Currently, there is no explicit requirement for qualifying level social workers to be skilled in communicating with children. In a recent Knowledge Review, we argued that practitioners should have a basic level of competence in such skill at the point of qualification. If that argument is accepted then how this should be acquired within the qualifying social work curriculum needs consideration. The authors present a framework for understanding those components of skilled communication with children that should be included in the qualifying curriculum. A whole programme approach to curriculum development will be outlined which, we suggest, might enable students to develop the knowledge, capabilities and values required for skilled practice in this area
A B S T R AC TTwenty years after survey evidence showed that UK social work students could complete their training without having learnt about or worked with children, new research suggests little has changed. There is still no guarantee that any student on qualification will have been taught about or assessed in communication skills with children and young people. This is despite the claim that the pre-registration award provides teaching and assessment in core generic skills as a foundation for the development of specialist practice roles in agencies. In fact, as this paper shows, a common understanding of what counts as effective communication with children has yet to be consolidated in social work practice and research. This has impeded the process of curriculum development. Divergent expectations about what counts as social work communication with children in a changing policy context may be exacerbating long-standing uncertainties about how genericism and specialism should be linked in professional education and training. In exploring these issues, this paper seeks to clear the way for the renewed effort that is now required if this aspect of curriculum development is to be effective.
Article (Accepted Version) http://sro.sussex.ac.uk Lefevre, Michelle, Hickle, Kristine and Luckock, Barry (2019) 'Both/and' not 'either/or': reconciling rights to protection and participation in working with child sexual exploitation.
A B S T R AC TThe case has been made for introducing a rights-based, public health approach to child protection in England. A continuum of prevention is proposed, with multi-agency responses calibrated more carefully to the level of risk identified by children, parents and practitioners. The aim was to allocate inter-professional authority and resources in such a way as to ensure the safeguarding response is proportionate to the nature and level of concerns expressed and reliable in achieving good outcoSmes for children and parents alike. Recent research findings confirm the need for new models of service alignment and interprofessional responsibility at the interface of 'primary' and 'specialist' health-care services and 'children's social care', where significant safeguarding concerns are raised. This paper reports the findings of a scoping study, designed to establish the extent to which innovative practice methodologies have been implemented and evaluated in England to date. While the evidence to support the effectiveness of specific practice methodologies and contrasting logics of service design and implementation is shown to be very limited still, achieving reliability and legitimacy in the safeguarding relationships established at the service interface seems to depend on the integrity of the dialogue facilitated in each case.
Adoption policy and practice in England is being 'modernized' in order to increase the number of permanent placements for children in public care. Success depends on improving adoption services as well as reforming the adoption process itself. To this end the Adoption and Children Act 2002 places new duties on local authorities to ensure greater consistency and quality of service in adoption support as well as in care planning.\ud
Questions now arise locally about what priority and focus to give to adoption support. Yet service development is inhibited by the ambivalence of New Labour about exactly what it is that adoption support is supposed to be supporting and how. Funds are limited and service re-organization is always difficult to achieve. However, mixed policy messages result largely from the ambiguous social role and expectations of adoptive family life and kinship. In law adoption replicates the autonomous normative birth family whilst in policy it provides reparative parenting for particularly vulnerable children. A lack of clarity about the claims for support of those affected by adoption results.\ud
This paper argues a fresh case for the distinctive claims of adoptive family life for support. It suggests how new thinking about adoptive family life and kinship might stimulate local service collaboration and effective adoption support
In this paper ambivalent commitments to parenting and family life by the New Labour government are explored by reference to the example of adoption support. Developments in adoption illuminate contrasting expectations in family policy and children's services more generally. Traditional normative concerns to support family status and parental autonomy are unsettled by contemporary anxieties about child outcomes and social mobility. Impatience with the attitudes and behaviour of parents has led to a ‘progressive universalism’ in which enhanced parenting services and expectations for all are combined with increasingly insistent and targeted interventions for the particularly needy, reluctant or recalcitrant few. At the same time demands for greater service modernization and professional effectiveness have led government to position parents as (potential) consumers too. The paper discusses these policy and practice tensions and concludes that new spaces are being opened up for the negotiation between parents and professionals about rights and responsibilities in family life and its support.
Post-adoption contact, whether through letterbox arrangements or direct links between the adoptive child and family and the birth parents and relatives, is becoming a common practice aspiration. However, adoption law remains rooted in assumptions of severance and the courts are extremely reluctant to order such contact and thereby interfere with the right of adoptive parents to make their own decisions. In this situation agreements have to be voluntarily negotiated and mediation has been proposed as a method of helping birth and adoptive parents to come to joint decisions about the nature and extent of post-adoption contact. Carol Kedward, Barry Luckock and Hilary Lawson report and discuss the results of a small-scale, evaluative study of the service outcomes and experiences of parents who were in touch with the Post-Adoption Centre Contact Mediation Service during the first two years of its operation.
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