“The tip of the iceberg”: Multiple thresholds in schools’ detecting and reporting of child abuse and neglect

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Irene de Haan, Eileen Joy, Liz Beddoe and Sark Iam

School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work, University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Schools and school  principals in particular have a very important role to play in the detection and reporting of child abuse and neglect (CAN). How schools address concerns relating to CAN is an under-researched area in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our study, funded by the Faculty of Education and Social Work faculty research development fund has aimed to address that gap. We have recently published a new article from our three-phase qualitative research project involving school principals, school based social workers (Beddoe, 2017; Beddoe & de Haan,  2018; Beddoe, de Haan & Joy, 2018), and beginning teachers (in progress) about school responses to child abuse and neglect (CAN). A qualitative methodology was chosen to allow the researchers to explore and contextualize participants’ experience, comprehend experiences, contextualise meanings and produce ‘thick’ descriptions .  Our new article focuses on  how principals and school staff made determinations about CAN and what factors influenced those decisions. While this is a small study there is clearly work to be done to build relationships between parts of the child welfare system. School social workers have recognised these dynamics as potentially harmful  (Beddoe & de Haan, 2018)and were in general agreement that  improving cooperative efforts between schools and child protective services should be a priority.

METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with primary and intermediate (n=16) school principals. A selection of that data was examined with regard to threshold determination in CAN.

FINDINGS: Thresholds, both definitional and action-based, were found to be multi-determined, with case, teacher, and critically, perceptions of the child statutory agency found to have an impact.

IMPLICATIONS: Findings indicate there is no ‘one’ threshold in the detection of, or the reporting of CAN in schools. Further, there are clear opportunities for future research; including understanding the nature of the relationship between schools and the statutory child protection agency in New Zealand- Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children.

New article:  de Haan, I., Joy, E., Beddoe, L., & Iam, S. (2019). “The tip of the iceberg”: Multiple thresholds in schools’ detecting and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Children and Youth Services Review, 96, 278-285. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.10.034

Read article free until 29 January 2019. After that email me at e.beddoe@auckland.ac.nz for a copy. Read here

References

Beddoe, L. (2017). Managing identity in a host setting: School social workers’ strategies for better interprofessional work in New Zealand schools. Qualitative Social Work, 1473325017747961. doi:10.1177/1473325017747961 Abstract

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

de Haan, I., Joy, E., Beddoe, L., & Iam, S. (2019). “The tip of the iceberg”: Multiple thresholds in schools’ detecting and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Children and Youth Services Review, 96, 278-285. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.10.034

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Feeling Lucky: The Serendipitous Nature of Field Education

Kathryn Hay, Jane Maidment, Neil Ballantyne, Liz Beddoe and Shayne Walker

A timely 3-year multi-phase project ‘Enhancing readiness to practise’ is the first large study of social work education to be funded in Aotearoa New Zealand. The enhanceR2P research project is a collaboration between social work researchers from the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, the University of Auckland, Massey University, the University of Canterbury, and the University of Otago. Read more about the Enhancing Readiness to Practise project.

Part of our study involved focus groups with students and educators about their perception of readiness to practice at the end of their social work degree. Supervision  on placement was a constant issue in the interviews. Continue reading

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Social Work Education in Aotearoa New Zealand: Building a Profession

Social work in the Pacific nation Aotearoa New Zealand has developed within a unique cultural and socio-political context. An essentially western model of social work developed sixty years ago in a colonial state which imposed British education, policing, child welfare, criminal justice and mental health systems into to the lives of Māori people. Growing awareness of the negative impacts of those systems on Māori families and communities led to significant challenges to the social work profession, leading to conflict and continuing ambivalence about the emergent professionalisation project. Continue reading

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A call for papers : Supervision in social work

Supervision in social work: Supporting and developing practice from education to leadership

Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work- an open access journal. 

Editors:

Liz Beddoe, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Auckland, New Zealand- about Liz.

David Wilkins,  Senior Lecturer, Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales. about David.

We are seeking articles for a special issue on supervision across the career, from supervision of students, newly-qualified practitioners, experienced staff, and the often-neglected supervision of supervisors and managers.

Questions of interest to the editors include:

  • What is the role of supervisors in maintaining a focus on human rights and social justice in social work?
  • What is the role of supervisors in advocacy for safer working conditions for direct service practitioners?
  • What can research tell us about how supervision can improve outcomes for service users?
  • What support do first-line supervisors need in order to provide effective support for direct service practitioners?
  • Does one size fit all in supervision, do we need multiple practice models?
  • What might the future hold for supervision? Where to next?

We will consider submissions in three formats: full articles of 7000 words, research briefs, 3000 words, and shorter viewpoints or practice reflections of 2000 words. All articles are peer reviewed.

Important dates

Abstract submission – please submit a 150-200-word proposal outlining your topic, method (theoretical, quantitative, qualitative or mixed method), findings and conclusions.

