Effective Social Work With Children and Families: A Skills Handbook
Publication Year: 2012
Social work with children and families is constantly in the headlines and social workers' decisions are subject to ever increasing scrutiny at all levels. This aspirational book supports students and newly qualified social workers and suggests practical ways in which they might thrive, rather than just survive, in practice. The book tackles the different challenges that students and practitioners can be faced with, outlining common pitfalls and how to avoid these.
Reflective questions are used throughout the book, ensuring that students critically evaluate their own practice. Case examples and case studies drawn from the authors' recent practice are included throughout the book to illuminate the realities of contemporary social work with children and families.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: What Do Social Workers Do?
- Chapter 2: Social Work Theories, Values and Methods: Where Does Your Practice Fit?
- Chapter 3: Legislation and Policy: What You Need to Have at Your Fingertips to Be Effective
- Chapter 4: Child Development: The Importance of Having a Sound Understanding About Life Stages in Children
- Chapter 5: Communication: How to Improve Your Skills
- Chapter 6: Assessment: Your Role in This Complex Dynamic
- Chapter 7: Safeguarding, Child Protection and Your Chance to Make a Difference
- Chapter 8: Analysis: Critical Skills for Effectiveness
- Chapter 9: Effective Planning
- Chapter 10: Recording: Purpose, Importance, Techniques
- Chapter 11: Working in and Around the Organisation
- Chapter 12: Looking After Yourself
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© Peter Unwin and Rachel Hogg 2012
First published 2012
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Social work with children and families is an exciting and complex profession. Rather than in any way being a lesser profession, it is a profession of the highest order that demands a range of practical, ethical, legal and emotional skills, all needing to be combined with effective use of self. Nobody needs to apologise for being a children and families social worker - safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children should be seen as the most important job in our society.
Somehow, however, the image of social work is the very opposite to the image that it should have. Its challenges should attract the best people, people who not only want to make a difference, but who do make a difference, because they are able to achieve the blend of skills discussed in this book in ways that are truly child-centred. We want you to be a social worker who is committed to lifelong learning and development, aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and able to work in genuine partnership with children and families, communities and key professionals. Many of the sad messages that have come up time and time again in enquiries and serious case reviews are the same sad messages - messages of lack of knowledge, poor recording, poor communication, poor leadership, poor knowledge base about diversity and child development and, critically, practice scenarios where the voice of the child is not heard.
The messages in this book about use of self, communication, analysis, looking after yourself and effective working in organisations are messages that seem to have often been forgotten in an increasingly pressured working environment that has become characterised by business mentality, performance indicators and an overriding emphasis on resources rather than children. Time is a precious commodity and we are all busy professionals, but time is what we all have most of - we have far more time than we do other resources. Making best use of this time is at the core of effective social work and to question whether your time is most effectively being used is a reflective practice that should be at the heart of your everyday working life. The social work world is not short of codes of practice, guidelines, protocols, case reviews, case law and position statements, but it is you as an individual who will make such policies and values real at street level. It is at street level where we hope that you will spend the major proportion of your working life and we hope that you will be part of a new culture that turns around the percentage of time spent administering and accounting for your actions. We want your actions to speak louder than IT systems and your practice to make a real difference to the lives of children and families.
As we stated at the beginning of Chapter 1, social work is not a ‘win-win’ situation; tragedy and harm will befall our children and families again in the future but never again should this be because we do not have the knowledge and skills to intervene effectively with children and families who come to our attention. Knowledge about how to intervene and how to manage is developing all the time but the key [Page 186]knowledge and research base is already out there - we now need to use it for the best interests of children, families and ourselves.
To end on an optimistic note, the subtitle of the Social Work Reform Board's (2010) final report was Building a Safe and Confident Future. That aspiration should relate both to the lives of children and families who come into contact with social workers as well as to the working lives and conditions of social workers themselves. You have a personal, as well as a shared, responsibility to ensure that social work moves forward in this safe and confident way and you can play an effective part in this mission, particularly if you are prepared to promote best practice and challenge poor practice at every turn.
We wish you well.
Appendix 1[Page 187]
From: Social Work Reform Board (2011) Building a Safe and Confident Future: One Year On, pp. 6-7.
