Journal Article

Beyond Assessment: Social Work Intervention in Family Court Enquiries

Greg Mantle, Isabel Williams, Jane Leslie, Sarah Parsons and Ray Shaffer

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 3, pages 431-443
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl346
Beyond Assessment: Social Work Intervention in Family Court Enquiries

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Most parents or carers who separate or divorce are able to make arrangements themselves about where their children will reside and how the children’s contact with the non-resident parent will be managed. A further group of parents or carers are able to come to agreement with the assistance of community- or court-based dispute resolution/ mediation services. There are times, however, when disputes cannot be resolved without recourse to the courts and, when this happens, the court will normally request that a welfare report be prepared by a CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) practitioner. While the boundary between assessment and intervention in social work is often less than clear, the commissioning of a court welfare report in family proceedings strongly suggests an assessment focus and appears to carry little expectation that the practitioner should intervene in order to meet the needs of the children or adults involved. This article presents recent research findings that illustrate ways in which CAFCASS practitioners do go beyond the assessment role expected of them in the course of the enquiries they undertake. Implications for policy and practice in this area of social work are then discussed.

Keywords: family court; social work assessment and intervention

Journal Article.  5421 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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