Over the last two years we have been exploring schools’ responses to child abuse and neglect. In our earlier post we shared our initial findings about school social workers’ experiences.
We were interested in SWiS’s experiences working with teachers and principals in schools around the identification and response to child maltreatment. We also explored with participants their experiences of becoming a school based social worker, the strengths and challenges of the role. We reported some interesting recurring experiences that our participants shared. The major challenge we heard about was the complexity of relationships school social workers need to build and maintain in order to work effectively for children.(see Beddoe, 2017 for more).
We have now published two new articles which are now freely available in open access:
Addressing concerns about child maltreatment in schools: A brief research report on social work involvement in reporting processes
Liz Beddoe, Irene de Haan
INTRODUCTION: School-based social workers (SWiS) in Aotearoa New Zealand work alongside teachers and principals to improve child wellbeing. The SWiS experience in addressing concerns about possible child abuse and neglect (CAN) is under-researched.
METHOD: In the first phase of the project, the authors undertook semi-structured interviews with 20 SWiS to explore their experiences of how school professionals addressed CAN.
FINDINGS: Some considerable variation in making formal notifications of concerns to the statutory agency was found. In some schools SWiS made all the notifications, in others none, and in some schools the process was variable. Stigma associated with child abuse was reported as a factor in attitudes towards reporting. School-based social workers reported the need for better education and policy to guide schools to address CAN.
IMPLICATIONS: More joint education is needed to ensure a common knowledge base and better interprofessional work. There is potential for SWiS to support this work if better resourced.
Read full text here https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/article/view/421
If you could change two things’: Social workers in schools talk about what could improve schools’ responses to child abuse and neglect
Liz Beddoe, Irene de Haan, Eileen Joy
INTRODUCTION: Given recent legislative changes to the child welfare system in Aotearoa New Zealand, it was deemed timely to examine the challenges faced by school-based social workers and other school professionals in responding to child abuse and neglect (CAN).
METHOD: A qualitative study of school professionals’ responses to CAN included 20 semistructured interviews with school-based social workers. The participants were asked to describe two things that, from their perspective, would improve schools’ responses to CAN. This article reports on this aspect of the study.
FINDINGS: Four main themes were identified in social workers’ responses: the necessity for improved training for teachers on CAN; better support for teachers; a more holistic approach to child wellbeing; and enhanced understanding of child welfare.
IMPLICATIONS: These findings pose challenges to both initial teacher education and crossagency child protection. School social workers use their relationship skills and knowledge to act as bridges between teacher education, school leaders, teachers and the Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki and believe they can do more.
Read full text here https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/article/view/420
Beddoe, L., & de Haan, I. (2018). Addressing concerns about child maltreatment in schools: A brief research report on social work involvement in reporting processes. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 30(1), 58- 64. doi:10.11157/anzswj-vol30iss1id421
Beddoe, L., de Haan, I., & Joy, E. (2018). ‘If you could change two things’: Social workers in schools talk about what could improve schools’ responses to child abuse and neglect. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 30(1), 45-57. doi:10.11157/anzswj-vol30iss1id420
Beddoe, L. Managing identity in a host setting: School social workers’ strategies for better interprofessional work in New Zealand schools. Qualitative Social Work, 1473325017747961. Read abstract here