2.2 The proposed capabilities are:Professionalism - Identify and Behave as a Professional Social Worker, Committed to Professional Development
Social workers are members of an internationally recognised profession, a title protected in UK law. Social workers demonstrate professional commitment by taking responsibility for their conduct, practice and learning, with support through supervision. As representatives of the social work profession they safeguard its reputation and are accountable to the professional regulator.Values and Ethics - Apply Social Work Ethical Principles and Values to Guide Professional Practice
Social workers have an obligation to conduct themselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision making, including through partnership with people who use their services. Social workers are knowledgeable about the value base of their profession, its ethical standards and relevant law.Diversity - Recognise Diversity and Apply Anti-Discriminatory and Anti-Oppressive Principles in Practice
Social workers understand that diversity characterises and shapes human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. Diversity is multi-dimensional and includes race, disability, class, economic status, age, sexuality, gender and transgender, faith and belief. Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person's life experience may include oppression, marginalisation and alienation as well as privilege, power and acclaim, and are able to challenge appropriately.[Page 188]Rights, Justice and Economic Well-Being - Advance Human Rights and Promote Social Justice and Economic Well-Being
Social workers recognise the fundamental principles of human rights and equality, and that these are protected in national and international law, conventions and policies. They ensure these principles underpin their practice. Social workers understand the importance of using and contributing to case law and applying these rights in their own practice. They understand the effects of oppression, discrimination and poverty.Knowledge - Apply Knowledge of Social Sciences, Law and Social Work Practice Theory
Social workers understand psychological, social, cultural, spiritual and physical influences on people; human development throughout the life span and the legal framework for practice. They apply this knowledge in their work with individuals, families and communities. They know and use theories and methods of social work practice.Critical Reflection and Analysis - Apply Critical Reflection and Analysis to Inform and Provide a Rationale for Professional Decision Making
Social workers are knowledgeable about and apply the principles of critical thinking and reasoned discernment. They identify, distinguish, evaluate and integrate multiple sources of knowledge and evidence. These include practice evidence, their own practice experience, service user and carer experience together with research-based, organisational, policy and legal knowledge. They use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity.Intervention and Skills - Use Judgement and Authority to Intervene with Individuals, Families and Communities to Promote Independence, Provide Support and Prevent Harm, Neglect and Abuse
Social workers engage with individuals, families, groups and communities, working alongside people to assess and intervene. They enable effective relationships and are effective communicators, using appropriate skills. Using their professional [Page 189]judgement, they employ a range of interventions: promoting independence, providing support and protection, taking preventative action and ensuring safety whilst balancing rights and risks. They understand and take account of differentials in power, and are able to use authority appropriately. They evaluate their own practice and the outcomes for those they work with.Contexts and Organisations - Engage With, Inform, and Adapt to Changing Contexts That Shape Practice. Operate Effectively within Own Organisational Frameworks and Contribute to the Development of Services and Organisations. Operate Effectively within Multiagency and Inter-Professional Settings
Social workers are informed about and pro-actively responsive to the challenges and opportunities that come with changing social contexts and constructs. They fulfil this responsibility in accordance with their professional values and ethics, both as individual professionals and as members of the organisation in which they work. They collaborate, inform and are informed by their work with others, inter-professionally and with communities.Professional Leadership - Take Responsibility for the Professional Learning and Development of Others Through Supervision, Mentoring, Assessing, Research, Teaching, Leadership and Management
The social work profession evolves through the contribution of its members in activities such as practice research, supervision, assessment of practice, teaching and management. An individual's contribution will gain influence when undertaken as part of a learning, practice-focused organisation. Learning may be facilitated with a wide range of people including social work colleagues, service users and carers, volunteers, foster carers and other professionals.
