I've just had a call from the social care agency I work for trying to entice me in to doing a placement with some eighteen year old care leavers. The conversation deteriorated in to farce once the word 'funky' was used in trying to persuade me to undertake the placement. The conversation went something like this:
"Hi Winston, we've just had a call from the leaving care team at the local social services. They're looking for someone youthful and funky to work with care leavers. What they said the young people want is someone who dresses funky and likes the same music as the kids. Basically, they want someone like the kids that can relate to them."
This snippet of information leads me to believe that they would be happy with a stoned adult slacker that walks around with his trousers hanging off and who listens to Dizzy Rascal and Lady Sovereign in their spare time. I regularly encounter these kind of teenage adults in both care homes and the supported housing sector. If they are a particularly uncivilised group, as some care leavers are, do they wish me to mimic their behaviour in this area as well? Perhaps they want me to turn up for work with an insolent and aggressive attitude towards even the most minimal displays of authority?
It's a terrible shame that social services are not seeking a worker who has overcome problems in his own youth and whom the young people are trying to emulate as opposed to the other way around. I concede that establishing this relationship and attitude isn't always easy, but any sane society should be seeking for adults to lead and guide problematic youngsters as oppossed to the inverse. However, social services would seem to prefer for me to lower myself to the levels of dysfunctional youths. Can someone please tell me how this will help these young people? Contrary to what many of my detractors say I actually care for what happens to young people and our kids and just don't understand how nonsense like this serves the interests of misguided youngsters. These kids need guidance, boundaries and discipline not emulation. How can the fools in the local social services not see this?
I politely turned down the placement on the grounds that it was too far away as oppossed to the fact that it was an asinine initiative.
For once I'm ending a post on a positive note with the news that I've been longlisted for this year's Orwell Blog Prize. If I only get this far I feel very honoured to be recognised. Firstly because I think some of my earlier posts are slightly sloppy in style and secondly because George Orwell has been one of the greatest influences in my life.
You can read some of the blog posts by some of the other bloggers on the longlist here. Congratulations to all the other bloggers.