Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A day on Duty

One of the aspects of my job here is Duty shifts. Atypical of most of the other teams throughout the borough we are a split site, so we work Duty out of the main office that is known to the public. (My desk is actually located at a secret office that clients do not typically know is there.) The duty shifts cover any new referrals that come in, walk-ins, crises, and immediate child protection needs. We all work duty on a monthly rotar so I will be on duty 1-2x per week. Now, here is the interesting component to my job and the way the Assessment team is set up. We do not just get referrals concerning child abuse or neglect, we get anything and everything involving children and families. This could be the mother who calls in because she cannot control her son's unruly behavior to the single dad that needs support caring for his daughter who was learning disabilities. We work in an office with two Admin support staff, Sue and Becky. These ladies are wonderful and I love working with them. They are incredibly helpful and a big piece of the puzzle...I would be lost without them. I feel guilty so often because they help so much with administrative tasks I am used to having to do by myself. The calls typically come to them first and then will be forwarded to the Duty worker. I am not yet working Duty on my own, but "co-working" it. I think this is another reason why I like working duty so much...It is much more social than being at the office, it seems (especially with certain colleagues that tend to be more social and fun). While it can get really chaotic, there is also a comfortable air about being at the duty office that I don't quite get as much when I am at the other office. Anyways, we take the calls in typically as contacts unless there is something of concern then we may write it as a referral. It goes to the Duty Manager for review and if it is to be allocated it will go back to Sue or Becky to set up the allocation. We will often get walk-ins or set up office visits for some referrals to gather more detail and see if we can offer further support. I have learned the most on Duty because you get a bit of everything so it is helping me to learn the lingo, what resources are available in the communities, and how certain issues would be dealt with-legally and in general professionally. Really, it could be compared to YES, I think, because all that may be needed is some essential crisis intervention or it may need to be taken further. So, that's where it all starts here in the process of Social Services, the wonderful world of Duty. Stay tuned for more on Social Work in Dudley.

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