Describe the techniques used in direct work with children. What challenges might you face in using these in practice?
Outline and discuss the practice skills and methods required for direct work with a child or young person.
Direct work is undertaken in a variety of circumstances and with several different objectives. If social workers are to intervene effectively in their lives and make the least detrimental decisions on their behalf, they must understand children’s perceptions of their life experiences. In addition, as young people mature, it is the obligation of the adults responsible for them to help the former in their understanding of their own life histories and to become aware of the impact it may have on their future decision-making. Direct work can also be used to prepare the child for the coming changes.
The UNCRC has four underpinning principles; the right to non discrimination (Article 2) on basis of age. This means that children must not be discriminated against for seeking their views because of age, gender, disability, and religion. This is relevant in all child protection. Secondly, Article 3 states that the best interests of the child are important. Thirdly, article 6 gives the right for the child’s health and right for development. Finally, article 12 states that the child has the right to express their own view. It is important to reflect on children’s rights. The UNCRC also supports parents in the care of their children and upholds their rights in the context of their families.
Scope of direct work
According to Hapgood, direct work is used to enable the child to understand significant events in the past, confront the feelings that are secondary to these events and become more fully involved in the future planning of their lives. Direct work is useful for the following purposes: gaining an understanding of the child’s perceptions of his/her life disengagement work explaining plans for future addressing current issues of concern enhancing attachments in current family facilitating identity information increasing child’s knowledge of self reintegration of early life events focusing on long life issues
Having a good relationship with the child is vital in social work practice and children want a social worker who is genuine, reliable, honest, and someone who generally enjoys their company. It is extremely important that the child is involved throughout the sw process and that they understand everything that is happening.
Barriers to Direct work
Theories – it is argued that “young children can’t tell us much” (queries regarding competence) and that the sw shouldn’t ask children too much through fear of causing harm and pain. The sw can’t ask the child too many questions (risk avoidance). The sw may not know how to communicate with the child (mystique). The answers may be too difficult to bear so the sw may not want to hear the child (self-preservation). Taken for granted assumptions about children and childhood are based on age-related stages of development, (Taylor 2004; Winter 2006).
Tasks - sw is paper driven and based on filling out forms. This means that there is concerns that form filling and meeting targets take more priority than taking time to form and build relationships. Munro (2011) argues that there is concern that role of assessor and bureaucrat takes priority of taking time to form and build relationships with children.
Trust – sw tasked with making difficult decisions that people and children don’t like which affects the level of trust. Winter (2009) argues that sw find it especially hard to build up relationships with children that they had to remove from the family home and kept away.
Time – the sw may be working with a large family and hasn’t enough time to get round all the children and build up a