Appendix 2[Page 190]4. Draft Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England
Standards in bold are the overarching draft generic standards of proficiency, which we consulted on during 2011. The order of the standards may be changed in the light of further consultation. Registered social workers must:
- Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
- know the limits of their practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional
- recognise the need to manage their own workload and resources and be able to practise accordingly
- be able to undertake risk assessments of risk, need and capacity and respond appropriately
- be able to recognise and respond appropriately to unexpected situations and manage uncertainty
- Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession
- understand current legislation applicable to the work of their profession
- understand the need to promote the best interests of service users at all times
- understand the need to protect and safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults
- be able to manage potentially competing or conflicting interests
- be able to exercise authority as a social worker within the appropriate legal and ethical frameworks and boundaries
- understand the need to respect and so far as possible uphold, the rights, dignity, values and autonomy of every service user
- recognise that relationships with service users should be based on respect and openness
- understand what is required of them by the Health and Care Professions Council
- Be able to maintain fitness to practise
- understand the need to maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct
- understand the importance of maintaining their own health and well-being
- understand both the need to keep skills and knowledge up-to-date and the importance of career-long learning
- be able to establish and maintain personal and professional boundaries
- be able to manage the physical and emotional impact of their practice
- Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement
- be able to assess a situation, determine its nature and severity and call upon the required knowledge and experience to deal with it[Page 191]
- be able to initiate resolution of issues and be able to exercise personal initiative
- recognise where they are personally responsible for, and must be able to justify, their decisions
- be able to make informed judgements on complex issues in the absence of complete information available
- be able to make and receive referrals appropriately
- [Page 191]
- Be aware of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice
- be able to reflect on and take account of the impact of inequality, disadvantage and discrimination on those who use social work services and their communities
- understand the need to adapt practice to respond appropriately to different groups and individuals
- Be able to practise in a non-discriminatory manner
- be able to work with others to promote social justice
- be able to use practice to challenge and address the impact of discrimination and disadvantage
- Be able to maintain confidentiality
- be able to understand and explain the limits of confidentiality
- be able to recognise and respond appropriately to situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard service users or the wider public
- Be able to communicate effectively
- be able to use interpersonal skills appropriate forms of verbal and non-verbal communication with service users and others
- be able to demonstrate effective and appropriate skills in communicating advice, instruction and professional opinion to colleagues and service users
- understand the need to provide service users (or people acting on their behalf) with the information necessary to enable them to make informed decisions or to understand the decisions made
- understand how communication skills affect the assessment of and engagement with service users and how the means of communication should be modified to address and take account of factors such as age, capacity, physical ability and learning ability
- be aware of the characteristics and consequences of verbal and non-verbal communication and how this can be affected by disability, culture, age, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs and socio-economic status
- understand the need to draw upon available resources and services to support service users' communication, wherever possible
- be able to communicate in English to the standard equivalent to level 7 of the international English Language Testing System, with no element below 6.5
- be able to engage in inter-agency communication and communication across professional and organisational boundaries
- be able to prepare and present formal reports in line with applicable protocols and guidelines
- Be able to work appropriately with others
- understand the need to build and sustain professional relationships with service users and colleagues as both an autonomous practitioner and collaboratively with others
- be able to work with service users to enable them to assess and make informed decisions about their needs, circumstances, risks, preferred options and resources
- be able to work with service users to promote individual growth, development and independence
- be able to support the development of networks, groups and communities to meet needs and outcomes
- be able to work in partnership with others, including those working in other agencies and roles
- be able to contribute effectively to work undertaken as part of a multi-disciplinary team
- be able to support the learning and development of others
- Be able to maintain records appropriately
- be able to keep accurate, comprehensible records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines
- recognise the need to manage records and all other information in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines
- Be able to reflect on and review practice
- understand the value of critical reflection on practice and the need to record the outcome of such reflection appropriately
- recognise the value of supervision, case reviews and other methods of reflection and review
- Be able to assure the quality of their practice
- be able to use supervision to support and enhance the quality of their social work practice
- be able to contribute to processes designed to evaluate service and individual outcomes
- be able to engage in evidence-informed practice, evaluate practice systematically and participate in audit procedures
- Understand the key concepts of the knowledge base which are relevant to their profession
- recognise the roles of other professions, practitioners and organisations
- be aware of the different social contexts within which social work operates
- be aware of changes in demography and culture and their impact on social work
- understand in relation to social work practice:
- social work theory
- social work models and interventions
- the development and application of relevant law and social policy
- the development of social work and social work values
- human growth and development across the lifespan [Page 193]
- the impact of injustice, social inequalities, policies and other issues which impact on the demand for social work services
- the relevance of psychological, environmental and physiological perspectives to understanding personal and social development and functioning
- concepts of empowerment
- the relevance of sociological perspectives to understanding societal and structural influences on human behaviour.
- Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice
- be able to gather, analyse and critically evaluate and use information and knowledge to make recommendations or modify their viewpoint
- be able to select and use appropriate assessment tools
- be able to prepare, implement, review, evaluate and revise plans to meet needs and circumstances
- be able to use social work methods and models to achieve change and development and improve life opportunities
- be aware of a range of research methodologies
- recognise the value of research and analysis and be able to evaluate such evidence to inform their own practice
- be able to demonstrate a level of skill in the use of information technology appropriate to their practice
- be able to change their practice as needed to take account of new developments or changing contexts
- Be able to establish and maintain a safe practice environment
- understand the need to maintain the safety of both service users and those involved in their care
- be aware of applicable health and safety legislation and any relevant safety policies and procedures in force at the workplace, such as incident reporting, and be able to act in accordance with these
- be able to work safely in challenging environments including being able to take appropriate actions to manage risk
- be able to address behaviour which presents a risk to or from service users, the public or themselves
Source: Health Professions Council (2011) Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers (England) Professional Liaison Group (PLG). London: Health Professions Council.
Appendix 3 - Example of a Genogram[Page 194]
Ben Harris is a young person you are working with and the following is a pictorial representation of his family tree or genogram. His grandmother, Eileen is still alive; His father, Paul and mother, Cheryl are married and Ben is their only son. Ben's uncle is John (married to Tracey who has a child, Wayne, six years old, from a previous relationship with Mick Brown). Ben also has an Aunt, Maddy, who is married to Ian Kerr, Ian being divorced from Sharon Kerr with whom he had a child, Shane.
Appendix 4 - Example of an Eco Map for Ben Harris[Page 195]
- Accommodated - children received into voluntary care under section 20, Children Act 1989.
- Adoption - a legal status which transfers parental responsibility to a new carer or carers. Legally the rights of an adopter are the same as those that would be held by a birth parent. A small number of adopted children will have ongoing contact with their birth parents.
- Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) - a mandatory requirement that newly qualified social workers receive structured support and supervision in their first year of employment.
- Attachment theory - the theory that the first year in life in particular is a critical period when children need consistency in nurturing and parenting if they are to develop in emotionally healthy ways.
- Authoritative practice - being confident, informed and appropriately assertive in the way in which social work is carried out.
- Centiles - comparative measurements of a child's growth and development and weight with the normal, expected measurements in similar-age children.
- Child abuse - physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Professional judgements need to be made about the context and seriousness of any suspected abuse.
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) - CAMHS are part of the National Health Service, specialising in the provision of help and treatment for children and young people with emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties.
- Child protection - the formal and legal systems that come into play once a child is deemed to have crossed the threshold of ‘significant harm’.
- Child Protection Plan - multiagency plan that concentrates on the actions needed to make the child safe. Child Protection Plans replaced the Child Protection Register, partly because the Child Protection Register was seen to have failed to protect children.
- Children's centres - created as part of the Every Child Matters policy, these multidisciplinary centres deliver a range of services to the children and families in their localities, aimed at improving the life chances of children. [Page 197]
- Children's Services - more properly known as Integrated Children's Services (ICS). Established by the Children Act 2004, to better ensure that key children's services such as education and social care work together effectively. There have been many bureaucratic difficulties in this way of working.
- Children's Social Care - a wide range of services that embraces children's centres, foster care, residential care and social work with children and families.
- Chronology - a systematic list of the developmental and social milestones and events in a child or adult's life.
- College of Social Work - a government-sponsored college that is not a physical college but an association formed of professionals and service users to represent social work interests, excellence and endeavours.
- Community psychiatric nurse (CPN) - a trained nurse who specialises in psychiatric disorders and works in the community alongside professionals such as social workers.
- Continuous professional development (CPD) - the opportunities for social workers to take up or participate in a life-long learning culture to constantly update skills and interests.
- Discrimination - any action that is unfair or illegal because it is based on a person's characteristics or background, such as their race, religion, culture, gender, sexuality, age or disability.
- Domestic violence - verbal, physical or sexual actions that are forced on partners. Witnessing domestic violence is now recognised as being extremely detrimental to children's health and development.
- Draft Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England - draft standards drawn up by the Health Professions Council (HPC) concerned with registration and regulatory powers of conduct and behaviour.
- Ecomap - a wider visual representation of a child or adult's family, friends and wider support systems.
- Emotional intelligence - your ability to know yourself and to be sensitive to the likely feelings of other people across a variety of situations.
- Ethics - agreed sets of values or moral judgements.
- Every Child Matters - a social policy initiative announced in 2003 that sought to bring about better interdisciplinary working by encouraging agencies to concentrate on five outcomes for all - being healthy, safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and being economically active. [Page 198]
- Evidence-based practice - practice that is guided by the findings of established research.
- Flexible and family friendly working - systems of work within organisations that enable workers to balance family responsibilities with the demands of the workplace.
