Social Work

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This essay will look at the Smith family case study and a genogram to represent the family structure. Issues of children and families will be discussed, applying social policy and law in the framework of interventions used by social workers. The first part of this essay will identify the legal options available to Paul and the legal considerations taken into account by the court before making any decisions. The essay will look at the local authority’s general and specific duties towards the Smith’s family, consider professionals and agencies that could play a part in the social welfare of the family and show differences between powers and duties of the local authority with examples from case study. The second and largest part of the essay will outline how differing ideological perspectives could influence the assessment of the family’s needs and the provision of services. This essay will conclude revealing the common grounds of ideological differences over welfare (Baldock 2007 p80). Part A

As Paul contacts a solicitor, he will be advised to apply to the courts for parental responsibility (PR) under s.4(1)(b). PR is defined as all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property s.3(1) (Brammer 2007 p.217). S.4(1)(a) of the Children Act 1989 allows Paul to acquire parental responsibility even when he is not married to Joan due to children’s jointly registered birth certificates. Paul may apply for s.8(1) orders such as a ‘contact order’, he may also apply for a residence order under s.11(4) hence acquiring (PR) (Brammer 2007 p.220). Upon receiving Paul’s petition, the court’s paramount consideration will be the children’s welfare s.1(1) (Hardy 1997 p.225). The court will consider s.1(5) ‘no-order’ principle and s.1(2) ‘non-delay’ principle and all parts of s.1(3) of the welfare checklist before making any legal decisions (White et al 2007 p.39). The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned are also considered in light of his or her gillick competency (Brammer 2007 p.192). Hence the court will consider key legislation under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or the same principle under Children Act 1989 (Laird 2010 p233). The Local Authority (LA) has general duties with respect to children in need under s. 17(1)(a) of the Children Act 1989, to safeguard and promote their welfare, assessing and reviewing their needs (Fishwick 1996 p.61). Also as general duties towards the family the (LA) must promote wherever possible the children’s upbringing by their families s.17 (1)(b), and must provide services to a child in need such as accommodation under s.17(3) (White et al 2007 p.45). The (LA) may offer a range of services listed in schedule. 2 para 8 (a-e) such as advice, guidance and counselling, home help, help with travel to enable families to use services, arrangement for holidays under sched 2 para 8, placement in family centres under sched 2 para 9, day care provision under s.18, and accommodation under s.20(1) (Fishwick 1996 p.62-65). The (LA) can also provide occupational, cultural and recreational activities and in exceptional circumstances help with cash under s.17(6) (White et al 2007 p.45). A (LA) is not under any absolute duty to meet the assessed needs of children. However they must act reasonably as a total failure to meet an assessed need, absent rational justification is likely to be challenged. Professionals such as the health visitor who has already had contact with the family, social workers, teachers, GPs and youth workers are all helpful in gathering information necessary for assessment of children’s needs. The necessity to work together gained clear recognition in guidance such as Working Together to Safeguard Children (DoH, 1999e, 2006c) and No Secrets (DoH, 2000f). The Children Act 2004 develops partnerships between professionals and agencies further, with a view to improve children’s well being....
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