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About this book

This essential new textbook meets the challenges faced by those who work with children in order to provide safe and effective practice. It identifies the ways in which social work and psychology need to work together to achieve this. Misca and Unwin reflect on the need for 'research mindedness' in social work education, and offer an invaluable critical analysis of current knowledge of child and adolescent psychology theory and research to help inform best social work practice.

Whether a student on a qualifying course or an experienced practitioner, this is essential reading for social workers and psychologists working with children and adolescents.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1. The relevance of child and adolescent psychology to social work

Abstract
This chapter will introduce the rationale behind this book and how it is designed to help social workers and social work students to use psychological knowledge to best inform their interactions with children and families. The need for psychological knowledge in a social work culture, where targets and budgets have dominated for some years, is all the more crucial. Practical tasks, reflective points and case studies will be used throughout the book and all are taken from real-life examples designed to bring psychological theory and knowledge alive. The hypothetical caseload of an imaginary student social worker, Helen, will be used throughout to parallel the likely challenges found with present- day social worker caseloads.
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin

CHAPTER 2. Emotional development and attachment

Abstract
This chapter will introduce the topic of emotional development and attachment through childhood and adolescence, a critical area of knowledge for social workers which will be returned to in Chapter 5 of this book, where parenting issues are discussed. Attachment theory will be explored in depth as a framework for understanding emotional development. This highly influential theory in social work practice with children and families will be reviewed in light of recent research findings from longitudinal research studies on attachment, from infancy through adulthood and from cross-cultural perspectives. The emotional upheavals that characterize the lives of many children and young people in contact with social workers are such that the standard milestones of development may be attained at different rates and levels
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin

CHAPTER 3. Cognitive development

Abstract
This chapter will explore some of the key theoretical perspectives in cognitive development, including the recent developments on theory of mind and children’s understanding of the social world. These theoretical perspectives will be explored in relation to their application for practice. Social work holds to values of inclusivity and openness, and these values extend to a consideration at all times as to whether clients really understand what is happening in their lives and the assessments and plans social workers make around them. Formal settings such as reviews, case conferences and courts are intimidating for people not used to their protocols and familiarities, and involvement can often be tokenistic.
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin

CHAPTER 4. Social development: From childhood to adolescence

Abstract
This chapter will review contemporary theories on social development through childhood and adolescence, and their relevance for social work practice with young people. Major themes in adolescent development will be explored, such as peer and romantic relationships, identity formation (including ethnic and gender identity), the pressures of contemporary media and social networking. The particular relevance of these theories for working with adolescents living in substitute forms of parental care, such as foster care, will be examined in detail. The issues will also be explored from a cross-cultural perspective as applicable.
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin

CHAPTER 5. Parenting

Abstract
There is no single textbook to help parents bring up their children, despite a plethora of ‘how-to’ guides and internet blogs which can confuse the new parent, especially those that claim to hold all the answers. In reality, parenting is a mix of learned behaviour, social influence and instinct. When the state, in the form of social workers and other professionals, becomes involved, it is even more difficult to make decisions about acceptable or ‘good enough parenting’ (Cleaver et al. 1999, 2011; Caldwell & Taylor, 2017). This chapter will present a historical and theoretical view of parenting before going on to explore some of the psychological challenges in contemporary parenting.
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin

CHAPTER 6. Safeguarding children and young people

Abstract
Safeguarding children has become high on the political agenda, especially after a series of child tragedies, and all best advice is that professionals should work in preventative, holistic ways. The voice of the child should be the core consideration, with social workers encouraging family integration and involvement (Laming, 2009; Unwin & Hogg, 2012). However, the daily reality for social workers in safeguarding teams is that procedures, protocols and time limits tend to subjugate time spent with the child to the margins, little time and thought being available to get to know their psychological concerns
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin

CHAPTER 7. Understanding child and adolescent mental health

Abstract
The Mental Health Taskforce (NHS England, 2015) concluded that mental health services for young people had been undervalued, underfunded and underprioritized for far too long, and made a strong case for greater investment in mental health services. Wide-ranging evidence collected included a significant service user voice and the report highlighted the role of social inequalities in relation to usage rates of mental health services. The government response was to pledge further investment into services and undertook to work in partnership with young people and their organizations to bring about a much-needed transformation. The children and adolescents who will form part of social workers’ caseloads grow up with the same societal pressures as their mainstream peers, despite a tendency for society to pathologize children who are in
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin

CHAPTER 8. Conclusions

Abstract
This book has explored the critical, symbiotic nature of the relationship between the disciplines of social work and psychology and is designed to help practice. There are many textbooks which give much greater detail about psychology in its various manifestations and it is hoped that readers, inspired by the insights of this book, will delve deeper into such works. The need to share knowledge and insights between social work and psychology is essential and there is much that the disciplines of social work and psychology can learn from each other in respect of best practice with children, young people and their families.
Gabriela Misca, Peter Unwin
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