16 October 2012

Unprotected: a novel about social work

A new novel about social work and child protection has been published by a US social worker who has personal experience of all the dilemmas involved.  Kristin Lee Johnson has been a social worker for over 18 years.

Explaining why she decided to write the novel, Kristin told a local journalist that some days in social work are very ordinary, but others can get very demanding:  ‘sometimes at work we say, “Somebody should write a book”’, she joked.  She has now done just that.

Unprotected is the story of Amanda Danscher, a young child protection social worker with a past she is trying to forget.  She quickly becomes embroiled in a case against former state champion hockey player and local hero, Chuck Thomas, who will do anything to buck the system rather than work with it—including whatever it takes to get Amanda out of his way.  Luckily Amanda reconnects with Jacob, a new county attorney who has the means to help and protect her, but no clue how to break down her defenses.  With history and chemistry hovering between them, their job is to make sure the town hero doesn’t get away with abusing his son.

As in many child protection cases, however, the presenting problem is just the tip of the iceberg.  Set against the backdrop of the always messy and complex world of child protection, Unprotected is ultimately about family—and a young woman’s discovery that there are all kinds of family and many places that can be called home.

“Part of what I wanted to do is give a little bit of a picture of what it is like,” Kristin said, adding that many people don’t understand what social work is really about.

Read the interview with a local journalist here

Find the book on the publisher’s website here

See also The Social Worker: A Novel by Michael Ungar