Kindness to drive social work

Here we share some lessons from a careleaver who is now a social worker about the need for more kindness.

‘Trauma Resonance Resilience’ is a podcast by  Lisa Cherry a specialist in Trauma, Resilience and Recovery. In this episode, she interviewed social worker and careleaver Alex Kemp. 

The episode touched on many themes relevant to our work at St Michael’s. Alex speaks wonderfully about the need for kindness to drive social work.

Alex has lived experience. 

He has worked with families for over 20 years and specialises in protecting children in care and care leavers.

Social care intervention often comes at a time of crisis for families. For this reason, Alex believes that love must be involved.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Alex takes this to a whole new level. His idea is based on the thought that our environments mirror the way we are treated ourselves.

“It trickles down like honey,” Alex says, talking about leaders’ actions. Team culture is dependent on the respect given by leaders. 

First, it is important for practitioners to unpick how they model kindness. Leadership breeds followers, so learning how we act kindly is important.

The precarious nature of the social intervention.

Alex’s call for love and compassion is threatened by children constantly having new social workers. He asks how children are expected to build trust and connections in this situation.

Alex’s overall tip is to practice reflection.

In a busy, stressful world, reflection can be hard.

Alex asks us to take a moment to see how the ‘self’ affected a situation and whether this was the best way.

Working Together

Alex’s final advice is to listen to other professionals. He asks police, social workers, teachers, doctors, therapists and anyone else involved in the development of a family, to work together. He suggests shadowing between sectors as useful and can help build bridges. 

You can listen to the full podcast here.