Day in the life of a Family Court Adviser (Social Worker)

My name’s Lisa, I work for Cafcass I work in public and
private law proceedings. Everyday is totally different. Generally, I’d maybe work at home
for a couple of hours. We have laptops and mobile phones, so I can work flexibly,
from anywhere really. It works to different people’s advantage, if you have children, some people
take their children to school first and come into the office
a little bit later. Some people may work longer days, the hours are really flexible. You can make it suit you really,
as long as the reports are done and you are working your amount of hours. What I would tend to do is I try and make sure that I utilise my time in terms of the areas that I’m in. So, if I’m in Leeds in court, I would come to the
office, do any visits that are in and around Leeds. If I’m in Wakefield court then
I would do my Wakefield visits, So that I cut out that travelling time. So today we’re in court, a public law case, where the local
authority had applied to court for an interim care order
of a new born baby. The baby was placed in hospital and therefore the judge
needed to make a decision today as the baby was
ready for discharge. You’d have a chat in one of
the various rooms in court, in private regarding the case. It gives you the chance
to reach some agreement and you’ll have different discussions sometimes with yourself present, sometimes
with just the legal representatives, and they’ll have all the discussions to look at what can be done
to reach agreements or what people
aren’t agreeing on and what matters there are
for the judge to look at. So the judge made that decision that the baby needed to be in foster care because the risks were too high for baby to be with mum, with dad
or with anybody in the family. It all really depends on
what happens that day, so, it maybe that I come
back to the office, service users may come to the office and I can interview them there. I had a meeting at
2 o’clock today where a dad came into the family
room at the Cafcass office, to have a discussion about his
application to see his child. Talking about what’s happened,
tallking about the application, talking about dad’s viewpoint and
finding out from his perspective. Obviously, you’d have the discussion at
some other point with the other party and also meet with the
child to find out what the child wanted to
happen and how it was. The report that would then follow would put everything into perspective in terms of, what was
happening for everybody. But also what the child wanted to happen. Some days I’d come into the office to work, undertake reports, I’d speak to
colleagues, undertake phone calls. One of the benefits of coming into
the office and working within your team, is that everybody’s obviously
doing a very similar role. Every case is different,
every family are different. So therefore, the vast experience
of all the different workers, gives you a chance to reflect and
talk about your case and where to go. There’s obviously the
support from colleagues and also an opportunity to discuss your
views and discuss what your viewpoint is and other similar cases
that other people have. You can do your job anywhere, there’s
apps on the mobile phone, you’ve got the opportunity to speak through Skype, you can access the network
through the phone, so if you’re in court, you’re
able to bring up documents. It saves so much time, in terms of, not having to write up things which
you’ve previously written on. I think what’s most rewarding is reflecting on the whole of a case
whilst also meeting the child. So you do get a real feel for what that child
wants, what the child’s going through. And looking at every possible avenue of basically, where their life will go, because that’s what the
decisions are being made about. It’s your opportunity to
advocate on that child’s behalf and make sure that is the
best route for them. I don’t think I’ve had two days
which are the same since I started.

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