with plenty of support from myself and her parents to reflect on the information she has and to manage the emotions arising.

Online training today with adopters who are in the late stages of their assessment or who have recently been approved / matched with their child / children. First time of doing online training and all slightly nervous hoping we can get everyone on screen and the videos and powerpoints will all play! Our group were very supportive and enthusiastic, asking lots of great questions and joining in the exercises and group discussions – and the screen sharing and video playing worked well! We all acknowledged that it’s not quite the same as being in the room together, but lots of benefits to online training also and makes it flexible to involve people who live in lots of different areas.

After a debrief and emailing out handouts and evaluation forms, it was on to a few catch up phone calls. I made contact with a school to organise a date for a RAMP meeting (reducing anxiety management plan) meeting, which is a helpful tool enabling parents and key staff to come together and focus on noticing anxiety levels the child may be feeling and the responses that help them the most at each stage).

Later in the afternoon, I had a consultation on Microsoft teams, with adopters whose child has recently been placed. They’d asked for a chat to think through some particular issues they are facing. They are exhausted but doing really well.

A morning of telephone calls. A telephone consultation with an adoptive mum, just offering a listening ear, support to think through and understand some behaviours which have been a bit upsetting to see.

A call also with a psychologist working with a young person, to update and think about what might be helpful in future work with this young person.

A call to a young adult who will be beginning some therapeutic life story work with me soon – just checking in and seeing how he is doing at the moment.

Two visits this afternoon, firstly with adoptive parents with whom I have been undertaking Therapeutic Parenting Sessions. The sessions have come to an end now, and we were reviewing what had been most helpful. Then a session with a young person after school. She is doing really well, busy with school, friends and activities and smiling lots!

An online professionals meeting to coordinate support for a young person who has been struggling with some mental health issues recently. Supporting parents and keeping in touch with other professionals to make sure that we are offering the right support and connecting in with the right services is an important part of my role.

Following this, a call with a school counsellor who is working with a child, where I am involved in offering Therapeutic Parenting support. It’s always helpful to connect and update to make sure the support is working well.

Thoughts turning to next week when I’ll be spending a full day visiting a local authority to read a child’s early files in preparation for the Therapeutic Life Story work I will be doing with them, then a mix of visits and therapeutic sessions with young people, parents, and schools as well as attending some training myself on FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) to keep up to date on the approaches which will be helpful for children who have been impacted by alcohol use in utero.

Caroline Hoyle, Adoption Support Social Worker

Our promise to all our Adopters is that we are there for you from your initial contact with us to whenever or for as long as you need it…

To find out more about our Support Services click HERE

To enquire about adoption click HERE

To book onto one of our events click HERE


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