Walking alongside episode 1 transcript


So I’m a Care and Protection Social Worker here at Oranga Tamariki.

At 8.30 every morning we have a full staff meeting. And it’s also every morning we sing a waiata.

The best thing about being a social worker would be seeing the little changes in families and kids.

The worst things about being a social worker would be the hard days.

When you do have to take kids away from their parents.

When plans change and fall over.

When you do see kids missing their family and they aren’t able to see them.

Yeah there are some really challenging days. 

We work with people from all different walks of life, different backgrounds, religion, cultures.

From seeing children we already know, to going out and assessing safety with a new family.

Helping them and their families achieve the things they want to achieve.

And addressing any care and protection concerns.

So Tara is going to be coming out with me today.

Do we have the report of concern?



I think I’ve got it. Yip, here it is.


(Text on screen)

Concerns reported:

Incident of violence from a family member

Family visitors associated with drug use

Poor attendance at school



So at the moment I am just highlighting the main concerns to talk about today when we go out on our visit.


Tara and I are about to go out on a school visit, a home visit and to file some court documents.

Alrighty, lets go.


(Text on screen)

Toni and Tara visit the school to interview the child about the concerns received from a member of the public.



Um, so the child is not at school today.

So we’re now going to call back to my supervisor to check in.

So I was just wondering if we reschedule to do this next week or if we go around to the home.


(Supervisor speaking on phone)

When’s it due?



It’s overdue.


(Supervisor speaking on phone)

Then go around to the home.



Due to the concerns we do get it is often that we do have to visit homes unannounced.

We try do it as little as possible, because it’s not always so nice.

No one really responds well under pressure.



Yeah, so this is my first unannounced home visit, so it should be interesting.



We’ve received a report of concern..






I was just wondering if we could come in and have a chat with you about it?


So the visit went really well. The parents were very welcoming.

Welcoming, let us into their home.

We were able to speak with the child by himself.

And then we were able to talk with the parents about our concerns and they were able to share their story, about what has been happening for them.



They were really open about everything and willing to, I guess discuss the concerns rather than just shutting down which was awesome.



Alright Tara, it’s time for the post safety debrief.





(Sherrie – supervisor)

So when a social worker is going out into the field to complete a safety and risk assessment.

When they come back into the office they meet with their supervisor or a senior practioner to complete a debrief of their findings.



Their biggest priority is this housing thing right now.

So that’s what they’re focused on.

And until they get sorted I don’t know, I think they’re a bit set on that.


(Text on screen)

Only one of the concerns was substantiated.

It is the child’s low attendance at school.



So just housing really.

Do they need any help to actually engage with the school?


(Text on screen)

Social Workers discuss how to best support the parents to work with the school to improve this.



Now I am going to visit a child who is in our care, to do something that he wants to do like get a hot chocolate.

It gives us an opportunity to have some one-on-one time together which can be a lot more comfortable for both of us.

When a child is in care we visit them a minimum of every eight weeks.

It gives us an opportunity to make sure the things we’re doing are meeting their needs like contact with family, their education, how they’ve been feeling.


(Text on screen)

The young person chooses to get a milkshake and sit at the park to talk with Toni.



We are going to be having another family meeting Friday.

Just to talk about yeah how things are going.

So I can see how things are going from your perspective today.

But we’ll just have to look at when would be the best time for you to return back.

Until then is there kind of places that you would want to live?

Like where would be your first choice? 

Is there anything at the meeting you want me to share?

[slurping drink noise]

All gone.


So today has been a really good day.

Today I walk away with the fact that we received a report of concern.

And it was really nice to go and visit the family, see them, get to know a little bit of their life and put in supports to help them.


For instances such as today, where we go out and the concerns don’t quite reach our level, but there are still concerns there such as attendance.

It is important for us to still work with the family and the school as it is the law to be enrolled and attending school.

So it still is important for us to ensure that there is supports in place for that to happen.

So it’s great when we can just go in and talk to the children and engage with the parents.

That’s me for the day. Thank you for walking alongside me.


[door closing]