Social Work, Cats and Rocket Science

Social Work, Cats and Rocket Science

Stories of Making a Difference in Social Work with Adults

Elaine James, Rob Mitchell and Hannah Morgan, Rob Mitchell, Dr Hannah Morgan


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This book tells stories of just how powerful social work can be. At its heart are stories drawn from frontline practice, ranging from first interviews through to complex decision-making.

Along the way, we meet the social worker who assessed a cat (though for all the right reasons). We witness the cost of failing to protect the rights of adults, exemplified in the tragic death of Connor Sparrowhawk. We also see the transformations that can happen when social workers really get it right - as in the case of Peter, whose love of balloons led them to feature in his care plan. These stories from practice are combined with guidance and reflective exercises to offer valuable practice wisdom and learning for new and experienced social workers alike.

By turns funny, wise and moving, this book articulates the personal and professional qualities needed to practise rights-based social work. It reveals the potential of the profession to make a difference to the lives of individuals and to communities.


Elaine James, Rob Mitchell and Hannah Morgan:
Elaine James has worked in various grant making and commissioning roles across children and adult social care for over 20 years. She is an honorary researcher at Lancaster University.

Rob Mitchell is a Principal Social Worker; he co-chaired the national Principal Social Worker Network for two years, is a Trustee of the National Social Work Awards and he is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University.

Dr Hannah Morgan is a Senior Lecturer in Disability Studies, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University and Director of the Centre for Disability Research (CeDR).