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Social work supervision in child and family services: developing a working theory of how and why it works

Wilkins, David ORCID: 2019. Social work supervision in child and family services: developing a working theory of how and why it works. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work 31 (3) , pp. 7-19. 10.11157/anzswj-vol31iss3id644

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INTRODUCTION: Does social work supervision work? Social work academics and others have argued repeatedly that we need to focus more attention on understanding whether and how supervision helps improve outcomes for people who use services. As things stand, we currently have little evidence either way—and although the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, this is far from an ideal situation. APPROACH: Taking inspiration from realist approaches to evaluation, this article sets out an initial working theory of social work supervision for child and family services, developed from an analysis of six significant reviews of the supervision literature. Each review was analysed to identify key contexts, mechanisms and outcomes for supervision. CONCLUSION: Notable gaps within the theory are identified in relation to workers, outcomes for children and families and how supervision can promote a rights-based approach. The article concludes by arguing that this working theory offers the basis for future evaluative studies of supervision.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
ISSN: 2463-4131
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 1 June 2019
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 17:18

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