Social Work with Children, Young People and their Families in Scotland

Books

Steve J. Hothersall

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  • Copyright

    About the Author

    Steve J Hothersall is the Head of Social Work Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire. Prior to this he taught on the social work programmes at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, having previously spent many years working in Scotland as a social worker in children's services, as a safeguarder, a curator ad litem and a mental health officer. He spends what free time he has listening to classical music, reading and fishing.

    Introduction to Third Edition

    Social work with children, young people and their families is a very challenging area of social work practice. In my view, it is also one of the most rewarding, although its demands can make those rewards at times seem very distant indeed.

    This now-classic text is a part of the well-established Transforming Social Work Practice Series written specifically to support students on the social work degree and related courses, and it is full of up-to-date information on the recently transformed social work landscape in Scotland as it relates to children, young people and their families.

    Since the second edition was published in 2008, Scotland has continued to lead the way in ethically based, evidence-informed innovative practice, and this fully updated and revised third edition addresses the significant changes to the law, policy and practice in relation to adoption and permanency, the children's hearing system and the implications of the provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and other related matters, including the National Practice Model of GIRFEC. This is the only text to provide coverage of the new legal, policy and practice landscape of social work with children and families in Scotland, and as such, it will be an indispensable guide for social work and social pedagogy students at both UG and PG (M) levels, newly qualified social workers, managers, practice teachers, support workers and for those engaged on post-qualifying courses, as well as to a range of other professionals (both pre- and post-qualification) in health, medicine, education, the police and other cognate disciplines.

    This extensively revised third edition works at a number of levels by providing the reader with a wealth of important information, discussion and critiques within the text, but it also acts as a significant resource: each citation within the text has been designed not only to support the text per se, but also to act as a ‘signpost’ to facilitate a much wider and deeper learning and understanding across an enormous range of topics, themes and issues.

    This revised 3rd edition continues to align itself to the (Scottish) Standards in Social Work Education (SiSWE) (Scottish Executive, 2003a) as well as offering readers the opportunity to begin to address some of the requirements of the Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection (KCs) (Scottish Executive, 2006e) (available at www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2006/12/13102807/0), aligned as these are themselves to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and the SiSWE. The KCs are designed to allow students to map their specific learning in relation to child care and protection and are seen as being the key areas of learning which all students should be capable of achieving during the life of the degree course.

    The KCs are grouped under four main headings: effective communication; knowledge and understanding; professional confidence and competence; and values and ethical practice and are graded across SCQF levels 7–10. Each chapter will offer readers the opportunity to address aspects of each of the SiSWE and the KCs, all of which are detailed in Appendix 1.

    Chapter 1 examines the legal, policy and the practice contexts within which social work practice takes place. It is important that practitioners are aware of the complex interrelationships that exist between what happens in society and how law and subsequent policy aim to assist in addressing particular issues and phenomena. The provisions and opportunities heralded by the new Children and Young People (S) Act 2014 are discussed and the impact these provisions have on most other areas of service design and delivery are considered. The chapter provides detailed accounts of extant legislation, regulations, guidance, policy and a range of other practice initiatives that currently frame and guide practice in this area.

    Chapter 2 looks at the types of support that can be provided to children, young people and their families and offers an introduction to a wide range of theoretical perspectives to inform practice. The chapter emphasises the importance of prevention and early intervention and sees these notions as being inextricably bound to the effective use of self in the form of good interpersonal skills and professional relationships, an important (re-) emergent theme in today's ‘procedurally driven’ climate. The chapter looks at themes and issues that impact on children, young people and their families and, ergo, practice: poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination and oppression, social exclusion, crime and disorder, substance use and misuse, mental illness, domestic violence, abuse and neglect and the growth of technology.

    Chapter 3 focuses upon the collaborative nature of social work with children, young people and their families. Today there are a number of statutes and a range of other policy documents that attempt to mandate and otherwise prescribe how professionals collaborate with each other. This chapter discusses these issues as well as the broader themes regarding the importance of the inter- and intrapersonal dynamics of collaboration and the importance and challenges of interprofessional education and learning, themes often overlooked in contemporary practice.

    Chapter 4 takes an in-depth look at the unique children's hearing system, detailing its origins, structures and functions as well as discussing the significant changes recently introduced to the children's hearing system as a result of the recent Review under GIRFEC and the implementation of the Children's Hearings (S) Act 2011.

