The utilisation of family counselling by social workers in child and family welfare organisations

Pistor, Marissa (2019-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: significant number of children around the world are living in circumstances that necessitate the need for social service intervention by a social worker. In South Africa, thousands of children are found to be in need of care and protection every year by children’s courts, many who are then removed from their homes and families and placed in the alternative care system. It is traumatic for families to be broken up and causes a lot of trauma for children who have to be separated from their caregivers and move to a different environment. It is also traumatic for parents to lose their children from their care. The South African government prescribes that social workers render social services on the four levels of the Integrated Service Delivery Model (ISDM): prevention, early intervention, statutory intervention, and reunification. On each of these levels, there is a different role for a social worker to play and to support and help the family. According to literature, family counselling is an essential intervention in social work and can be utilised on the last three levels of the ISDM. Before a case gets to a statutory level, a social worker can utilise family counselling with a family in an attempt to preserve the family and prevent a child removal. South African policy and legislation prescribes for social workers to use family counselling for family preservation and support and places great emphasis on how efforts should be made to keep families together, and that the removal of children should always be the last option. On the statutory level the trauma experienced and adjustments during and after a removal can be dealt with in family counselling. On a reunification level, a social worker can utilise family counselling with a family to help bring about change in parents who want to have their child placed back with them after removal and to prepare the family and child emotionally for the reintegration. The goal of the study was to obtain social workers’ perspectives on the utilisation of family counselling in their services to families in child and family welfare organisations. A qualitative approach was utilised with an exploratory and descriptive design. A semi-structured interview schedule was used to collect data from nineteen social workers who render services at child and family welfare organisations in the Cape Metropole and surrounds. Some key findings of the study will follow. It was revealed that social workers often see families together and need to utilise family counselling with families for various reasons, often to support families, during home visits and office interviews on various levels of the ISDM, to help families work through conflict, and to address concerns in attempts to prevent the statutory removal of children, or place children back after removal. It was found that social workers face many challenges in their attempts to do family counselling with families. Three key factors identified by social workers are: high caseloads with excessive administrative tasks, a lack of manpower, and a lack of resources in the child and family welfare field. Even though it was found that the field of child and family welfare workers are understaffed and often do not have time to see a family for numerous sessions, a key finding of the study is that social workers have to see the family as a unit on a regular basis. Although they often do not have the time to see every family together on a regular basis for family counselling sessions, they need to have knowledge, skills and techniques in family counselling as some social workers have little knowledge of family counselling. Another finding was that not all the participants had sufficient knowledge of family counselling and confused family counselling with other methods of social work intervention such as family group conferencing and mediation. It is important for social workers to have adequate knowledge of family counselling to enable them to assess and support the family as a unit to render effective services. The ideal solutions for some of the challenges would be for the National Department of Social Development to employ more social workers to work in the field of child and family welfare, to lessen the caseloads and burden on the few social workers that are in the field, and to allocate more finances and resources to organisations for social workers to be able to perform their tasks more efficiently and with more support. Unfortunately, there is very little control over these prospects, and a recommendation is therefore made that for child and family welfare organisations to render services as effectively as possible they must equip their social workers with knowledge, skills and techniques in family counselling to be able to support families and bring about positive change. Another solution that is feasible is for the National Department of Social Development to review and reduce the number of administrative tasks that is required of social workers to make more time available for direct service delivery.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ’n Besonderse getal kinders regoor die wêreld verkeer in omstandighede wat daartoe lei dat maatskaplike intervensie deur maatskaplike werkers benodig word. Duisende kinders in Suid- Afrika word elke jaar as sorgbehoewend verklaar deur kinderhowe met die gevolg dat baie van hierdie kinders uit hul huise verwyder word en in alternatiewe sorg geplaas word. Dit is traumaties vir gesinne om geskei te word van mekaar en veroorsaak baie hartseer vir kinders wat van hul versorgers geskei en na ’n ander omgewing verskuif word. Dit is ook vir ouers traumaties om hul kinders uit hul sorg te verloor wanneer hulle verwyder word. Die Suid-Afrikaanse regering skryf voor dat maatskaplike werkers dienste op vier vlakke van die Geïntegreerde Diensleweringsmodel lewer, naamlik voorkoming, vroeë intervensie, statutêre intervensie, en gesinshereniging. Op elk van hierdie vlakke is daar verskillende rolle vir ’n maatskaplike werker om te vertolk en op verskeie wyses ’n gesin te ondersteun en te help. Volgens literatuur is gesinsberaad ’n noodsaaklike intervensiemetode in maatskaplike werk en kan dit op die vroeë intervensie, statutêre en gesinsherenigingsvlak toegepas word. Voor ’n geval egter die statutêre vlak bereik kan ’n maatskaplike werker gesinsberaad met ’n gesin doen om die gesin te probeer behou en ’n verwydering te voorkom. Op die statutêre vlak kan gesinsberaad nuttig wees vir die aanspreek van die trauma en aanpassings wat ervaar word as gevolg van die verwydering van ’n kind. Op die herenigingsvlak kan ’n maatskaplike werker gesinsberaad met ’n gesin doen om verandering by ouers te weeg te bring wat hul kind teruggeplaas wil hê na ’n verwydering, en om die gesin en kind emosioneel voor te berei vir die herintegrasie. Die doel van die studie was om maatskaplike werkers se menings te bekom oor die gebruik van gesinsberaad in dienslewering aan kinders en gesinne by kinder- en gesinsorg organisasies. ’n Kwalitatiewe benadering is gebruik met ’n eksplorerende en beskrywende ontwerp. ’n Semigestruktureerde onderhoudskedule is gebruik om die data van negentien maatskaplike werkers in te samel wat dienste by kinder- en gesinsorgorganisasies in die Kaapse Metropool en omliggende gebiede lewer. ’n Paar sleutelbevindinge van die studie volg. Dit het na vore gekom dat maatskaplike werkers gereeld gesinne saam sien en dat dit nodig is om gesinsberaad met gesinne te doen vir verskeie redes; dikwels om gesinne te ondersteun, tydens tuisbesoeke en kantooronderhoude op verskeie vlakke van die ISDM, om gesinne te help om deur konflik te werk, en om besorgdhede aan te spreek om die statutêre verwydering van kinders te voorkom, of om kinders na verwydering terug te plaas. Daar is gevind dat maatskaplike werkers verskeie uitdagings het wat dit moeilik maak om gesinsberaad met gesinne te doen. Drie sleutelfaktore wat gevind is, is hoë gevalleladings, oormatige administratiewe take, ’n tekort aan mannekrag, en ’n gebrek aan bronne in die kinder- en gesinsorgveld. Alhoewel daar ’n tekort aan maatskaplike werkers in hierdie veld is en maatskaplike werkers dikwels nie tyd het om gesinne vir ’n rits sessies te sien nie, is ’n sleutelbevinding van hierdie studie dat maatskaplike werkers wel gesinne op ’n gereelde basis as ’n eenheid saam sien. Alhoewel hulle nie altyd tyd het om elke gesin op ’n gereelde basis vir gesinsberaad saam te sien nie, het hulle steeds kennis, vaardighede, en tegnieke in gesinsberaad nodig, aangesien party maatskaplike werkers ’n gebrek aan kennis het daaroor. Nog ’n bevinding in die studie was dat party deelnemers nie genoegsame kennis oor gesinsberaad gehad het nie en dit met ander metodes van maatskaplike werk intervensie verwar het, naamlik groep-gesinskonferensies en mediasie. Dit is belangrik vir maatskaplike werkers om voldoende kennis van gesinsberaad te hê en om gesinne as ’n eenheid te kan assesseer en ondersteun om effektiewe dienste te lewer. Die ideale oplossings vir party van die uitdagings sal wees dat die Nasionale Departement van Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling meer maatskaplike werkers aanstel in die veld van kinder- en gesinsorg om die gevalleladings van maatskaplike werkers in die beroep te verminder, sowel as om meer fondse en bronne aan organisasies toe te ken sodat maatskaplike werkers hul take meer effektief en met meer ondersteuning kan uitvoer. Daar is ongelukkig baie min beheer oor die vooruitsigte rakende hierdie oplossings en ’n aanbeveling vir effektiewe dienslewering is dus vir kinder- en gesinsorgorganisasies om hul maatskaplike werkers met kennis, vaardighede, en tegnieke in gesinsberaad te bemagtig om gesinne te kan ondersteun en positiewe verandering aan te bring. Nog ’n realistiese opsie is vir die Nasionale Departement van Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling om die hoeveelheid administratiewe take wat van maatskaplike werkers verwag word te hersien en te verminder om meer tyd beskikbaar te stel vir direkte dienslewering.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107150
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