SW with Children, YP & Fams
Run by School of Health Sciences
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Mrs Fiona Macdonald
Overall aims and purpose
This module offers a broad foundation in the key aspects of work with children, young people and families, and will address some aspects of practice in more depth. It builds on learning gained in other modules about child policy in Wales; the impact of poverty on children; development over the life course; and use of research to inform practice. In the first part of the module the emphasis will be on safeguarding practice, later moving to address work with children and young people who are looked after, and those in transition and leaving care.
A key theme in this module will be the development of independent learning skills and an ability to critically reflect on received wisdom. This is a rapidly changing area of social work where practitioners may be required to adapt to new systems and take on new methods of practice very regularly. Maintaining professional integrity and core values, coping with change, and making informed judgements about practice will all be crucial skills for every social worker.
The module is underpinned by the principles of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and considers children's rights as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The module aims to:
Identify and explore the difficulties which affect families and can lead to social work involvement, including the definitions and impact of child abuse, and the longer terms impact of adversity in childhood including outcomes for young people looked after and in transition or leaving care.
Promote an understanding of the way in which social work values, legislative requirements, research knowledge and organisational imperatives influence and shape child welfare service provision.
Explain and evaluate the current theories, policies and practice in relation to supporting families and safeguarding children, including processes of assessment and planning where children are believed to be in need of care and support or at risk of significant harm, with a focus on some particularly excluded or vulnerable groups of children or young people.
Identify issues and challenges in ensuring a high standard of care for children within the looked after system and separated from their birth families, and for young people in transition or leaving care.
Highlight how a focus on personal outcomes and what matters to children and young people can promote good practice and appropriate service provision where needed, in order to improve well-being.
Explore the knowledge base about this area of practice, considering in particular what is known about working successfully with families who may be involuntary service users, and practices in relation to looked after children, including attachment and resilience, contact, different types of care, permanence, openness in adoption, and the impact of policy initiatives to improve outcomes.
Provide information about current legal and statutory requirements, and local systems used in practice in work with children, young people and families, offering opportunities for critical evaluation of legislation, systems and services; with recognition of the significance of inter-agency and multi-agency approaches to the delivery of services to children and their families.
Provide an opportunity to consider the importance of appropriate communication with children and young people who are being assessed for services or are in receipt of services, and the particular challenges of communication with children believed to be at risk of significant harm, along with the significance of the relationship between service user and social worker, in ensuring that effective communication takes place.
Explore the recent and divergent policy developments in a devolved Wales and consider how the particular issues that arise within social work practice in a Welsh context can be addressed, within a comparative perspective in relation to social work practice in other UK countries and further afield.
This module will address the involvement of children, young people and families with social work services, and will consider the different types of abuse and their impacts. The legal and procedural aspects of work with these children and families will be explored, in order to give students an understanding of what practice in this sector entails.
Attention will be given to research and what is known about what works in resolving family problems and safeguarding children, as well as the challenges and dilemmas of promoting best outcomes for looked after children, and those in transition or leaving care.
The dilemmas and values issues in relation to work with children will be made explicit, in order to promote reflection and critical consideration of practice challenges. Attention will be given to groups particularly affected by disadvantage and potentially more vulnerable to risk, such as disabled children.
The teaching will be set in the context of Welsh policy and practice, but will also reflect knowledge and good practice beyond Wales from which we can learn. Children’s rights will underpin every topic, and the voice of children and young people and their experiences will form a key consideration for students throughout the teaching on the module.
Information relating to social work law in this module may change in the light of new legislation and case law.
Grades C- / C / C+ : The threshold student should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the central concepts and issues surrounding social work services offered to children, young people and families, and a competent ability to apply this to practice situations. The student should also have the capacity to analyse and evaluate research in relation to ‘what works’ for this service user group, and have an understanding of the associated dilemmas and values issues. An awareness of the underpinning principles of children’s rights should be present, along with a commitment to promoting rights for children and young people, and a capacity to apply these concepts to practice situations. The threshold student will also be aware of the policy context in Wales, recognising the key differences from English policy, and will have the necessary skills to acquire information relevant to practice in this sector in Wales.
