It is not often we hear good news about social workers in the UK! This blog highlights the heart-warming tale of a dedicated social worker whose work has helped protect thousands of children from the risks that go along with being online.
The woman of the day: Kelly Alleyne
When Kelly Alleyne accepted her brief to work as a social worker in the UK, she never expected to be honoured by the Queen for services to children, but this is what has now happened.
Kelly Alleyne was awarded an ‘MBE’ (or was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by the Queen in July 2014 and the honour cites services to children as the reason for the award, as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Bad press surrounding social work
With all the bad press hurled at social workers in the aftermath of the ‘Baby P’ scandal, it is a nice surprise to see a social worker who is a shining example to other people who work, and people who may aspire to work in the tough area of social work, where rewards, awards and recognitions are few and far between, unless, like Kelly you find reward and satisfaction from working with vulnerable children every day.
National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command
Kelly’s work entails working with vulnerable children to ensure they are not exposed to sexual abuse online, this is largely an online battle in 2014, and raising the profile of online safety etiquette as well as increasing parent’s knowledge of where their kids can surf safely has never been higher. We suggest checking out the parenting website Quibly – who have fielded the question to parents and experts of their community to produce a list of child safe websites that parents have had positive experiences with. She is working on secondment to the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, and she has been there since 2006. There she heads up a team of people who all work to ensure the safety of children online. Her work and the work of her team, is also proactive in that she and her team identify children who may be at risk on a daily basis as part of her work.
For Kelly the work has a personal motivation in some respects. With two sons of her own, aged 8 and 5, she knows all about how it feels to be a parent, concerned about online child safety in this day and age. Every day we hear another terrible story of a child or young person being exposed to risks online, and sometimes falling victim to abuse or violence as a result of their vulnerable position as children surfing the net.
When interviewed Kelly revealed she was emotional when she learned of the good news, and also ‘slightly embarrassed’. Like most people who excel in their field of work, Kelly really enjoys her work and stated that she feels lucky to do something she loves for a living.
Kelly will attend a formal presentation within the next six months to receive the award from the Queen.
What her boss had to say!
Such was the buzz of excitement surrounding the award made to Kelly, someone even interviewed her boss at the National Crime Agency to see what they had to say about her achievement! The National Crime Agency’s Head of Child Safeguarding stated “this is fantastic news and we are all extremely proud”.
So, there you have it, a heart warming tale about a dedicated social worker who loves her work, and whose work is keeping children in the UK safe as they learn, develop and enjoy the internet.
She serves as a shining example of the rewards that come when you dedicate your life to your work. Not only have children been prevented from enduring abuse and violence as a result of her work, she now stands as an example to children everywhere who may one day be inspired to enter the tough and challenging field of social work in the UK, where working hours are long, pay is low and morale can reach very low points.
However, with poor conditions for social workers in the UK, her award also shines a light on what needs to be done to attract more people like her into the profession. The profession is needs to attract new talent and innovation to continue their good work, and to raise the standards that were highlighted through the Baby P scandal.
What do you think of Kelly? Post a comment or leave a reply and let us know!