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I Blame the Social Worker

October 24, 2011

I described in a PREVIOUS POST a typical day in court, but I left something out that adds to the frustration of the whole process. While I am happy to be cross examined about my work, and held accountable for both my action and my lack of action both in court and in other forums (from supervision to HIQA inquiry), what gets me is that the fact that every day, and every day I sit in the witness-box I am held accountable for other people’s work, both other HSE agencies and other services outside of that.

As a simple example, we use the area’s community psychology team for all sorts of things, counselling for clients, advice on cases, parenting assessments. However, in a typical hearing it is me in the box standing over their work. The judges hate this. How can the assertion be challenged if its someone elses? How can it even be admitted since its little more than hearsay evidence? But whats worse is standing over others failings. Trying to explain decisions taken by others to not act, trying to explain lack of funding. I have to explain to the judge why what he wanted done wasnt done, even though it wasnt my responsibility or within my control.

We are held to a higher standard than other professionals, and I am expected to answer for their failings. What really annoys and frustrates me about being in court is not so much the fact that I end up shouldering the blame for systemic failures or other people’s work, but that it highlights the limits of my role for me, how the ability to affect change is so small despite others huge expectations to the contrary.

Still, it’s not personal, when the lawyers mug me in cross-examination, they are just doing their job, when Judges shout at me, they are just doing their job…I just wish others would also do their’s…strating with the parents, but thats another rant.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Romney permalink
    July 25, 2014 17:51

    Well said…brilliant.

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