- Fostering - voluntary or compulsory arrangements that lead to children being cared for, over short or longer periods by foster carers. Most foster children have ongoing contact with their birth families, who retain parental responsibility.
- Framework for the Assessment of Children and their Families (Assessment Framework/Triangle) - an ecological approach to children that takes account of parenting capacity, wider support systems and the economic environment, and the child's own development.
- Gastronomy feeding tube - a tube placed directly into the stomach to enable the administration of fluids, food and medication.
- Genogram - a visual representation of a child or adult's family tree, using standardised shapes and symbols.
- Guardian ad litem - Court-appointed professional with a social work background, whose role it is to represent the best interests of a child in legal proceedings.
- Hot desking - the practice of sharing desk and office space on a ‘first come, first served basis’.
- In care - catch-all phrase to describe the status of children who are looked after either voluntarily under section 20, Children Act 1989, or as a result of a legal Care Order.
- In-house - a service that is already part of an organisation.
- Independent sector - non-statutory services that are either in the private or voluntary sector.
- Integrated Children's Services (ICS) - established by the Children Act 2004, to better ensure that key children's services such as education and social care work together effectively. There have been many bureaucratic difficulties in this way of working.
- Interdisciplinary working - very similar to multidisciplinary/multiagency working. ‘Multi’ tends to suggest a more compartmentalised approach whereas ‘inter’ suggests a more reciprocal way of working.
- Kinetic - movement that is volatile, heated, ever-changing.
- Legislation - sets of laws and regulations that cover all aspects of children's welfare. [Page 199]
- Life (story) book - the joint process by which a child and social worker/or foster carers compile pictures, artefacts and memories, so that the child has some understanding of their background and history.
- Local authorities - elected bodies such as county, city or borough councils with a wide range of duties and powers; these bodies are responsible for the commissioning or delivery of a range of public services from refuse collection to social work.
- Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) - a multidisciplinary body set up by the Children Act 2004 in order to promote and oversee the safeguarding systems within a specified locality.
- Looked after - children who are ‘looked after’ by the local authority, or in care. The phrase ‘looked after’ reflects the philosophy that children in such situations often return to their parents.
- Management - the layer of staff within organisations that is accountable for the overall performance of teams and budgets.
- Managerialism - top-down processes and procedures that can stifle the opportunities of frontline staff to be innovative and creative.
- Matching - the process by which the needs of a child are matched with the caring capabilities of a foster or adoptive carer.
- Mobile and Flexible working - ways of working that rely on telecommunications and IT, much of this work taking place in employees' own homes.
- Mores - Mores are the values and norms which make up the accepted moral codes accepted within a society.
- Multidisciplinary/Multiagency working - when different professional disciplines/agencies, for example, police, health and children's social care all make contributions to planned interventions in the lives of children and families.
- Munro Report - the product of a review board (2011) led by Professor Eileen Munro, which made recommendations about the future safeguarding of children in the UK.
- Nature/nurture debate - the debate concerning whether children's outcomes are primarily shaped by their genetics or the environments in which they grow up.
- Newly qualified social worker (NQSW) - social workers who have qualified as a result of passing a BA or MA in social work and who have gone on to achieve registration. NQSWs are expected to have a protected case load and additional levels of support and supervision in their first year of employment. [Page 200]
- Oppression - the degrading or patronising treatment of an individual or group brought about by others' discrimination.
- Outcomes - the effects that any intervention has on the life experiences of children, particularly in terms of their being healthy and safe.
- Parallel planning - sometimes known as ‘twin tracking’, this refers to a system whereby parents, carers and extended family are being assessed for their ability to care for a child while at the same time a care plan is being developed that might lead to an outcome such as adoption.
- Paramountcy principle - a key principle of the Children Act 1989 that places the welfare of the child above all other considerations.
- Performance indicator - a measurement of a target or standard that is carried out in a quantitative rather than a qualitative manner.
- Personalisation - a system of social care that gives more power to individuals in helping them shape the nature of the services they receive.
- Peter Connelly - Peter Connelly was on the Child Protection Register when he was killed by his carers in 2007. The subsequent public outcry condemned social workers and other professionals, particularly as the mistakes that had been made in the Victoria Climbié tragedy had reoccurred in the same London borough of Haringey.
- Political correctness - language, policies and behaviours that can lead to a failure to challenge appropriately within children's social care for fear of saying the ‘wrong’ thing in terms of gender, sexual orientation, race, culture and religion.
