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Social Work with Children, Young People & Families - SPY00129M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Jennifer McNally
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Module summary

This module is designed for students who intend to work as a social worker with children, young people and their families.  The broad aim is to support students to build up specialist knowledge in this domain of social work.  The specialist knowledge gained in this module will prepare students for future practice, including how their individual professional values inform their stance towards the approaches taken with children, young people and families in statutory social work.  The module will also enable students to explore in greater depth the range of social work practice with children, young people and families, so they feel able to make informed decisions about potential future pathways in social work. 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module builds upon students’ practice experience and learning in stage one of the programme, so that they are prepared and able to work in a range of situations and settings related to the specialist area of social work with children, young people and their families.  It provides an overview of a child and their family’s journey through social care, including: the problems that children, young people and families may present with; the range of issues that arise in assessment, planning and intervention when working with children, young people and their families (particularly in relation to safeguarding, fostering and adoption); the contrasting ways social work with children, young people and families can be conceptualised (relating to risk and rights frameworks); and policy and practice approaches to working with children, young people and their families (including communication skills with children and young people).  The module also gives students the opportunity to undertake an in-depth critical analysis of specialist models for assessment and intervention that are used in statutory social work in this area.  The module incorporates the perspectives of children, young people and parents/carers throughout, as well as contemporary practice and research both from the UK and internationally. The module aims to locate social work with children, young people and families within a critically informed theoretical framework. 

Relationship to the domains of the PCF:

This module aims to contribute to the ability of students to demonstrate that they have reached the qualifying level descriptors in all 9 of the domains of the PCF

Relationship to the KSS for child & family social work:

This module aims to prepare students for their first year in post-qualifying practice by contributing to their development across relevant aspects of the KSS.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will:

  • Have a critical appreciation of the difficulties and experiences that bring children, young people and families into contact with social services.
  • Conceptualise these difficulties and experiences, drawing on theory to inform their understanding.
  • Be aware of the different roles and specialisms for social workers in the field of children, young people and family social work.
  • Demonstrate a reflective awareness of the nature of anti-oppressive practice in this area of social work and the dynamics of partnership working with children, young people and their families.
  • Be able to place social work with children, young people and families within organisational and interagency contexts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current research both nationally and internationally in the field, and the ability to compare, evaluate and apply it.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the legal and policy context for social work with children, young people and their families.
  • Critically analyse specialist assessment and intervention models.
  • Reflect critically on their own practice with children, young people and their families

Academic and graduate skills

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Work effectively as part of a peer-supported learning community
  • Present information in a visually effective format to a specialist audience. 
  • Demonstrate their in depth knowledge of children, young people and families, and the relevance of their learning to their future career.
  • Understand the role of the KSS as a framework for post-qualifying practice in the statutory sector.

Module content

The module runs through the Autumn and Spring terms, and students will also be on placement throughout the majority of the module.  This means that the teaching for this module takes place in ‘recall days’ from placement. 


Task Length % of module mark
Departmental - aural assessment
Poster Presentation
N/A 40
Departmental - aural assessment
N/A 0
N/A 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Departmental - aural assessment
Poster Presentation
N/A 40
N/A 60

Module feedback

Students will receive support for the essay throughout the Autumn and Spring term and will receive marks and written feedback within 4 weeks of submission.  The formative presentations will have immediate verbal feedback from peers and staff.  The poster presentations will be discussed as part of the ‘conference’ session, and formal marks and feedback given within 4 weeks. 

Indicative reading

Bekeart, S. (2011) Hot topics in adolescent health : a practical manual for working with young people. London : Radcliffe Publishing.

Brown, K. (2015) Vulnerability and young people : care and social control in policy and practice. Bristol: Policy Press.

Calder, M. (2008). The carrot or the stick? Towards effective practice with involuntary clients in safeguarding children work. Lyme Regis : Russell House.

Curran, C., Harrison, R. and Mackinnon, D. (2013) Working with young people.  2nd ed. Los Angeles, California, SAGE.

Daniel, B., Wassell, S. and Gilligan, R. (2010). Child development for child care and protection workers.  (2nd ed.) London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Davies, M. (2012). Social work with children & families. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.

Ferguson, H. (2011). Child protection practice. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.

Forrester, D. and Harwin, J. (2011). Parents who misuse drugs and alcohol : effective interventions in social work and child protection. Oxford : Wiley-Blackwell.

Furlong, A. (2013) Youth studies : an introduction.  London : Routledge.

Hughes, L. and Owen, H. (2009). Good practice in safeguarding children : working effectively in child protection.  London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Jensen, J. (2014) The Oxford handbook of emerging adulthood. Oxford University Press.

Lefevre, M. (2010) Communicating with children and young people : making a difference.  Bristol : The Policy Press.

Lonne, B., Featherstone, B. and Gray, M. (2015). Working ethically in child protection. London : Routledge.

Mainstone, F. (2014). Mastering whole family assessment in social work: balancing the needs of children, adults and their families.  London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Rachel., T. (2010) Critical practice with children and young people / edited by Martin Robb and Rachel Thomson. Bristol :, Policy.

Radford, L. (2012) Rethinking children, violence and safeguarding.  London : Continuum.

Turney, D. (2012). Improving child and family assessments : turning research into practice. London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Ward, H. and Davies, C. (2011). Safeguarding children across services : messages from research.  London : Jessica Kingsley.

Warner, J. (2015). The emotional politics of social work and child protection. Bristol: Policy Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.