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What is the relationship between supervision and practice in child and family social work? An analysis of 12 case studies

Treby, Lucy 2022. What is the relationship between supervision and practice in child and family social work? An analysis of 12 case studies. DSW Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The home visit and supervision are fundamental practices of statutory social work with children and families, yet the interaction and influence of one on the other has seldom been researched, and never in Wales. This thesis attempts to lessen that gap. It used a case study approach in two Local Authorities to explore the influence of supervision on practice with children and families. The 12 case studies comprised 12 supervision observations, 12 interviews with seven supervisors who supervised 12 social workers who were all interviewed, and seven of their home visits observed. Data from all these sources were then reviewed using thematic analysis, which enabled the depth of data to be fully explored, generating themes related to the direct and indirect relationship of supervision to practice, but also highlighted the impact of organisational and societal influences on statutory child and families social work. All participants were aware of pervasive societal concerns of serious harm to the children they supported, which they shared, but were also acutely aware of risks to themselves as well. This resulted in a system dominated by anxiety and fear, with the response from organisations, supervisors and social workers being surveillance and proceduralisation. The dominance of process led supervision and practice enabled participants to feel that they were being effective, which they believed mitigated risk and therefore lessened their anxiety. This shared responsibility for the safety of children meant the job felt more manageable for all involved, and for some, families seemed to be helped. When considering the effectiveness of visits, supervision and the relationship between the two, this study concludes that practitioners, supervisors, policy makers, and researchers must consider the endurance of surveillance as a way that the system manages fear and anxiety.

Item Type: Thesis (DSW)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 May 2022
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2023 01:56

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