My Placement: Rachel Edwards, social worker, Stockport Council's family support team

I did my placement in Stockport's family support team between December 2008 and May 2009.

Initially, I felt that I didn't have the confidence to challenge parents. My practice teacher came on visits with me. It was nice to have that support.

My most memorable visit was an unannounced one to a home where there had been domestic violence. The child protection plan said that any contact with the dad should be supervised after the 18-month-old child was injured in a domestic violence incident.

We knocked on the door and saw the father escape out of the back door. Then we were answered at the door by the mum, who said he hadn't been there. It was the first time I experienced somebody blatantly lying to a social worker. My practice teacher said: "We don't believe that, we've just seen him go out the back door."

Steep learning curve

I always remember that visit, because I didn't really know what to say, so it was good that I had my practice teacher there. I learned from her how to challenge parents and say: "I don't believe what you're telling me." That's hard at first.

My whole placement was a massive learning curve.

I became a lot more confident as I went through. Although I think longer placements would be better, I learned so much more in terms of doing the job than I did in a lecture theatre.

It was my choice to come back to work at Stockport. I knew I could go to any social worker in this building if I wanted support, advice or information.

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