Social workers in multidisciplinary teams: issues and dilemmas for professional practice
ABSTRACT This paper draws on the findings of a project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK, examining how child and family multidisciplinary teams learn and work together. It outlines the approach taken by the research team before going on to explore New Labour policy around ‘joined-up thinking’. The paper focuses on the role of social workers in the teams and uses qualitative data to explore the experience of social workers in relation to four key issues: models of professional practice, status and power, confidentiality and information sharing, and relations with external agencies. We argue that these are complex and contested issues that are challenging for the workers concerned. We conclude that whilst joined-up working is complex and demanding, social work is well situated to meet the challenge, and that social workers in multidisciplinary teams are committed to making them work.
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ABSTRACT: For families with a disabled child, the usual challenges of family life can be further complicated by the need to access a wide range of services provided by a plethora of professionals and agencies. Key working aims to support children and their families in navigating these complexities ensuring easy access to relevant, high quality, and coordinated care. The aim of this paper is to explore the key worker role in relation to "being a key worker" and "having a key worker". The data within this paper draw on a larger evaluation study of the Blackpool Early Support Pilot Programme. The qualitative study used an appreciative and narrative approach and utilised mixed methods (interviews, surveys and a nominal group workshop). Data were collected from 43 participants (parents, key workers, and other stakeholders). All stakeholders who had been involved with the service were invited to participate. In the paper we present and discuss the ways in which key working made a difference to the lives of children and their families. We also consider how key working transformed the perspectives of the key workers creating a deeper and richer understanding of family lives and the ways in which other disciplines and agencies worked. Key working contributed to the shift to a much more family-centred approach, and enhanced communication and information sharing between professionals and agencies improved. This resulted in families feeling more informed. Key workers acted in an entrepreneurial fashion, forging new relationships with families and between families and other stakeholders. Parents of young disabled children and their service providers benefited from key working. Much of the benefit accrued came from strong, relational, and social-professional networking which facilitated the embedding of new ways of working into everyday practice. Using an appreciative inquiry approach provided an effective and relevant way of engaging with parents, professionals, and other stakeholders to explore what was working well with key working within an Early Support Pilot Programme.Nursing research and practice. 01/2011; 2011:397258.
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ABSTRACT: This article reports on research into the relationships that a group of case managers formed with local service providers in order to deliver integrated, "joined-up" services to young people experiencing homelessness and unemployment in the state of Victoria, Australia. Using a two-part customized survey tool, we explored the number and nature of relationships with other agencies. Two focus group discussions contributed to the interpretation of the survey findings. We found that these case managers maintained many relationships, mostly with housing and employment service providers. These relationships were predominantly cooperative in nature, and most could not easily be characterized as collaborative. Our research supports the view that, in an increasingly complex social service system, other forms of cooperation are usually appropriate for achieving the types of interorganizational relationships that are important to assist shared clients. Furthermore, this research supports the notion of a relationship continuum, finding that ratings of relationship elements were positively correlated with relationship type. This research indicates the importance of considering the pragmatic, contextual and situated practices that comprise interagency relationships, their fitness for purpose and the importance of cooperation for effective service provision.Journal of Interprofessional Care 12/2011; 26(2):141-9. · 1.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Juvenile delinquency with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders has become an increasing problem within the United States. In part this can be attributed to the excessive number of delinquent youth entering the juvenile justice system with untreated substance abuse and/or mental health disorders. In an effort to combat this problem, interagency collaborations have been formed to provide more effective treatment services. One such interagency collaboration is the JETS Program. This study identifies the strengths and limitations of establishing an interagency collaboration within the first year of a juvenile treatment court's inception.Juvenile and Family Court Journal 08/2012; 63(3):21-35. · 0.10 Impact Factor