Some of the implications of attachment theory are problematic for the social work task, and it is to these that I now turn. One of the dimensions of caregiving was that of accessibility – inaccessibility. Inaccessible caregivers produced insecurely attached children. The caregivers of securely attached children were readily accessible to them. How can this be applied in a social work agency, where contact has to be limited for most clients to anything from weekly to monthly appointments?
In this regard probation officers are subject to limitations, and have to give up idealized notions of accessibility. Officers do not have the power to protect clients from the effects of unexpected demands to appear in Court, or sudden crises in the caseload that absorb all the available energy. As is the case with parents of course, we can only strive to provide a ‘good enough’ service. Accessibility does not mean permanent availability or devotion to each client. However, one component of accessibility is predictability; the mother is accessible if the child knows where and when she can be found. It would be useful to see how far probation officers can and do provide a similar kind of accessibility.