Child and family focused work in children’s services
Practitioners take on many roles when working with children and families. Whatever their role, working directly with children and their families is a cornerstone of good practice and there is a substantial body of research that shows how participation in decision making by children and families relates to good outcomes for both child and family (Department of Health 2001a). There is also a good deal of evidence about what both children and families find helpful in the attitudes and actions of social workers (Department of Health 2001a; Rose 2006). Government initiatives, such as the frameworks across the UK for the assessment of children and families, have emphasized the value of practice that respects the rights of individuals, builds on strengths and promotes resilience (Daniel et al.* 1999; Department of Health et al. 2000; Scottish Government* 2008a). This chapter considers the rationale behind effective direct work, drawing on a rights perspective. It then briefly describes some of the key features of assessment, planning and decision making, which are core parts of the social work role. It discusses information sharing, often an area of practice crucial to children’s well-being but one which can exclude children and families. Finally, it summarizes the essential components of direct work with children.