I am Judy Hargreaves, a Child Worker covering the Powys Area. The major part of my job as child support co-ordinator is visiting Primary and Secondary schools in South Powys giving one to one therapeutic support to children who have experienced domestic abuse.
Currently I have 29 children on my list and have worked in 30 schools., The children are aged between 4 and 16. My job entails a lot of travel as the area I work in is fairly large, about 50 square miles, covering the full spectrum of moor, mountain and isolated valley. Luckily I enjoy driving through beautiful scenery.
My base is at Plas y Ffynnon in Brecon, but because of the geographical distances I have to cover I tend to spend one day a week visiting schools in Ystradgynlais, one day at schools in Crickhowell and two days covering the schools in Hay, Builth, Talgarth and Sennybridge. One day of the week is reserved for visiting, and supporting, mothers and children in the Brecon refuge.
The children I visit have all experienced different levels of abuse, even within the same family siblings will have entirely different and unique experiences, so the sessions are tailored to their specific needs with the aim of developing their understanding of what has happened and building up their resilience and self esteem. I receive referrals for my service from Social services, Action for children, the IDVA, schools, school nurses, and my colleagues in Calan who work with families in the community and Refuge workers from TY Bannau.in Brecon.
Some children may have been physically or sexual assaulted themselves but all are suffering from the effects of psychological and emotional abuse from having lived in an abusive home, Emotional abuse is often ongoing when the children still have contact with their abusive parent.
The children benefit from having someone to talk to in full confidentiality, which always applies unless child protection issues are raised. They talk about their feelings, needs and wishes and, once a relationship of trust is built up, they freely disclose their innermost thoughts.
Part of my job is working in liaison with statutory agencies and when I attend core groups or CP conferences I can ensure the child’s voice is heard and speak on their behalf.
Another aspect of my job is co–delivering the Recovery Toolkit in Brecon ,I also co-ordinate and arrange trips and outings for refuge children financed from charitable donations.
So, in conclusion, my job is extremely varied and never boring, My clients keep me on my toes and I am often in awe of their ability to deal with the challenges of their lives with such optimism and humour. They are great teachers.
Pictured above, a drawing by one of our child worker's clients