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0120110502Simon Cox gets a rare insight into life for junior social workers as he follows two newly qualified workers through their first six months in one of the busiest children's services departments in Britain.
These are the people we rarely hear from.
When something goes badly wrong and the protection of children like Baby P, Kyra Ishaq and Victoria Climbie fails, social workers are roundly lambasted, but never interviewed.
In this programme, we see social work through their eyes.
James and Natalie are fresh from their training at Birmingham University.
They join the ranks of hundreds of over-loaded social workers trying to protect children in some of Birmingham's poorest areas.
Freshly armed with the latest child development theories, honed listening skills, and advice on how to conduct a good family assessment, they brace themselves for work in the real world, not the class room.
What follows is a sobering insight into the hidden lives of so many children: the prevalence of domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction and latent aggression.
As Natalie and James struggle with mountains of paperwork and looming deadlines, they constantly question whether they've got it right.
Did they do all they could for that child, or was the truth cleverly concealed from them? How do you ask a burly, aggressive father if you can strip back the sheets, look through his cupboards and check for punch marks behind the door? And if they get it wrong, will it be their face staring out from the front of the newspaper as the latest social worker to have failed a child?
Presenter: Simon Cox
Producer: Deborah Dudgeon
A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.
Simon Cox follows newly qualified social workers into their first jobs.
0220110509As four new social workers start their careers in adult services, Simon Cox gets a unique opportunity to follow them and see how well their training has prepared them.
These are the people we rarely hear from.
When something goes wrong in social work, it's the directors who appear in the news; the anonymous workers who get lambasted in the press.
But we don't hear the social worker's side of the story.
Now they get a chance to tell us.
All four graduates have just finished their training at Birmingham University.
Jobs are scarce and what they do find is temporary or unqualified.
But all are excited about their new careers.
Ali has been invited back to the hospice where she did her training.
She gives us a touching insight into the practicalities of dying as she tries to help patients fend off the bailiffs.
Others are keen to ensure their treasured possessions go to the right people.
Lucy is working as a mental health recovery worker in a day centre in Norwich.
Its users are up in arms about changes to the service, which they say will leave them isolated and suicidal.
Just two weeks into the job, Lucy finds herself the focus of blame.
Agency worker, Lara, is 22.
Every day she goes out to assess the needs of the elderly to see what help they can get with limited funding available.
She meets a woman in her eighties living alone with advanced Alzheimer's.
Her son is her only carer and his boundless patience and good humour touch Lara who tries to get them more help.
Tabitha loves her job helping adults with learning disabilities.
But so soon after starting there's a round of redundancies and she's on the list.
Presenter: Simon Cox
Producer: Deborah Dudgeon
A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.
Simon Cox follows four newly-qualified social workers into their first jobs.
03 LAST20110516Simon Cox gets a rare insight into life for junior social workers as he follows two newly qualified workers through their first six months in one of the busiest children's services departments in Britain.
These are the people we rarely hear from.
When something goes badly wrong and the protection of children like Baby P, Kyra Ishaq and Victoria Climbie fails, social workers are roundly lambasted, but never interviewed.
In this programme, we see social work through their eyes.
James and Natalie are fresh from their training at Birmingham University.
They join the ranks of hundreds of over-loaded social workers trying to protect children in some of Birmingham's poorest areas.
Freshly armed with the latest child development theories, honed listening skills, and advice on how to conduct a good family assessment, they brace themselves for work in the real world, not the class room.
What follows is a sobering insight into the hidden lives of so many children: the prevalence of domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction and latent aggression.
As Natalie and James struggle with mountains of paperwork and looming deadlines, they constantly question whether they've got it right.
Did they do all they could for that child, or was the truth cleverly concealed from them? How do you ask a burly, aggressive father if you can strip back the sheets, look through his cupboards and check for punch marks behind the door? And if they get it wrong, will it be their face staring out from the front of the newspaper as the latest social worker to have failed a child?
Presenter: Simon Cox presents The Report and Click On on Radio 4, and previously fronted The Investigation.
Producer: Deborah Dudgeon
Executive Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.
Simon Cox follows two new social workers into their first jobs in child protection.

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