This is a link to last night’s BBC radio interview on sunburn and social work (Start: 20.20 minutes into programme).

I’m often asked to do interviews for radio or television and it is usually on aspects of childcare or family matters.

Yesterday one of the interviews touched on a subject that made me think of several things that are worrying, difficult and potentially destructive to professional relationships which social workers try and create.

The initial questions were provoked by a small charity in London who deal with children that have been badly burned and their premise was questioning whether any child with a bad case of sunburn, taken to A and E, should be referred to social services.

The interviewer then went on to raise questions about the status of social workers in the community, given high profile cases that get reported and the negative profile that the profession tends to have in childcare.

The depressing thing is that this has been around for so long and all the solid work that takes place up and down the country seems to get knocked back on a regular basis when one of the few difficult cases hits the headlines.

It really does destroy a lot of credibility on the doorstep for social workers all over the country who have had nothing to do with the difficult case.

Perhaps social workers should take some comfort from the medical profession who, only a couple of hundred years ago were considered the lowest of the low in the community – referred to as ‘snake oil salesmen’ or ‘quacks’ and surgeons demanding to be called Mr instead of Dr because Dr was considered such as pejorative term.

Now look at the status of medicine in the 21st century – so as social work is only really about 40 years old as a cohesive profession there might be hope for them yet.

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