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The role of social work education and training in supporting practitioners to communicate with children in an age-appropriate manner

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Abstract

This research examines Social Work Education and Training (SWET) in Ireland with regard to the acquisition of age-appropriate communication skills to engage with children. There is a wide range of research which maintains that play is the language of children and the most effective way to learn about children is through their play (Landreth, 2002; Goodyer, 2007). The potential use of play skills in social work practice is explored with participants to identify possible ways to optimise communication between children and social workers. A mixed-method approach was used to collect the data. This article describes a qualitative study which ascertains the experiences of a team of Child Protection and Welfare (CPW) social workers in relation to their training in this area. The quantitative study establishes the collective views of CPW practitioners (n=122). In addition, the views of principal social workers and social work educators are sought and they are referred to as Veteran Social Workers (VSW: n=25) throughout this article. Questionnaires with a qualitative component (additional comment section) were used to gain the views of practitioners, educators and managers in social work. The results highlight a deficit in SWET in relation to supporting social workers in this area. Managers in CPW social work feel this is the responsibility of the universities and the social work educators believe this is too specialised for a generic training programme and should be provided by CPW employers.

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APA

O’Reilly, L., & Dolan, P. (2017). The role of social work education and training in supporting practitioners to communicate with children in an age-appropriate manner. British Journal of Social Work, 47(8), 2438–2455. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcw171

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