The nature and culture of social work with children and families in long-term casework:Findings from a qualitative longitudinal study

Ferguson, Harry and Warwick, Lisa and Singh Cooner, Tarsem and Leigh, Jadwiga and Beddoe, Liz and Disney, Tom and Plumridge, Gillian (2020) The nature and culture of social work with children and families in long-term casework:Findings from a qualitative longitudinal study. Child and Family Social Work, 25 (3). pp. 694-703. ISSN 1356-7500

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Abstract

Social work in the United Kingdom is preoccupied with what social workers cannot do due to having limited time to spend with service users. Yet remarkably little research has examined what social workers actually do, especially in long-term relationships. This paper draws from an ethnographic study of two social work departments in England that spent 15 months observing practice and organizational life. Our findings show that social work some of the time has a significant amount of involvement with some service users and the dominant view that relationship-based practice is rarely achieved is in need of some revision. However, families at one research site received a much more substantial, reliable overall service due to the additional input of family support workers and having a stable workforce who had their own desks and were co-located with managers in small team offices. This generated a much more supportive, reflective culture for social workers and service users than at the second site, a large open plan "hot-desking" office. Drawing on relational, systemic, and complexity theories, the paper shows how the nature of what social workers do and culture of practice are shaped by the interaction between available services, office designs, and practitioners', managers', and service users' experiences of relating together.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Child and Family Social Work
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3312
Subjects:
ID Code:
141541
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
24 Feb 2020 09:40
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2020 07:03