    Chapter 5 focuses on safeguarding and child protection, looking at the current frameworks that exist and how these operate. This chapter includes discussion of the 2010 Guidance and the interrelationships with the 2011 Act, the Adoption and Children (S) Act 2007 and other provisions designed to maximise the state's capacity to safeguard and protect children and young people where this is necessary. The chapter looks at the issues of social constructionism in relation to how notions of abuse and neglect are constructed and operationalised as well as considering the impact of changes in society that influence contemporary practice, including information technology and the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.

    Chapter 6 looks at those children and young people who are looked after and/or accommodated by the state. This includes consideration of the experiential aspects of having to live in some form of substitute care, the reasons for this and how the state responds in terms of service provision, including commentary on the changes to permanence and adoption implemented by the Adoption and Children (S) Act 2007. There is also consideration of areas of practice in relation to young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and developments in kinship and residential provision and consideration of the role of social pedagogic approaches.

    I feel it is important to say that while this book represents an attempt to introduce readers to a very broad and a very complex area, there is for me an inherent simplicity to all of this. Social work is about people: who they are, what they are, where they are and how they feel, about both themselves and other people. The existence of law, policy, procedures, guidance, theory and models of practice, etc. should never obscure the central importance of (interpersonal) relationships. To be a good practitioner you have to be good with people, and those skills underpin the effective utilisation of most of what you will read in these pages.

    Finally, and in keeping with tradition, the following quotation from the autograph score of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (Op. 123) has a resonance for this edition and reflects a sentiment relating to how we do what we do, and the impact our practice might have: Von Herzen, möge es wieder, zu Herzen gehen! (From the heart, may it return to the heart!)

  • Appendix: The Standards in Social Work Education and the Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection

    Standards in Social Work Education
    Chapter 1
    Key Role 1: Prepare for, and Work with, Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups and Communities to Assess their Needs and Circumstances
    • Preparing for social work contact and involvement.
    Key Role 4: Demonstrate Professional Competence in Social Work Practice
    • Evaluating and using up-to-date knowledge of, and research into, social work practice.
    • Working within agreed standards of social work practice.
    Chapter 2
    Key Role 1: Prepare for, and Work with, Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups and Communities to Assess their Needs and Circumstances
    • Preparing for social work contact and involvement.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities so they can make informed decisions.
    • Assessing needs and options in order to recommend a course of action.
    Key Role 2: Plan, Carry out, Review and Evaluate Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups, Communities and other Professionals
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to achieve change, promote dignity, realise potential and improve life opportunities.
    • Producing, implementing and evaluating plans with individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and colleagues.
    • Developing networks to meet assessed needs and planned outcomes.
    Key Role 4: Demonstrate Professional Competence in Social Work Practice
    • Evaluating and using up-to-date knowledge of, and research into, social work practice.
    • Working within agreed standards of social work practice.
    • Understanding and managing complex ethical issues, dilemmas and conflicts.
    • Promoting best social work practice, adapting positively to change.
    Key Role 5: Manage and be Accountable, with Supervision and Support, for their Own Social Work Practice within their Organisation
    • Managing one's own work in an accountable way.
    • Taking responsibility for one's own continuing professional development.
    • Contributing to the management of resources and services.
    • Managing, presenting and sharing records and reports.
    • Preparing for, and taking part in, decision-making forums.
    • Working effectively with professionals within integrated, multidisciplinary and other service settings.
    Key Role 6: Support Individuals to Represent and Manage their Needs, Views and Circumstances
    • Representing, in partnership with, and on behalf of, individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to help them achieve and maintain greater independence
    Chapter 3
    Key Role 1: Prepare for, and Work with, Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups and Communities to Assess their Needs and Circumstances
    • Preparing for social work contact and involvement.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities so they can make informed decisions.
    • Assessing needs and options in order to recommend a course of action.
    Key Role 2: Plan, Carry out, Review and Evaluate Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups, Communities and other Professionals
    • Identifying and responding to crisis situations.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to achieve change, promote dignity, realise potential and improve life opportunities.
    • Producing, implementing and evaluating plans with individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and colleagues.
    • Developing networks to meet assessed needs and planned outcomes.
    Key Role 3: Assess and Manage Risk to Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups, Communities, Self and Colleagues
    • Assessing and managing risks to individuals, families, carers, groups and communities.
    • Assessing and managing risk to self and colleagues.
    Key Role 4: Demonstrate Professional Competence in Social Work Practice
    • Evaluating and using up-to-date knowledge of, and research into, social work practice.
    • Working within agreed standards of social work practice.
    • Promoting best social work practice, adapting positively to change.
    Key Role 5: Manage and be Accountable, with Supervision and Support, for their Own Social Work Practice within their Organisation
    • Contributing to the management of resources and services.
    • Managing, presenting and sharing records and reports.
    Chapter 4
    Key Role 1: Prepare for, and Work with, Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups and Communities to Assess their Needs and Circumstances
    • Preparing for social work contact and involvement.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities so they can make informed decisions.
    • Assessing needs and options in order to recommend a course of action.
    Key Role 4: Demonstrate Professional Competence in Social Work Practice
    • Evaluating and using up-to-date knowledge of, and research into, social work practice.
    • Working within agreed standards of social work practice.
    • Understanding and managing complex ethical issues, dilemmas and conflicts.
    • Promoting best social work practice, adapting positively to change.
    Key Role 6: Support Individuals to Represent and Manage their Needs, Views and Circumstances