Grades B- / B / B+ : The 'typical' student should demonstrate sound knowledge and understanding of the central concepts and issues surrounding social work services to children, young people and families, and a sound level of ability to apply them to practice situations. The student should also have a clear capacity to critically analyse and evaluate research in relation to ‘what works’ for this service user group, and have a good understanding of the associated dilemmas and values issues. A clear awareness of the underpinning principles of children’s rights should be present, along with a well-informed commitment to promoting children’s rights for children and young people, and a well-developed capacity to apply these concepts to practice situations. The ‘typical’ student will also have a sound knowledge of the policy context in Wales, able to analyse the key differences from English policy, and will show sound levels of skill in acquiring detailed information relevant to practice in this sector in Wales.
Grades A- / A / A+ / A* : The excellent student should demonstrate a sophisticated level of knowledge and understanding of the central concepts and issues surrounding social work services to children, young people and families, and a highly competent ability to apply this to practice situations. There should also be a comprehensive ability to critically analyse and evaluate research in relation to ‘what works’ for this service user group, and a detailed and well-balanced understanding of the associated dilemmas and values issues. A sophisticated awareness of the underpinning principles of children’s rights should be present, along with a convincing and well thought out commitment to promoting children’s rights for children and young people, and a strong capacity to apply these ideas to practice should also be present. The excellent student will also have a comprehensive knowledge of the policy context in Wales, able to analyse and critically evaluate a range of differences from English policy, and will show very high levels of skill in acquiring comprehensive information relevant to practice in this sector in Wales.
Explain and analyse the importance of effective communication with children, young people and their families; identify the characteristics of social work relationships with children which promote good communication; and have a thorough understanding of the impact of abuse, disordered attachment or serious disadvantage on children’s development and hence their ability to communicate.
Identify and critically evaluate the range of services which may be required by children and young people, who are in need of care and support or at risk of significant harm, are looked after, or in transition and leaving care; and their families.
Recognise and explain the vulnerability of children in the context of potentially coercive or manipulative families, and show commitment to the principle of prioritising the needs of children.
Critically explore how the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is relevant to practice with children and young people who receive social work services, and understand the importance of promoting children’s rights within their work.
Recognise and analyse the implications of social policy developments in relation to work in this area, particularly in the context of devolution and specific policy initiatives in Wales.
Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of key legislative requirements and social work guidance and procedures which influence practice in work with children, young people and families – in relation to assessment, planning, safeguarding, court work, foster care, other types of public care, adoption and leaving care, and the role of Child Practice Reviews in influencing and improving practice within the safeguarding system.
Interpret and apply concepts from research and the knowledge base in relation to the affect of abuse on children, and in relation to practice with children who are in need of care and support or at risk of significant harm, who are looked after, those in transition or leaving care, and their families.
Critically analyse how children and young people are affected by the events in their lives before and during the period they are looked after, including the impact of discrimination and oppression, particularly on vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied asylum seeking children or disabled children.
Demonstrate their comprehensive understanding of the values dilemmas and ethical conflicts which are inherent in work with children and families, including the potential dichotomy of care and control, and be able to identify and explain anti-oppressive ways of working with families.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
A two hour lecture will take place each week giving underpinning theory on the topic being addressed.
A two hour workshop will take place each week using inquiry based learning techniques and student led seminars. Guest speakers from social work teams will contribute to some of these workshops e.g. substance misuse, youth justice. Individuals in need of care and support, or their carers, will be accessed through relevant organisations, and supported to contribute to one or more sessions e.g. young people leaving care.
A pre-lecture reading task will be set each week to ensure familiarity with the subject area to be addressed during the lecture and workshop. Students will also be asked to read and make use of other learning resources following the lectures and workshops, in order to consolidate learning. Private study time includes preparation for assessment.
Analysis tasks will be given after each lecture, in preparation for the workshop. These may involve group activities or individual tasks, and will include some use of on-line resources for self-paced learning.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Demonstrate critical appreciation of the competing views on the nature of social work and its place and purpose in society, and the complex relationship between social justice, social care and social order/control and their practical and ethical implications.
