Stop the ‘blame game’ Mr Gove ………..

Gove slams social work education
Education secretary claims social work training is currently dominated by dogma and theories of society.

Apportioning blame in such a simplistic manner does a disservice not just to children, but to the adults they will become and the future society they will become part of

In the same way Mr Gove suggests social work education and social workers excuse individuals from taking responsibility for their lives, successive governments, and ministers, continue to excuse themselves from any sense of responsibility for the problems individuals and families face. Maybe we need our politicians to lead by example if we really want to see change.

Mr Gove and Co could start by stop blaming everyone else and ask themselves how have they contributed to the current situation? Investing in pet projects will not solve the multiple issues faced by families, social workers and higher education institutions today. It might also be useful to re-evaluate the ‘dogma’ and ‘theories of society’ which underpin the current governments approach to working with the most vulnerable in society. Could these actually be making matters worse?

Mr Gove regularly suggests he respects social workers because of his personal experience as an adoptee;

‘Gove said for him this was a personal mission because his own life had been transformed by social workers after he was adopted at four months old’

I’ve written this before, but I’ll say it again. The context of your adoption, like mine, bares little resemblance to the reality of adoption today. The reasons why we were adopted are nowhere near the same as today, and subsequently, the needs of an adopted child today is totally different from ours. Many of those in the care system have significant psychological and emotional difficulties which will require professional support long after the adoption process is over if they are to go on and have happy lives. Just as important is the need for opportunities, real opportunities to realise their full potential throughout life. The future of children in care today does not depend solely on social work education and individual social workers. There are a whole raft of other professional groups outside of social work who play a part in a child’s future.

Their future also depends on structural factors such as the wider education system, the jobs market, the housing market, our economic system etc etc…..these are the areas where government and ministers should be working together with higher education and the multiple professional groups involved with children to produce a coordinated long-term strategy.

I am sure you would agree the main influence in your life is not restricted to the ‘social worker’ involved in your adoption, the family who adopted you made a difference, as did the education system that enabled you to have the opportunity to study at Oxford University, and the employment opportunity to become a journalist and lead writer on The Times before being given the opportunity to move into a publicly funded political career.

Apportioning blame in such a simplistic manner does a disservice not just to children, but to the adults they will become and the future society they will become part of.

(Free Adoption ibook: the journey to finding a birth mother………….. via @EmilyPQSW)


About digalpin

I gained my social work qualification from the University of Southampton and worked for 14 years in mental health, disability and older people services. I am currently a senior lecturer in post-qualifying social work at Bournemouth University and am conducting research on government and societal attitudes and responses to the mistreatment of older people in health and social care provision for my doctorate. My views are my own.

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