Children, Spirituality and Religion - A Training Pack
Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work
Available from CCETSW mail order unit, Derbyshire House, St
Chad's Street, London WC1H 8AD
ISBN 1 857191668
One of the plus points of this pack is that it is so
comprehensive that everything appears to be in it (including an
evaluation of its own shortfalls).
A clear section on the legislative background, including UN
conventions and education law makes a good introduction. The
distinction between religion and spirituality is established firmly
at the beginning and is a continuing theme throughout.
Detailed attention and due focus is given to seven separate
religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism,
Rastafarianism, Sikhism) and the human spirit.
The descriptions, written by people of each faith, of religious
beliefs, rites, special days, family traditions and so on are
essential reading, especially as they are linked to social work
practice, for example, with children in care. They also highlight
areas that workers need to be aware of, such as dress codes.
Importantly, there is a clear message not to generalise but to
explore and fully assess each client's needs.
Social work practice is examined in relation to spirituality and
religion under various areas such as abuse or disability.
This could be used to help practitioners become more creative
and spiritual in their work as well as exploring their own beliefs,
faith and values: there's an excellent section on communication and
ideas for stories.
The difficulty with this pack is its depth - the concepts are
often difficult to grasp and more could have been done to make it
understandable and easier to use, and to adapt it to the needs of
the practitioners who would benefit most - such as workers in
residential care, fostering and adoption, bereavement and
However, the children's quotes, the training ideas, the
distinction between spirituality and religion and the way the
material has been linked with social work dilemmas and
anti-discriminatory practice make it a recommended, albeit
Caroline Dinsmore is staff development and training officer,
Barnardo's Yorkshire division.