Questioning the uncritical acceptance of neuroscience in child and family policy and practice: A review of challenges to the current doxa

In January I asked  in my post on RSW Blog  ‘Brains, biology and tests for future burdenhood

Who hasn’t seen the brains?

The luridly coloured images of two children’s brains, side by side. Presented as cast iron evidence of the impact of child neglect.  I remember exactly where I was when I first saw that image. The venue was a lecture theatre at my university (at least 10 years ago) and the presenter was a professional I knew and (still do) held in high regard. The emotional impact of seeing the two brains was considerable- the ‘normal’ brain of a child of a particular age contrasted with the apparently shrunken brain of a child who had suffered abuse and neglect.

And  the brains were to reappear with alarming regularity….. I heard a while ago that there are still social workers handing around pictures of those brains., presumably to frighten struggling parents.  Perhaps they still adorn the staff room walls in early childhood centres. Continue reading

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To post or not to post? Perceptions of the use of a closed Facebook group as a networked public space

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Writing on the wall-  a safe place for debate?

Neil Ballantyne, Simon Lowe, Liz Beddoe 

The expansion of social media is associated with rapid growth in digital spaces for civic engagement and deliberative democratic discussion.  Yet while these networked public spaces offer many possibilities for engagement and interaction, the technology also shapes social dynamics, raising questions about managing professional relationships and boundaries online.  The development of a closed Facebook for social workers in New Zealand provided an opportunity to explore their perceptions on the use of a shared social media space for information sharing, professional deliberation and debate about public issues: our findings highlight perceived benefits and pitfalls. Continue reading

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Engaging the social work profession in the transnational professional space.

Crossing Borders : Migrant Professionals

Allen Bartley, Liz Beddoe and Shajimon Peter

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This study is an Aotearoa New Zealand-wide participatory action research project involving all the significant stakeholders in the social work profession to develop an agreed-upon set of standards and expectations of context-specific professional and socio-cultural transitioning programmes for overseas-qualified social workers in New Zealand. This is the latest phase in our “Crossing Borders- Migrant Professionals study”. Our publications are listed here.

This project builds on growing national and international evidence that the increasing transnationalism of the social work profession has not been matched by a readiness of the profession’s key stakeholders to prepare adequately for the challenges of an increasingly transnational workforce.

The stakeholders involved in the project will include the professional bodies: ANZASW, the SWRB, the Tangata Whenua Social Workers Assocation, Tangata Whenua Voices, and also social work employers, specialist employment agencies and the Council for Social Work Education Aotearoa…

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Supervision in social work in Aotearoa New Zealand: Challenges in changing contexts

Liz Beddoe 

The major supervision journal The Clinical Supervisor has just started a new series, which will run over several years: Global developments in clinical supervision, see here for the Call for Papers.

The series, “Global Developments in Clinical Supervision,” will provide the opportunity to systematically document the current professional status of clinical supervision, as well as ongoing efforts to enhance the specialty, in a range of professions/disciplines around the world.

It is hoped the series will allow clinical supervision advocates an opportunity to share their work and learn from each others’ efforts; will encourage networking among practitioners, educators, supervisors-in-training, and researchers across disciplines and countries; and will stimulate research needed to further advance the specialty. As an ongoing series, these publications may serve as “baseline data” for future comparisons as well as a chronicle of the evolution of clinical supervision.

Continue reading

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Solidarity and support: Feminist memory work focus groups with working-class women studying social science degrees in Australia.

Dee Michell, Liz Beddoe, Heather Fraser and Michele Jarldorn 

We have just published a  new article reporting on our use of a two-phase, feminist memory work  study in a project conducted with 11 women, social science students at an Australian university. We begin by describing government-led attempts to widen participation in Australian universities because 10 of the 11 women who participated in our project were from non-traditional backgrounds. Continue reading

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Understanding decision-making variability in child welfare – a current research project

Emily Keddell and Ian Hyslop 

Decision-making across the spectrum of child welfare services is to say the least, complicated. Studies time and again find that decisions to refer to statutory services, to accept notifications, to substantiate them, and to proceed to formal care proceedings, can have significant outcome variations, even if the family circumstances or level of harm are fairly similar. While no two families are exactly the same, the levels of variation can be significant. This is a problem, as children’s right to protection, and family rights to retain children in their care, should both be enforced at a consistent level or threshold. Continue reading

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Where to social work in a brave new neoliberal Aotearoa?

