chapter  26
The use of play skills during child protection and welfare assessments
Building relationships with children to explore attachment relationships
ByLisa O’Reilly, Pat Dolan
Pages 12

This chapter explores how using play skills to engage with children during child protection and welfare (CPW) assessments can promote social workers' understanding of children's attachment relationships. It focuses on the importance of child-centred engagement as a key measure in keeping children safe from abuse and/or neglect. According to J. P. Piaget, fantasy play 'provides the child with live, dynamic individual language indispensable for the expression of his subjective feelings for which collective language alone is inadequate'. E. Munro, in her important review of child protection social work in the UK, recommends that large-scale empirical research programmes have a key role in improving social workers' ability to recognize abuse and put appropriate interventions in place for children and their families. A key opportunity to build relationships with children involved in the CPW system is to carry out direct work with them. David Howe has made major developments in explaining the application of attachment theory to child and family social work.