- Develop critical understanding of the relationship between society, state and social work and its centrality to assessing the wellbeing, care and support needs of individuals as well as safeguarding requirements in relation to individuals, families and communities at risk.
- Demonstrate in-depth understanding and reflection of how social work, both as an occupational practice and as an academic subject, evolves, adapts and changes in response to the social, political and economic challenges and demands of contemporary social welfare policy, practice and legislation.
- Critically understand and examine the root causes of discrimination, oppression, prejudice and inequality and how legislation and policy can be applied to challenge them, as well as the ethical concepts of rights, responsibility, freedom, authority and power inherent in the practice of social workers as agents with statutory powers in different situations
- Examine and critically apply a range of theories and research informed evidence that informs understanding of the child, adult, family or community and of the range of assessment and interventions which can be used to address wellbeing and risk.
- Develop critical understanding with critical evaluation of the underpinning perspectives that determine explanations of the characteristics and circumstances, the stages of development and behaviour of people who need care and support, drawing on research, practice experience and the experience and expertise of people who use services
- Demonstrate critical understanding of the factors and processes that facilitate effective interdisciplinary, interprofessional and interagency collaboration and partnership across a plurality of settings and disciplines
- Develop critical appreciation of the current and evolving range and appropriateness of statutory, voluntary and private agencies providing services and the organisational systems inherent within these
- In-depth and critical understanding of the development of strengths-based, person-centred services which focus on the human and legal rights of individuals for control, power and self determination
- Work in a transparent and responsible way, balancing autonomy with complex, multiple and sometimes contradictory accountabilities (for example, to different individuals, employing agencies, professional bodies and the wider society)
- Social work as an ethical activity requires practitioners to recognise the dignity of the individual, as well as make and implement difficult decisions (including the restriction of liberty) in human situations that involve the potential for benefit or harm.
- Involve users of social work services in ways that increase their resources, capacity and power to influence factors affecting their lives
- Demonstrate the ability to reflect on and learn from the exercise of their skills, and develop their professional identity, recognise their own professional and organisational limitations and accountability, and know how and when to seek advice from a range of sources including constructive professional supervision
- Assess human situations, taking into account a variety of factors (including the views of participants, theoretical concepts, research evidence, legislation and organisational policies and procedures)
- Think logically, systematically, creatively, critically and reflectively, in order to carry out a holistic assessment
- Demonstrate persistence in gathering information from a wide range of sources and using a variety of methods, for a range of purposes, critically assessing the reliability and relevance of the information gathered. These methods include electronic searches, reviews of relevant literature, policy and procedures, face-to-face interviews, and written and telephone contact with individuals and groups take into account differences of viewpoint in gathering information
- Apply ethical principles and practices critically in planning problem-solving activities
- Critical analysis and professional judgement and the processes of defensible risk assessment and decision making, including the balance of choice and control, rights and protection in decision making, focussing on wellbeing outcomes.
- Demonstrate interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence that creates and develops relationships based on openness, transparency and empathy
- Make appropriate use of and reflect on research in decision making and professional judgement about practice and in the evaluation of outcomes
- Build and sustain purposeful relationships with people and organisations in communities and inter-professional contexts
- Practice in a manner that promotes well-being, protects safety and resolves conflict
- Engage appropriately with the life experiences of service users, to understand accurately their viewpoint, overcome personal prejudices and respond appropriately to a range of complex personal and interpersonal situations
- Communicate clearly, sensitively and effectively, using appropriate methods with individuals and groups of different ages and abilities in a range of formal and informal situations
- Make decisions based on evidence, set goals and construct specific plans to achieve outcomes, taking into account relevant information including ethical guidelines
- Assimilate, present and disseminate relevant information and conclusions verbally and on paper, in reports and case records, in a structured form, appropriate to the audience for which these have been prepared
- Use information and communication technology effectively and appropriately for professional communication, data storage and retrieval and information searching to enable effective use of research in practice
Resource implications for students
Students are encouraged to purchase one or more of the key texts from the reading list, but this is not compulsory.