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1.4 A community resource centre in action

It is clear that the well-being of communities and the well-being of the individuals within them are intrinsically linked. The Orchard Centre is a community resource centre for people with mental health problems in Bonnyrigg in Midlothian, Scotland.

Figure 1

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1.3 Models of understanding in mental health

Because mental health is such a complex area, it is important that the models of understanding which are applied to it are broader than the ‘biomedical’ one alone, which focuses simply on professional activity and on diagnoses and treatment. The box below provides a quick summary of the biomedical model.

The biomedical model
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1.1 Introduction

Like many subjects, mental health is complex. This is partly because the language used in discussions about mental health is diverse, can mean different things to different people, and can sometimes be misleading. For example, the term ‘mental health’ is usually used in discussions about just the opposite: ‘mental illness’! There are, however, good reasons for the confusion surrounding its language. One reason is that decisions about what constitutes ‘mental he
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7.7 References for Extract 6

Barclay, R. (1982) Social Workers: Their Role and Tasks, London, NISW, Bedford Square Press.

De Long, P. and Berg, I.K. (2001) ‘Co-constructing Cooperation with Mandated Clients’, Social Work, 46(4), pp. 361–74.

Department of Health (DoH) (1998) Modernising Social Services, London, HMSO.

Harris, R. (1997) ‘Power’ in Davies, M. (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work, Oxford, Blackwell.

Hugman, R. (1991) Power in t
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7.6 Conclusion

This extract has emphasised the importance of becoming familiar with the framework of learning outcomes within which your progress would be assessed.

It is imperative for you to be an active learner and take responsibility for what you want and need to get out of your studies. You willl achieve this through reflection on the process of your practice learning experiences and feedback from those involved in assessing your progress.

7.5.1 The statement of expectations

A social work degree places an increased emphasis on service users' perspectives. This was first outlined in the White Paper Modernising Social Services (DoH, 1998) that introduced legislation to set up the new qualification along with the regulatory and registration mechanisms discussed above within the devolved nations of the UK. This emphasis on the perspectives of service users is illustrated through the results of extensive consultation exercises carried out with them, their carer
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7.4.1 Employers and employees

As a student on a professional social work qualification programme, you would need to sign up to the codes of practice as part of registration with your nation's care council. Codes of practice have been devised for all the nations of the UK. In principle they have much in common, providing a clear guide for all those who work in social care, social work or social services generally. They set out the standards of practice that both workers and their employers should meet. While there is much
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7.3 Key roles of social work

The internationally agreed key purpose is, as we have seen, a broad statement that is open to debate. It encapsulates a wide brief for social work. You may well want at this stage to focus in more detail on what it is you will need to do to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to become a qualified social worker in the UK. The key purpose of social work was used as a basis for the development of a number of roles for social workers in the UK and these form part of the overall frameworks used
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7.2 The key purpose of social work

The starting point for the development of these standards is the identification of the key purpose of social work, for which the international definition of social work has been adopted:

a profession which promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at t
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7.1 What must qualifying social workers do?

In a historical sense there has never really been widespread consensus about what it is that social workers should do. The last government enquiry in the 1980s (Barclay, 1982) had to be published with two dissenting minority reports. Consequently, the education and training of social workers has seen a changing backdrop of expectations. The new social work degree is firmly placed within a more detailed framework than has ever been available before. This has advantages and disadvantages. This
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6.2 References for Extract 5

Barnes, M. and Walker, A. (1996) ‘Consumerism versus Empowerment: a principled approach to the involvement of older service users’, Policy and Politics, 24 (4) pp. 375–93.

International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)  (2001) ‘International Definition of Social Work’. Available from: [accessed 11 January 2008].
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6.1 Empowerment and advocacy

Qualified social workers are expected to have the necessary skills to empower service users to participate in assessments and decision making and also to ensure that service users have access to advocacy services if they are unable to represent their own views. The requirement for these skills can be found in the key role ‘Support, representation and advocacy’. Both empowerment and advocacy are concerned with power and the ways in which it is distributed between people. Empowerment a
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5.7 References for Extract 4

Barn, R. (1999) Working with Black Children and Adolescents in Need, London, BAAF.

Butler-Sloss, E. (1988) Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland, London, HMSO.

Department of Health (2000) Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, London, Department of Health.

Gardner, R. (2003) Supporting Families: Child Protection in the Community, Chichester, John Wiley.

James, A. and Prout, A. (1997) Constructin
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5.6 Final words

While social work knowledge, skill and experience can make a difference to a family, the contexts in which we practise create the processes which, more than anything else, determine the life chances of us all. Whether social work always contributes to the solution of problems or sometimes actually adds to the problems that some families face is a debate which has existed as long as social work itself. On a more optimistic note, in the end, the vast majority of parents will want to do their be
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5.5 Parents and adult family carers

Much has been written around the concept of parenting capacity, which according to the Assessment Framework (DH, 2000) is one of the key dimensions of child welfare (along with developmental needs and the environment in which parenting takes place). The Department of Health sets out the following ‘Dimensions of Parenting Capacity’ which we summarise in Figure 4 below.

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5.4 Involving children

The other key person to be consulted is the child herself. Although Jade's ability or willingness to communicate may vary in different contexts, her understanding will remain and for most children this understanding is well in advance of what they are able to communicate verbally. This has important implications and Jade should therefore be included in conversations, even if she does not appear to be participating.

A greater understanding of ways in which to communicate effectively, eve
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5.3 Involving parents

Petrie (2003, p. 168) suggests that child development is a good topic of discussion when working in partnership with adults. Even if the significance of their child's development is not fully understood, adults are aware of how the child behaves and this helps them focus on the needs of the child. Gathering and sharing information with families also allows the recording of different perspectives. It could be, for example, that Jade's speech varies when she is with different people. Dawn has n
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5.2 The developmental needs of the child

The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (DH, 2000) emphasises the need for a thorough understanding of child development. There has been extensive and sometimes contradictory research into how children develop and the factors that influence their development. Aldgate (2004) outlines the development-ecological model for understanding child development, which recognises the importance of comprehending both the genetic and the ecological factors that influence dev
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3.1 Your life story

To begin our exploration of the four components of good practice we will be considering a very specific kind of knowledge, the kind of knowledge that for most of us remains private and is individual to each of us: our personal history or biography.

First of all, we invite you to think about the person whose life story you know best: yourself!

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