Ian Hyslop 

Ian is a lecturer in Social Work in the School of Counselling , Human Services and Social Work  at the University of Auckland. Ian’s professional and research  interests are tied to a concern with the relationship between social work and social justice, locally and globally. He worked for twenty years as a social worker, supervisor, and practice manager in statutory child protection practice in Auckland, New Zealand. He has spent a great deal of time over the last  year thinking, writing and talking about the review of New Zealand’s child welfare services. Like most who practice, teach  and research in child welfare he acknowledges the role of risk identification, assessment, decision making, professional judgment in practice. Continue reading

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Comparing public perceptions of social work and social workers’ expectations of the public view

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Barbara Staniforth, Kesley Deane and Liz Beddoe

Barbara, Liz and Kesley are researchers in the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work, University of Auckland

In a previous article from this research project ‘Public perceptions of social work in New Zealand‘  Barbara Staniforth, Christa Fouche and Liz Beddoe wrote about a telephone survey carried out  in 2013 in which 386 members of the public in Aotearoa New Zealand were asked about their beliefs and impressions about social work and social workers. Study findings demonstrate that members of the public surveyed appeared relatively well informed about what social workers do, and were generally positive in their views.  Snippets of those findings include:

A majority of respondents indicated that they would encourage their children or a close family member to become a social worker. This, despite the fact that they were also aware of the high stress associated with the job, the low pay and the hard work that is required, as well as some uncertainty about what it actually is that social workers do.( Staniforth et al. 2014,p.58)

In a second online survey we asked New Zealand  social workers “How do social workers think that they are perceived by the public of Aotearoa New Zealand?” and a few additional questions. We had 403  responses  from social workers who were members of  the Aotearoa  New Zealand Association of Social Work. We asked them about their perceptions on how  social work and social workers are viewed by the public, using similar questions to the first public survey and a few additional questions, which we will be reporting on soon. These results have been  compared to the  previous telephone survey.

In a new article’ Comparing public perceptions of social work and social workers’ expectations of the public view‘  we note that the results demonstrate that the social workers generally had a poorer impression of what the public believed in most areas, compared to what the public had indicated in the prior study.

Social workers in this study sensed that there is stigma associated with social work and that they are not particularly well represented by the media. These results are consistent with many previous studies

Both studies note the  lack of positive messages that the public receive about social work. Both studies reported in this new  article suggest that one of the ways of improving the public perception is for social workers to become better at educating the public about their roles and mission.

We hope you will read both articles- free open access from the links below- and share your ideas about ways social workers can be more visible in the great work they do. Leave us a comment below.

References

Staniforth, B., Fouche , C. B., & Beddoe , L. (2014). Public perception of social work and social workers in New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 26(2/3), 48-60.

Staniforth, B., Deane, K., & Beddoe, L. (2016). Comparing public perceptions of social work and social workers’ expectations of the public view. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 28(1), 13-24. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol28iss1id112

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Challenges in professional supervision: Current themes and models for practice

Just published with Allyson Davys, our second book on professional supervision.

Book Cover

This is a new book with material we couldn’t cover enough in our first book. Please  click on this link for a video  Q and A  on the book on the JKP website:

 

Intro: Contemporary themes in professional supervision

Chapter 1: Supervision in context: Surveillance or support? Chapter 2: Starting with who we are: Culture, gender and belief in the supervision encounter. Chapter 3: The education of the reflective supervisor. Chapter 4: Practitioner wellbeing and the role of supervision. Chapter 5: Ethics and supervision.Chapter 6: Managing a supervision practice.

Chapter 7: Group supervision. Chapter 8: Interprofessional supervision. Chapter 9: Supervising for strengths. Chapter 10: Supervision of managers. Chapter 11: From difficult situations to courageous conversations. Chapter 12: Creativity in supervision: keeping supervision exciting and supervisors engaged.

Comments from our very kind reviewers:

“This book is written by the two people who know most about professional supervision: Liz Beddoe and Allyson Davys. What is most exciting is the critical analysis that they bring; they really understand the complexities in practice today, and in exploring the challenges in supervision, they challenge us to raise our game, so that there are better outcomes for those who use our services”. — Professor Viviene Cree, School of Social & Political Science, The University of Edinburgh

“The scope of this text is truly impressive. The authors are unflinching in their critical analysis of the urgent developmental challenges facing supervision in all the health professions today. Their scholarly and up-to-date knowledge of the professional literature and current research in the field, combined with their keen awareness of the hard realities of practice in diverse contexts, makes for invigorating reading”. — Jim Holloway, BACP Senior Accredited Supervisor, partner in Cambridge Supervision Training, co-author of Practical Supervision: How to Become a Supervisor for the Helping Professions

Available here and in Kindle from Amazon

Beddoe , L., & Davys, A. (2016). Challenges in professional supervision: Current themes and models for practice. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Authors of: Davys, A., & Beddoe , L. (2010). Best practice in professional supervision: A guide for the helping professions. London: Jessica Kingsley.

BOOK D&B

 

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