Recently, we sat down with Katie from the Good News to talk about the launch of her website and what she hopes it will bring to the sector.
Katie is a newly qualified social worker and launched her first post on the 11th August 2022 with the aim to create a space where the good that social care can do, as a profession, can be shared, and hopefully challenge some of the stigma that has been put on Social Workers.
Katie shared on her website, “try and find a positive story of good that a Social Worker or Social Workers have done, and it is almost impossible. This discourse that has prevailed in society has made Social Work (and Social Care involvement) carry a stigma that leads to the perpetuation of negativity around the system; a system that is seen a punitive rather than supportive.”
Here at Social Work Partners, we would love nothing more than to spread the word of all the good that Social Workers do in the sector, help encourage people to share their own stories and be on a mission to make this a regular occurrence, just like Katie, in social care.
Have a read of the interview with Katie at Good News below and post your thoughts and views in the comments!
SWP: What made you want to start a blog?
Katie: “So, I was formerly a primary school teacher and I moved from primary into Social Work. I felt as a teacher that we were celebrated, loved, and valued by the families, the parents, and the community. However, when you go into social work and become a social worker there is a negative stereotype around social workers to the point where it can create shame around telling other people what you do as a profession. That portrayal of social workers in the media doesn’t make it easy for us in our roles, especially when we are going in and talking to families. You never see a positive news story with the headline “this social worker kept a family together” because that is what is just expected. I felt like there was never any good stories shared about how well we do and the wins that we create every day for the children and families.”
“Even when you watch movies and TV shows, and the way that they talk about social workers, it is always so negative! As an example, in Shameless they talk about doing everything they can to keep Social Workers away from our children, which is just ridiculous. It is so different to the values we have as Social Workers. We need to celebrate that we really do do good things like helping children and families and start challenging that stigma. Once we do that, not only will it hopefully break down barriers with families that are working with us, but it also might actually boost morale within the sector. If you start to feel a little appreciated and celebrate the little things you do well, I think that will help to change mindset in society a little more.”
“I think as well, Social Workers have it engrained in them not to celebrate their own successes in their career. The mentality of a Social Worker doesn’t allow the time to celebrate their own successes. I am bad at celebrating my own as well even if it is celebrating little things like “I got that child to smile at me today” so I’m hoping this blog will encourage that.
SWP: Was there anything you were nervous about when you posted your first blog post?
Katie: “I guess I just worried that people would not want to engage and read the posts! I worried people wouldn’t get involved but I think I was just doubting myself at the time. Also, I was nervous because I am not a writer. Although being a social worker does involve writing, I wouldn’t class myself as a writer. I absolutely love writing otherwise I wouldn’t have started a blog. So, I was nervous about that when I first started.”
SWP: What are your aspirations for the blog and what are you hoping the good news stories will create in the sector?
Katie: “I have just finished my masters, so I am excited to start focusing my weekend time on the blog. My next post I really want to do about myth busting around social work and misconceptions about social work. I have had good interaction around that and I have managed to get other people’s voices involved. I think what is important for me is that it is not just me talking. I want it to be a collaborative thing and not just my perspective… almost like a community.”
“Like I said, the little wins is something that I want people to share like “this young person opened up to me” or “I was able to get a new sofa for a family” and create a celebration around the great things that Social Workers do every day, whether that is big or little.”
SWP: What has the reaction been like from your friends and colleagues?
Katie: “People have been really supportive, but I do think there is a general discomfort around sharing good news. People have shared with me that they believe the Good News blog is a good idea and that they would be willing to get involved but, I think when it comes down to it, people still feel nervous about sharing good news and celebrating their wins! The more news stories we get in and the more examples of those little wins and those happy moments then I am hoping more people will be encouraged to share their own stories and be like “oh this happened with me” or “this happened today!”. The reaction has been about how much everyone believes it is needed to share good news around the sector of all the good things we do as that right now is not present at all.”
“The best comment I had was from my Mum. She was worried for me and cried when I first told her that I was going to be a Social Worker. However, when I put the blog post up, my Mum shared with me that she thought it was important to share good news because of the positive experiences that she had when working with social care. She was able to share with me positive experiences that she had with several social workers and how this had impacted herself and her children when social care came into her life. It sparked to my Mum how much good Social Workers can do. If she was told of all the good that social care could do before their involvement in her life, then her reaction may have been completely different at the time. I thought that was very powerful. There is so many misconceptions around social care and if it helped my Mum reframe things, then maybe it could help others to do the same.”
SWP: When we introduce our new team members, we always ask them to share some interesting facts about themselves! Do you have anything you would like to share?
Katie: “I am a cat lover! I have two cats named Fred and George, after the Weasleys Twins from Harry Potter. They are not brothers and I got them a different time, but I really had to name them after the Weasleys! I am also an identical twin. When my sister had my niece, she used to cry when she saw us together because she didn’t know which one was her Mum. And then my little nephew went through a phase of calling me the other Mummy!”
We want to give a special thanks to Katie for taking the time to sit down with us and be apart of the interview with Social Work Partners. If you have your own Good News stories that you would be happy to be shared, from a Social Worker/Early Help/Other Practitioner perspective (or as somebody who has been supported by Social Care) please use the “Share your Story” box at www.the-good-news.co.uk, and submit your story, making sure that any identifiable features are removed to preserve anonymity.