A qualitative study on casework supervision in handling suspected child abuse cases

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A qualitative study on casework supervision in handling suspected child abuse cases

 

Author: Chan, Sheuk-ting Seretta
Title: A qualitative study on casework supervision in handling suspected child abuse cases
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1998
Subject: Child welfare workers -- Supervision of -- China -- Hong Kong
Social case work with children -- China -- Hong Kong
Abused children -- Services for -- China -- Hong Kong
Child abuse -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: iv, 163, iv, 18 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1446536
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/1094
Abstract: In Hong Kong, the issue of child abuse has been capturing societal concern since the late 1970s. Cases involving child abuse, which result in physical and psychological harm and even death of children, become an important focal point in social welfare policies. The Government has been putting effort in child protection such as the refinement of legal provisions and the increase in social work manpower. Family caseworkers, in particular, are expected to render appropriate intervention in preventing the occurrence and recurrence of child abuse. Child protection is governed by a legal framework within which the caseworkers are required to execute their statutory duties and to work in accordance with the Handling Procedures of Child Abuse (1993). Often, caseworkers need to deal with the vulnerable victims and the family in collaboration with other disciplines. To ensure the well-being of the victim, the caseworkers should take immediate protective actions. However, the actions are often hindered by the parents' resistance and defensiveness. Such kind of work demands caseworkers on their professional input, but not all of them are competent to meet the job requirements. Given the demanding tasks and duties in child protection work, the casework supervisors need to share out caseworkers' difficulties, and to meet their needs on the job. This dissertation is an attempt to (1) identify the perceived needs and difficulties of family caseworkers in working with families involving incidents of suspected child abuse, and (2) understand how the existing supervisory practice in family service centres can help caseworkers to meet their needs and to resolve these difficulties. A qualitative study in form of in-depth interviews has been conducted to address these areas. Sixteen respondents, comprising equal number of caseworkers and supervisors from Social Welfare Department and two Non-governmental organizations, have been interviewed individually. The respondents have shared about the goal of child protection work, their major area of concern, roles of caseworkers and perception on the job requirements. The difficulties encountered by caseworkers in handling suspected child abuse have also been discussed in connection with the need for supervision. Moreover, the caseworkers have mentioned about their expectations on supervision, and the supervisors have stated the various means to help the caseworkers in resolving the difficulties. In reviewing the current arrangement of supervision sessions, it is found that caseworkers' expectations cannot be fully met, especially in the supportive aspects. As the supervision sessions are mainly focussed on case management, caseworkers' difficulties in working with the uncooperative parents and in dealing with the ethical dilemmas cannot be adequately tackled. Caseworkers are therefore bothered by their skills deficits in handling the clients, as well as their ambivalence and uncertainty in dilemma situations. In this connection, supervisors should recognize caseworkers' need for supervisory guidance and support which will then lessen their stresses and anxieties arising from child protection work.

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