    Representing, in partnership with, and on behalf of, individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to help them achieve and maintain greater independence.

    Chapter 5
    Key Role 1: Prepare for, and Work with, Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups and Communities to Assess their Needs and Circumstances
    • Preparing for social work contact and involvement.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities so they can make informed decisions
    • Assessing needs and options in order to recommend a course of action.
    Key Role 2: Plan, Carry out, Review and Evaluate Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups, Communities and other Professionals
    • Identifying and responding to crisis situations.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to achieve change, promote dignity, realise potential and improve life opportunities.
    • Producing, implementing and evaluating plans with individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and colleagues.
    • Developing networks to meet assessed needs and planned outcomes.
    • Working with groups to promote choice and independent living.
    • Tackling behaviour which presents a risk to individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and the wider public.
    Key Role 3: Assess and Manage Risk to Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups, Communities, Self and Colleagues
    • Assessing and managing risks to individuals, families, carers, groups and communities.
    • Assessing and managing risk to self and colleagues.
    Key Role 4: Demonstrate Professional Competence in Social Work Practice
    • Evaluating and using up-to-date knowledge of, and research into, social work practice.
    • Working within agreed standards of social work practice.
    • Understanding and managing complex ethical issues, dilemmas and conflicts.
    • Promoting best social work practice, adapting positively to change.
    Key Role 5: Manage and be Accountable, with Supervision and Support, for their Own Social Work Practice within their Organisation
    • Managing one's own work in an accountable way.
    • Taking responsibility for one's own continuing professional development.
    • Contributing to the management of resources and services.
    • Managing, presenting and sharing records and reports.
    • Preparing for, and taking part in, decision-making forums.
    • Working effectively with professionals within integrated, multidisciplinary and other service settings.
    Key Role 6: Support Individuals to Represent and Manage their Needs, Views and Circumstances
    • Representing, in partnership with, and on behalf of, individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to help them achieve and maintain greater independence.
    Chapter 6
    Key Role 1: Prepare for, and Work with, Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups and Communities to Assess their Needs and Circumstances
    • Preparing for social work contact and involvement.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities so they can make informed decisions.
    • Assessing needs and options in order to recommend a course of action.
    Key Role 2: Plan, Carry out, Review and Evaluate Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, Carers, Groups, Communities and other Professionals
    • Identifying and responding to crisis situations.
    • Working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to achieve change, promote dignity, realise potential and improve life opportunities.
    • Producing, implementing and evaluating plans with individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and colleagues.
    • Developing networks to meet assessed needs and planned outcomes.
    • Working with groups to promote choice and independent living.
    Key Role 4: Demonstrate Professional Competence in Social Work Practice
    • Evaluating and using up-to-date knowledge of, and research into, social work practice.
    • Working within agreed standards of social work practice.
    • Understanding and managing complex ethical issues, dilemmas and conflicts.
    • Promoting best social work practice, adapting positively to change.
    Key Role 5: Manage and be Accountable, with Supervision and Support, for their Own Social Work Practice within their Organisation
    • Contributing to the management of resources and services.
    • Managing, presenting and sharing records and reports.
    • Preparing for, and taking part in, decision-making forums.
    • Working effectively with professionals within integrated, multidisciplinary and other service settings.
    Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection

