As a social worker, engaging children and young people is a key skill. Understanding the lived experience of children is critical to intervene and support them. It takes imaginative and creative approaches to build trust and a relationship first. Here are some social work direct work tools that workers can use to help plan sessions and build those relationships.
Social work assessment is more than asking the child what they like to eat, what their favourite things are and giving them the “three houses” to complete. The best direct work enables the adults to understand the experiences of children, and what matters to them, their fears, their insecurities and what keeps them safe. It gives the adults an insight into what is behind behaviour, and what their place is in the family. It tells us what it is like to grow up in that family.
Good direct work needs to be planned ahead, and yet be flexible and child led. It also should be fun. The worker needs to be fun and engaging as well as empathetic and attentive, picking up cues and reflecting them back.
Here are some excellent resources to help this work. Click on the links below: