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ERIC Number: EJ822948
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-1357-5279
"We Need to Talk": A Study of Working Relationships between Field Social Workers and Fostering Link Social Workers in Northern Ireland
Sheldon, John
Child Care in Practice, v10 n1 p20-38 Jan 2004
Foster care in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland has been in crisis throughout the past decade. This is most clearly demonstrated in the shortage of placements for children. The difficulty in recruiting new carers has taken a new significance for most agencies that struggle with more referrals than placements. As it becomes more difficult to recruit new carers, it becomes essential to retain existing carers.This research has focused on the working relationships between field workers and link workers and the role these relationships play in supporting carers. Previous research by the author (Sheldon, 2002) has indicated that carers wish to be treated with respect and as partners in a process of caring for children. It follows, therefore, that when social workers fail to work in this way carers become dissatisfied and this may lead to them ceasing to foster.The study was carried out via a postal questionnaire to all 80 field and link social workers within South and East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, and this was followed by a series of 13 face-to-face interviews, nine with field workers and four with link workers.The results of the research have indicated a mixed picture of practice within the Trust. Foster carers are unanimously held in high regard by social workers and the task they fulfil is highly valued. There are many examples of successful working practices between field and link workers, but there are also examples of little or no communication. Many field workers have little idea of the problems facing fostering at the moment and this can be frustrating for their link work colleagues. New social workers have little or no preparation for working with carers and there is confusion as to the nature of the working relationship with them.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Belfast)