    The Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection (KCs) (Scottish Executive, 2006e) are learning outcomes and competences that are oriented specifically towards childcare and protection, designed to enhance the generic SiSWE to which they are aligned. All students undertaking social work degree programmes will be assessed in relation to the KCs at key stages during the course of their learning (see Scottish Executive, 2006e, pp5–6). When and how this will take place is something you should check with your own course provider as practices are likely to differ from course to course. There are four major headings, shown below.

    Effective Communication

    Effective communication is intrinsic to all aspects of social work practice. In order to be a capable practitioner, students will be required to be effective using a range of methods, in a variety of settings and with different individuals and groups. The KCs provide examples of opportunities for students to learn and be assessed on their communication skills in the area of childcare and protection (p8).

    SCQF Level 7: Developing basic communication skills and awareness of particular aspects of communication with children.

    SCQF Level 8: Opportunities to start practising skills and demonstrating knowledge.

    SCQF Level 9: Ability to demonstrate and use a selection of skills in contexts which include a degree of unpredictability.

    SCQF Level 10: Students will be expected to be competent in communicating at a professional level with peers and senior colleagues. This will include the ability to deliver formal presentations.

    Knowledge and Understanding

    During the course of their studies and practice learning opportunities, students will require to gain knowledge and demonstrate understanding in a number of key areas including the legal framework which underpins practice (both their own and other professionals'), relevant guidance, knowledge of theory and models of practice (including risk assessment), the context for childcare and protection and aspects of intra- and inter-agency practice (p15).

    SCQF Level 7: Students should demonstrate a broad knowledge of the key areas in childcare and protection which will underpin practice.

    SCQF Level 8: Students should demonstrate a broad knowledge of childcare and protection with detailed knowledge in some areas. They should have some understanding of the core theories.

    SCQF Level 9: Students should demonstrate a broad and integrated knowledge and understanding. They should demonstrate their ability to undertake critical analysis.

    SCQF Level 10: Demonstrate detailed knowledge and critically apply this to practice.

    Professional Confidence and Competence

    In order to work effectively with children, young people, parents, carers, peers and other professionals, practitioners need to be competent and confident. This includes being clear about their professional role and responsibilities (and the limits of these). It also includes having a clear understanding about the professional responsibilities of others, and knowledge of when they need to draw on the services of others to improve outcomes for children, young people, parents and carers (p27).

    SCQF Level 7: Students should demonstrate an awareness of the concept of professional competence and confidence and exercise some initiative and independence.

    SCQF Level 8: Students should demonstrate the ability to exercise autonomy and deal with professional issues under guidance.

    SCQF Level 9: Students should be able to demonstrate broad and integrated levels of professional confidence and competence.

    SCQF Level 10: Students need to demonstrate they are confident and competent practitioners and can exercise initiative and autonomy.

    Values and Ethical Practice

    Although adopting social work values and practising in a manner which is ethical should underpin all practice with all service users, peers and other professionals, there are specific areas which are particularly relevant to childcare and protection. All students will have been children, and will have experienced being parented; some students may well be parents themselves. Students' own experiences (of childhood and being parented or parenting) will have contributed to who they are and their values. In some instances this will be helpful to them as practitioners, in other instances it may not. In all instances students need to reflect on their own values and take responsibility to make change where these are in conflict with core social work values (p37).

    SCQF Level 7: Students should demonstrate an awareness of social work values and ethical practice.

    SCQF Level 8: Students need to demonstrate a broad awareness of values and ethics and deal with ethical issues in accordance with professional/ethical codes (SSSC Codes of Practice, 2003).

    SCQF Level 9: Students have a critical understanding of a range of skills enabling them to demonstrate ethical practice.

    SCQF Level 10: Students demonstrate ethical practice based on SSSC Codes of Practice (2003).

    (From Scottish Executive, 2006e, available at: www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2006/12/13102807/0).

    Each of the four KC headings at each of the four SCQF levels has a number of examples and suggestions as to how you might evidence your learning. This book will also help you in this task.

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