Social Work with Children and Families - SOCI9180

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Year 7 15 (7.5) Tracee Green checkmark-circle


The module will offer a specialist focus on social work with children and families. It will address the core principles underpinning the assessment of children in need (including children with disabilities) and their families and offer specialist knowledge and understanding about the legal framework within which social work in children's services is undertaken. The importance and nature of engaging and working in partnership with parents will be explored as will the nature and role of research and theory in informing interventions and outcomes sought. How social workers work with Looked After Children, including fostering and adoption issues and aftercare will also be addressed. Key messages from Inquiry reports, serious case reviews and government commissioned reports will be woven into the teaching as appropriate and the role of other professionals in child protection outlined. Effective models of multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working will be identified as will the relationships between child protection and family support; and outcomes, best practice and early intervention. The identification of child abuse and assessment of significant harm, including the assessment of risk, thresholds, child protection investigations, changing practice and policy trends, and the different ways in which children might be subject to neglect and abuse will be critically explored. Procedural intervention in child protection and safeguarding work will be outlined and the importance of developing critical analysis skills and effective professional judgement will be addressed in depth.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


Social Work MA (compulsory stage 2 module)

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay (3,000 words) – 70%*
Legal Problem Question (1,500 words) – 30%*
*These components are 'Pass compulsory' – students must pass BOTH the individual assessments in order to pass the module overall.

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Department for Education (2018). Working Together to Safeguard Children. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 6 December 2020].
Dickens, J. and Masson, J. (2016). The courts and child protection social work in England: Tail wags dog? British Journal of Social Work. 46(2), pp. 355-371.
Ferguson, H. (2017). How children become invisible in child protection work: Findings from research into day-to-day social work practice. British Journal of Social Work. 47(4), pp. 1007-1023
Ferguson, H. (2011). Child Protection Practice. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education.
Horwath, J. & Platt, D. (eds.) (2019) The Child's World: The Essential Guide to Assessing Vulnerable Children, Young People and their Families, 3rd Edn, London: Jessica Kingsley
Munro, E. (2019). Assessments to support young people making the transition from care to adulthood. In Horwath, J. & Platt, D. (eds) The Child's World 3rd Edn, London: Jessica Kingsley, pp. 557-572.
Munro, E. (2011). The Munro Review of Child Protection: Final Report - A Child-Centred System. Department for Education.
Reeves, J., Soutar, E., Green, S. and Crowther, T. (2018). Children and young people's vulnerabilities to grooming. [Online]. INTECH. Available from: [Accessed 24 January 2021]
Ruch, G. (2014) 'Helping Children is a Human Process': Researching the Challenges Social Workers Face in Communicating with Children, British Journal of Social Work, 44, 2045-2162
Tait, A. and Wosu, H. (2019). Securing Effective Communication with Children and Young People, in Horwath, J. and Platt, D. (eds.) The Child's World. London, Jessica Kingsley pp. 106-120.
Turnell, A. (2014). What is Signs of Safety? [Online] Signs of Safety. Available from: [Accessed 23 January 2021].
Wilkins, D., Shemmings, D and Pascoe, C. (2019). Child Abuse: An Evidence Base for Confident Practice. London; Open University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate an advanced understand the impact of injustice, socio economic factors, social inequalities and oppressive social relations on the lives of children and families;
8.2 Demonstrate an effective and critically reflective understanding of the range of roles and service settings in which children and families social workers are employed and how support is delivered across the continuum of social need, with a focus on outcomes, best practice and early intervention;
8.3 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the main legal and professional responsibilities of a social worker with children and families and the key systems and guidance in use;
8.4 Demonstrate a robust and conceptual understanding of child protection and safeguarding issues that enables learners to critically evaluate research and practice;
8.5 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of effective communication, engagement and intervention with children/young people including partnership working with parents and carers;
8.6 Apply ethical concepts of rights, responsibility, freedom, authority and power inherent in the practice of social workers as moral and statutory agents;
8.7 Demonstrate an advanced expertise and theoretical knowledge (including child development and attachment theories) maintaining a clear focus on a child centred approach;
8.8 Critically reflect on and explain the relationship between agency policies, legal requirements and professional responsibilities, the issues associated with working across professional boundaries and the factors and processes that facilitate effective inter disciplinary collaboration and partnership.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Synthesise and integrate complex knowledge, theoretical perspectives and evidence from different schools and disciplines of enquiry in order to construct an organised and coherent argument;
9.2 Gather and evaluate library and web-based resources (e-journals and other on-line resources) appropriate to postgraduate study, make critical judgments about their merits, and use materials to construct a developed argument


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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