• Social work and the two cultures: the art and science of practice

      Cornish, Sally (SAGE, 2016-05-19)
      - - Summary Recent explorations of the nature of contemporary social work, tending to differentiate managerial and techno-rational practices from ‘real’ relationship-based interventions, are suggestive of there being an art and a science of social work, echoing Snow’s argument in his ‘Two Cultures’ lecture of 1959 about the especially English tendency to damaging divisions in academia. The concept, and the dangers Snow identified, are revisited and applied to social work in this theoretical article, with the science of practice being located in evidence-informed approaches and its art in relationship-based work. - Findings Social work has long incorporated approaches which draw on the strengths of the humanities and science ‘cultures’ respectively, and recognises what each has to offer; it may also be considered to some extent as belonging to a ‘Third Culture’, along with other applied fields. Common to any culture, however, as applied within the profession, must be its ethical base. - Applications As Snow noted, polarity between art and science can lead to common ground being lost which in social work may ultimately disadvantage service users. The professional value base provides the basis for a ‘social work culture’ as long as this is not itself divided by unconstructive schisms.
    • A systematic review of parenting interventions used by social workers to support vulnerable children

      Vseteckova, Jitka; Boyle, Sally; Higgins, Martyn; Open University; University of Bedfordshire; London South Bank University (SAGE, 2021-11-09)
      This paper reports on the findings from a systematic review of parenting interventions used by social workers to support vulnerable children in the United Kingdom. The study focused on children from birth to 11 years and 11 months based on Munro's rationale for early intervention. From the 423 papers initially identified, twelve met the inclusion criteria for this review. Four common themes were identified: developing relationships, the effectiveness of parenting interventions, societal impact on families and health and psychological concerns. The importance of effective relationships between parents and social workers was identified as key to effective parental interventions but there was limited evidence of improved outcomes for children despite this. A common factor in the studies was the level of parental deprivation which in many cases was associated with a range of mental health issues frequently seen in association with drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. The review identified a number of successful outcomes across a range of parenting interventions. However, what was surprising was the limited input from the children themselves within this review. Applying our findings to practice, the authors recommend a number of ways to contribute to the development of parenting interventions.