Nicola Anderson is a child protection social worker who is also conducting a study of what affects child protection social workers working directly with parents. If you would like to take part or learn more about the research please contact Nicola: firstname.lastname@example.org (441 words)
Engaging parents in direct work is an important part of working in child protection. Sometimes it can be a very difficult task as social workers are entering people’s private family life and interventions can feel invasive. Parents are justifiably reluctant to allow this. Parents can express their feelings to the social worker involved and this can sometimes become aggressive. Social workers meet aggression so often that reducing aggression has now become part of social work (Taylor 2011). Schools of thought are that social workers contribute to parents’ negative feelings as a result of their communication or practice styles. There are movements towards changing the way social workers communicate and work with families with the emphasis on respect, listening and ensuring parents understanding of and involvement in plans and processes, for example motivational interviewing and signs of safety.
It seems that in the research that has taken place to date, the focus is often the child or parent or the outcomes from the intervention, but how does it affect the social worker? What we do know is that violence and threats against social workers affect their commitment and their effectiveness in keeping children safe affecting outcomes for children (Littlechild 2005). Interestingly, it is non-physical aggression which has the biggest effect but the least managerial support (Littlechild 2005). Links have been made between levels of management support and social worker burnout. Key areas of current academic and front line interest are social worker resilience and how to build this and although we are beginning to speak of building a supportive and safe environment for social workers to practice in, the focus again is on the social worker building their skills.
I am Nicola Anderson, a child protection social worker of over 10 years’ experience. I am a professional doctorate student at the University of Bedfordshire researching what affects child protection social workers working directly with parents. I am funding this research myself as I feel so strongly about giving social workers a voice. I want to gather child protection social workers experiences of how direct work with parents affects them, and the implications of this for them and their practice. I hope we can learn something that supports and improves social workers’ wellbeing and practice and contributes to this developing area of research. If you are a child protection social worker interested in being interviewed about your experiences of direct child protection social work please get in touch. Taking part is voluntary and if you feel this is not for you, you could still help by passing my message on to your social work friends and colleagues.
Nicola Anderson is a child protection social worker who is also conducting a study of what affects child protection social workers working directly with parents. If you would like to take part or would like to learn more about the research please contact Nicola: email@example.com