Direct Work: Social work with children and young people in care

Direct Work: Social work with children and young people in care


Edited by Barry Luckock and Michelle Lefevre

British Association for Adopting and Fostering

ISBN 9781905664290

At the heart of this book is the idea of being child-centred to help young people make good decisions. It’s very easy to dip in and out as each chapter is self-contained and has a different focus, so you don’t feel you are hearing the same voice again and again. Themed sections build on each other.

One item of interest in these approaches is that they help to push some poignant facts to the front. One child says that the longest he has ever had the same social worker is a year. The authors urge managers to consider very carefully the effects of frequent changes on children.

Anxiety is a recurring theme and a positive picture is painted of how good social workers work slowly and carefully to encourage children to speak their own minds, even when those children have forgotten how to – or never knew.

There are lots of helpful tips on creating better listening skills. One social worker says: “Have the meeting at ten past eight in the morning over dippy eggs and orange juice.” I hope this is not taking place on a school day!

Good quality advocacy is always central. Various frameworks are suggested and imaginative ways of creating meaningful advocacy – using the same songs on the same car journeys to build up familiarity – provide the starting point for solutions that will be understood and accepted by the child.

Guidance on gathering resources and advice on gauging success all add to the positive suggestions in each section.

Review by Greer Nicholson, commissioning manager for transport and concessionary travel in the London Borough of Newham

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