Send abstract to  editors@anzasw.nz by 1 February 2019

Full articles due 5 April 2019 – please submit on line at https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/information/authors

Publication September 2019

 

 

 

 

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Readiness to practice social work in Aotearoa New Zealand: perceptions of students and educators

Liz Beddoe, Kathryn Hay, Jane Maidment, Neil Ballantyne and Shayne Walker

New research article

The readiness to practice of newly qualified social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand is a contested subject. In recent years, criticism by public figures including government ministers and the New Zealand government-appointed Children’s Commissioner have stimulated debate within the profession. Media critique of social work practice has highlighted many of the challenges faced by social workers. Significant policy developments, in particular a substantive government review of child protection services, have also increased the scrutiny of the capabilities of social workers.

A timely 3-year multi-phase project ‘Enhancing readiness to practise’ is the first large study of social work education to be funded in Aotearoa New Zealand. The enhanceR2P research project is a collaboration between social work researchers from the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, the University of Auckland, Massey University, the University of Canterbury, and the University of Otago. Read more about the study here.

Continue reading

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Using Facebook in social work assessment: An unethical practice or an effective tool in child protection?

Tarsem Singh Cooner  and Liz Beddoe 

Social media has redefined how we are able to keep in touch with family and friends, find people and relate to others. Research has shown that social workers have been using social media, both collectively and individually, as a way to ‘collapse borders’ between social workers and service users to gain another view of their lives through monitoring of Facebook pages. While it is known that such practices go on, no research has shown how Facebook is actually used in case work with families and under what circumstances. This short video has been created to stimulate debate about the ethical issues of social media use by social work professionals. The video draws on findings from an ESRC funded research project into child protection processes in England*.

Our presentation draws from an ethnographic study of child protection social work practice in England that involved 15 months of participant observation at two sites. The study observed incidences of Facebook being used by social workers as part of risk assessment and on-going case work with families. Sage and Sage (2016) observe, with reference to assessments, that there is a lack of research around how social networking sites are being used to inform social work practice. On the one hand they can be viewed as an acceptable tool for social workers with concerns about the truthfulness of service-user information. On the other, they are seen as an intrusion across the border into (semi) private spaces. These contentious positions: the surveillance of Facebook and the issues of consent and power underpinning this practice are both worthy of ethical exploration within the profession. Our paper, first given at SWSD 2018 in Dublin, reports how social workers provided researchers with a rationale for their use of Facebook and analyses the ethics of such practice in the context of the specific concerns in the cases and the broader issues of power and human rights.

*The research team: The project is “Organisations, staff support and the dynamics and quality of social work practice: A qualitative longitudinal study of child protection work” funded by Economic and Social Research Council.

Professor Harry Ferguson, University of Birmingham
Dr Tarsem Singh Cooner, University of Birmingham
Associate Professor Liz Beddoe, University of Auckland
Dr Jadwiga Leigh, University of Sheffield
Dr Tom Disney University of Northumbria
Dr Lisa Warwick, University of Birmingham

References in the presentation 

Clinton, B. K., Silverman, B. C., & Brendel, D. H. (2010). Patient-Targeted Googling: The Ethics of Searching Online for Patient Information. Harvard Review of Psychiatry 18(2), 103-112. doi:10.3109/10673221003683861

Kolmes, K., & Taube, D. O. (2014). Seeking and finding our clients on the Internet: Boundary considerations in cyberspace. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(1), 3-10.

Sage, T. E., & Sage, M. (2016). Social media use in child welfare practice. Advances in Social Work, 17(1), 93-112.

Sage, M., Wells, M., Sage, T., & Devlin, M. (2017). Supervisor and policy roles in social media use as a new technology in child welfare. Children and Youth Services Review, 78, 1-8.

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Research on school based social work in Aotearoa New Zealand- new publications

 Liz Beddoe and Irene de Haan

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

References

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

 

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Interprofessional supervision: a matter of difference

A new article by Allyson Davys

With its origins grounded in the apprenticeship tradition it is perhaps not surprising that social work adheres to a model of supervision where both supervisor and supervisee are social workers and where it is common for social workers to be supervised by their line manager. Interprofessional supervision, where the participants do not share the same profession, and which is frequently external to the social worker’s organisation, therefore presents a challenge to traditional social work supervision practice. Continue reading

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Evaluating social work supervision

A new article by Allyson Davys, Janet May, Beverly Burns, Michael O’Connell

The question of whether the practice of professional supervision is effective, and how its effectiveness can be measured, has been debated by both social work and other professions. This study explored how practitioners, supervisors and managers in Aotearoa New Zealand currently evaluate the supervision they receive, provide and/or resource.  The study had an interprofessional focus involving counsellors, mental health nurses, psychologists and social workers. This article focuses on the findings from the social work cohort data. Continue reading

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Critical conversations: Social workers’ perceptions of the use of a closed Facebook group as a participatory professional space.

 

cloud_shelf_icons_300_nwmDeb Stanfield 

The use of social media in our world today continues to excite and confound us; despite its significant presence in our everyday lives, we are still grappling with its true nature and coming to terms with its power and peculiarities. Social work is poised to develop a unique, critical understanding of social media on multiple levels – our international colleagues are theorising and generating research about how social media is used in practice, for professional development, social action, research and in the delivery of social work education.  Continue reading

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