What is the relationship between worker skills and outcomes for families in child and family social work?
Whittaker, Charlotte E.
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AbstractCommunication skills are fundamental to social work, yet few studies have directly evaluated their impact. In this study, we explore the relationship between skills and outcomes in 127 families. An observation of practice was undertaken on the second or third meeting with a family. Practice quality was evaluated in relation to seven skills, which were grouped into three dimensions: relationship building, good authority and evocation of intrinsic motivation. Outcomes at approximately six months were parent-reported engagement (Working Alliance Inventory), Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS), an eleven-point family life satisfaction rating, the Family Environment Scale and General Health Questionnaire and service outcomes from agency records including children entering care. Relationship-building skills predicted parent-reported engagement, although good authority and evocation had stronger relationships with outcome measures. Where workers visited families more often, relationships between skills and outcomes were stronger, in part because workers had more involvement and in part because these families were more likely to have significant problems. The relationship between skills and outcomes was complicated, although the findings provide encouraging evidence that key social work skills have an influence on outcomes for families.
CitationForrester D, Westlake D, Killian M, Antonopoulou V, McCann M, Thurnham A, Thomas R, Waits C, Whittaker C, Hutchison D (2019) 'What is the relationship between worker skills and outcomes for families in child and family social work?', British Journal of Social Work, 49 (8), pp.2148-2167.
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
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