I started in social work over 30 years ago. When I began we would work with any client group in our own geographical area, but now teams are highly specialised because the legal and care demands are so complex. I loved the variety of the old days but the work is so different that specialising was the right move. I'm proud to have witnessed so many changes. Clients used not to be invited to the own child protection meetings or speak to panel when applying to be foster or adoptive parents. Thank goodness all that's changed now.
I loved the job and did every scrap of extra training I could, including specialist mental health work, and training to be a social work teacher. I studied and gained an M.A. from Bradford University in social work but I never wanted to be promoted, I just wanted to be the best I could be.
I have a rare type of muscular dystrophy now that stops me doing much outside work. There's more about it on my website. Its called Charcot Marie Tooth disease though it has nothing to do with teeth.
I think compassion defined my attitude to work. I've had hard times myself, some of this I've written about in my books. I could always understand how bad it felt to have the social workers round, and how humiliating and degrading it was.
That's a great attitude to have for the people you work with. I loved the job and would still do it if I was fit enough, it's both rewarding and challenging. I hope that comes over in my books.