Background The direct work bags were distributed to 960 social workers across the 8 WLA boroughs. They contain a range of resources for different uses, and cover a wide range of ages. The bags have been used by social workers to undertake Story Stem work, Ecogram work and lots of drawing exercises - as well as forming a relationship with a child and giving them a partial distraction and reduce the intensity of difficult situations. It is hoped that the resource bags encourage social workers to interact more directly with children and to take more notice of how children play while they engage with the parents.
Rationale In drawing up proposals to reduce bureaucracy it became clear that most of the suggestions were designed to minimise the reasons for staying in the office, rather than making direct work more attractive i.e. push factors rather than pull factors. The purpose of the resource bags was to help social workers develop increased skill and confidence in direct work with families, particularly children. We provided team training and materials for direct work with children, giving a number of teams across boroughs a renewed enthusiasm for direct work. In the long term we would like to build in regular workshops introducing tools and techniques.
We recognised that Social Workers need direct work resources to perform all or one of the following functions:
1) provide a focus and dilute the intensity of the interaction for the child
Ruby and the Rubbish Bin
A Nifflenoo Called Nevermind
A Pea Called Mildred
Teenie Weenie in a Too Big World
Willy and the Wobbly House
The Day The Sea Went Out and Never Came Back
The Frog who Longed for the Moon to Smile
Magazines suitable for adolescents
(NME, Heat, Look)
Provides a distracting activity for young people while engaging with their social worker
WHSmith / News agent
Cost per set
(excluding cost of CD for teams)
Activity Idea – Island Pictures Drawing islands is a good way to engage with children and find out who they like to have close to them and why:
On a page draw 3 islands; one is where the child lives, one is joined by a gated bridge (potential visitors to the child’s island live here - the child has the key to the gate and controls who visits and when) the last island is further away and not joined to the child’s island.
Get the child to put what and who they want on their island (mum, sister, pet, favourite toys), and to decide who might be able to visit sometimes (putting those people on the visitors island). When will they be allowed on to the child’s island? Finally get the child to think about whom they want to put on the island far away and what might be in the water between the islands.
During this activity children can use colour and or pictures/collage and the worker can use open ended questions to find out what the positions, colours and pictures mean to the child.