Saturday, 8 September 2012
CSW's NO thanks !
There were perhaps about 10% who were integral to saving the deaf community from itself, some went above and beyond 'the job' to help deaf, albeit they were as much of the problem as the solution Now it has reverted yet again to hearing family doing it all in the UK. Younger deaf just saw S.W. 'help' as a tremendous imposition on their privacy and wholly unwilling to permit the level of privacy intrusion this overbearing support service operated to do their job. Too many Social Workers for the deaf enjoyed the power over others lives it gave them, and tried to be the parent over their children too. Social workers for deaf then ruled the deaf community, told deaf what they should do, funded their deaf clubs, etc many became virtual 'family members' and the line between state support and the official secrets Act' disappeared entirely.
I am thinking back to 1980-90s a UK survey of Deaf S.W. for the deaf found 85% did not even posses sufficient BSL qualifications. There was then, and still now, no service for the deafened, and lip-speaking, again then as now, not an option. I was horrified Social Workers had been allowed to continue working with deaf people on that basis. It came to a head at a Social Worker AGM where miffed deaf social workers complained official BSL interpreters trained properly were getting higher wages than they did for a lot less involvement, so a lot withdrew personal service help to the deaf in defiance. In retrospect this sealed their fate. Without the personal help angle, deaf couldn't use them. Today any BSL terp will tell you they are part-SW/part friend and taking over the mantle. They need reminding what happens when they go over their remit and to take care deaf do not see them as repeating the past.
The new problems are CSW's (Community Support Workers), these are half-nil trained deaf support, foisted on deaf people with very little knowledge of what deaf communications are about. Most had basic care qualifications and a pair of ears, but next to no BSL or lip-speaking ability or qualifications at all, the neutrality and safeguards are pretty flimsy as well. Allowed to assist deaf with money and in the home with few safeguards or any monitoring.
Like 'class helpers' in schools, these people are hired because the system pays them a lot less. Pro's (teachers) sit in offices doing paperwork and 'Helpers' running our kids education at the coal face. Now DIY support for the deaf. However like others I see this as letting us down, deaf communication needs quite specialised and qualified help, (They don't need a degree in deaf studies !), and they were bringing people off the street and dumping them straight onto the deaf. I forced one charity here to withdraw their deaf support because I found none could sign at all, but SS here were referring to them as 'qualified'. Their CV said not !