Through a final qualitative interview question, we asked mothers who were involved with the Canadian child welfare system to provide recommendations to improve practices in this system. Through their responses, these women focused on the relationships between parents and workers. Surprisingly, they stated that child welfare workers should “act like friends.” In these descriptions, they stated that child welfare workers should be respectful, honest, caring, supportive, non-judgmental, and encouraging. They further stated that workers should have empathy and provide concrete supports so that parents maintain connections to their children. First, we present the mothers’ recommendations. Then, we situate these findings into best practice literature and discuss both the possibilities and challenges of developing stronger relationships between parents and child welfare workers.
Staff turnover is a concerning phenomenon whose consequences have been understudied, especially in child protection services. However, a high rate of staff turnover could have a negative impact on the affected clientele. This study aims to explore the link between staff turnover and the clinical progress of female adolescents in residential rehabilitation units in relation to the experience, expression, and regulation of anger as well as to psychological distress. Contrary to what was found in the literature, the results indicate that female adolescents exposed to a higher rate of staff turnover do not experience greater psychological distress over time and that their feelings of anger do not intensify over time. On the contrary, these diminish, probably due to a higher initial level of anger. The significant role played by covariables suggests many other variables account for adolescents’ clinical progress. Other studies are proposed to better understand the phenomenon of staff turnover and its consequences.
In this case study we examine the experiences of campers and volunteers at a one-week residential camp for individuals and families affected by HIV in Canada. The data presented was gathered during the camp session held in July 2013, and was derived from 26 interviews with campers and volunteers and from 40 self-administered surveys. This data highlights five themes: the camp as a “family” with a strong sense of community; a sense of belonging not experienced elsewhere due to stigma; the crucial role of peer social support; the camp as the intersection of diverse cultural and social groups; and reduced significance of one’s HIV status in the camp environment. This study recommends that social workers, whose caseloads include HIV-affected individuals or families, make greater use of such camps -- for example, systematic referrals, to boost social support. This article also calls on social workers to invest themselves in this type of community programming in order to enhance the quality and quantity of services offered.
This article examines the current state of family intervention in the context of a
first psychotic episode (FPE). It attempts to document the components of the collaborative
relationship between 54 parents and the social workers in a Quebec City clinic specialized
in the treatment of first psychoses. It also attempts to identify, from the parents’
perspective, what promotes or hinders this collaborative relationship. The results indicate
that a significant part of the collaboration depends on the social workers’ interpersonal
skills as well as their knowledge of, and experience with, the families and youth in
question. Furthermore, the parents’ discourse indicated that in-depth engagement by the
social workers plays an important role in the establishment of collaborative practices. The
results also expose certain constraints encountered in this practice, in particular, the
issue of confidentiality as well as the approach employed to promote engagement in the
intervention by the family system, or at least those members playing a supportive role
within the family. Recommendations concerning family intervention and social work practice
The field of social work is currently wrestling with a number of divergent theories and concepts as it seeks to discover ways of thinking about social issues, client worlds, and best practices. Yet many of those eclectically gathered theories are not aligned logically or philosophically. This has led to a disjointed, ad hoc, and disunited theoretical basis within the field that has, arguably, weakened its collective effectiveness, reputation, and impact. Erich Fromm (1900-1980), a German-born psychoanalyst and philosopher, offers a number of theoretical ideas, stances, and directions that may improve social work’s theoretical underpinnings and perhaps even provide some foundational elements useful for the creation of a unified theory of human functioning in the world. This article explores Fromm’s body of work with the intention of applying a selection of his ideas to social work theory, policy, and practice. Remedies to resolve the bifurcation of psyche-based and society-based theories are discussed. Following this is a presentation of Fromm’s concept of “social character” as well as implications for social work practice.
Even if various parenting skills training programs (PSTP) are evidence-based, they do not always succeed in engaging families who need it most. The general objective of this study is to better understand issues related to engagement in PSTP for families where parents are struggling with alcohol or another drug addiction. Coming from four Quebec rehabilitation centres, the sample is composed of 47 families who initially agreed to participate in PSTP. Of these families, 18 did not complete the program. The results indicate that, compared to parents who have completed the program, those who have dropped out are characterized by a worse job status, lack of parental supervision, lack of communication between family members, and family dysfunction. In addition, families who dropped out of the program experienced more stress during the previous year. The results suggest indicators to identify families at risk of abandoning PSTP and also guide the development of therapeutic strategies to facilitate parents’ engagement in services.
This paper presents findings from qualitative interviews with five Jewish people — two Rabbis and three workers in various community service capacities — about their understandings and practices of the Jewish principle of tikkun olam. Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means “the repair of the world,” has its roots in Rabbinic law, the Kabbalah and the ‘Aleinu prayer, and became a mainstream term for Jewish social justice work and community contribution in North America following the Shoah (Holocaust). In this study, participants spoke to the imperative to act and responsibility; external tikkun and internal tikkun; collectivity and interconnectedness; the presence of Jewish history in their work, particularly in the case of the Holocaust; and the spiritual dimension of working with people. This study was undertaken with a narrative approach, to honour and preserve understandings of tikkun olam across Jewish communities. This study indicates the continuing influence of tikkun olam in settings both within and outside the Jewish community. Potential future areas of research are the role of spirituality in social workers’ commitment to social justice and the commitment expressed by several participants to work with Aboriginal people based on a shared history of cultural genocide.
Competency development based on best scientific knowledge, practice effectiveness, and the adoption of ethical standards has guided the development of social work training programs. For some instructors, the growing influence of the scientific perspective has significantly impacted this training to the detriment of postmodern educational approaches that would be more attuned to the core values of social work. The issues inherent to the profession do indeed influence how curricula are conceived, designed, and delivered. Some instructors employ pedagogical strategies supporting the development of their students’ self-knowledge in order to prepare them to make judicious use of the self in their practice. This article examines these emerging pedagogical practices focused on the development of self-knowledge and seeks to identify the pedagogical perspectives on which they are based. To do so, the article explores the various and sometimes contradictory philosophical conceptions of education that have shaped social work pedagogy and examines the leading pedagogical trends that have influenced this. Reflection is also initiated around the concepts of self and use of self in social work training.