- Post-registration teaching and learning (PRTL) - a requirement that a certain number of training and development days are undertaken by social workers to remain able to practise as a registered social worker.
- Practice wisdom - wisdom amassed through working with people over years of practice, wherein knowledge and experience of localities are combined with traditional knowledge of research, legislation and procedures.
- Proposed Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Workers in England - the
- Social Work Reform Board's framework against which social worker capabilities should be gauged throughout career development.
- Reflective practice - reflecting on your professional activities and using this reflection to continually improve your personal and professional effectiveness. [Page 201]
- Relationship-based practice - a belief that effective social work can only take place if it is based on a mutual relationship of trust and respect.
- Residential care - largely consisting of small, specialist children's homes in the statutory and independent sector that care for children who are not suited to foster care by reason of their special needs.
- Resilience - the ability of children and adults to access coping mechanisms within self or wider family and friends that enable them to keep healthy and safe, even when faced with very challenging circumstances.
- Resistant families - families who may be overly compliant or aggressive/avoidant of intervention.
- Respectful uncertainty - not taking at face value any explanations that may be offered by a child or family member without checking out the likelihood of its truth.
- Safeguarding - a preventative approach to keeping children safe in all aspects of their everyday life that covers a wide spectrum from healthy eating campaigns, safe play areas and telephone helplines to formal child protection procedures.
- Serious case reviews - independently chaired multidisciplinary panels that review cases when children have died or been seriously harmed as a result of failures in safeguarding. Their purpose is to learn lessons, rather than apportion blame.
- Significant harm - any form of harm that would seriously impair a child's ability to achieve the developmental progress expected of a child of similar age.
- Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) - government-backed institute created as a forerunner to the College of Social Work that was charged with promoting best practice across the social care sector.
- Social services - predecessor of children's social care, social services delivered both children and adult services. After a series of failures in both children and adult services, social services became rebadged as separate ‘children's social care’ and ‘adult social care’ following the institution of the Children Act 2004. ‘Social services’ is still the term used by lay people, sometimes shortened to ‘the social’.
- Social Work Reform Board - the body formed in 2011 to deliver the recommendations of the social work taskforce.
- Social Work Task Force - government backed interdisciplinary review group that reported in 2009 on the state of generic social work in England. [Page 202]
- Specialist services - services that are particularly focused on children with high levels of need or children in need of protection.
- Statutory social work - derived from the word ‘state’, this term usually applies to social work carried out within local authorities. Organisations such as independent sector foster agencies also have to conform to statutory requirements in order to operate legally.
- Strengths-based - practice that looks for the strengths in children and families on which to base interventions and plans.
- Supervision - regular and structured opportunities for a supervisor to offer protected time to social workers so that their professional and personal development needs are addressed alongside issues of workload.
- Sure Start centres - Children's centres with targeted funding.
- Synapse - a junction in the body which passes nerve impulses between cells.
- Systems theory - a theory that effective social work can only take place when the systems surrounding individuals and their problems are addressed.
- Targeted services - services that focus on particular groups who have specific needs. Children's centres, for example, might run services for parents who needed help with their childcare and budgeting skills.
- Team around the child (TAC) - A TAC is a multidisciplinary team of practitioners established on a case-by-case basis to support a child, young person or family.
- Technicist ways of working - ways of working that give priority to forms, targets, protocols and procedures, for example, a ‘tick-box’ approach.
- Thresholds of eligibility - advisory guidelines regarding the levels at which universal services, targeted services and specialist services such as social work should become involved with children and families.
- Toxic trio - the combined presence of mental illness, substance abuse and domestic violence in families. This combination is ‘toxic’ to the health and development of children.
- Trans-disciplinary working - ways of working that involve teams consisting of members with different professional backgrounds.
- Transition - a significant period of change. [Page 203]
- Universal services - services such as schooling and health care that are available to all children in the UK.
- Use of self - Your insight into who you are; how you present and how your skills, experience and values can be used to best effect with children and families.
- Values - sets of beliefs about the world.
- Victoria Climbié - An eight-year-old African child who was killed at the hands of her carers in 2000. The harrowing details of this case caused a public outcry.
- Whistleblowing - when an employee speaks out about illegal or unethical activities within an organisation. Legal safeguards exist to protect the person who is the whistleblower.
- Work-life balance - the concept that social workers need to balance the stresses and strains of their job with areas of fulfilment in their home or social life.
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