Assessment within the social work domain an its helping procedurals are recognized by Milner and O'Byrne (2002) as aspects that happen to be ill-researched. Additionally they assert that it has a tendency to happen to be focused an excessive amount of individual's intra-psychic and social issues, instead of on structural or larger social settings of the individuals', families', or society's conditions. It has frequently brought to light the apolitical and at times baseless examinations and checks of social work structures that are either archaic or minimally used currently. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the parliamentary structure predominantly draws social work assessment like a detached phenomenon from the necessary intervention tactics implemented in social work practice. Many social work institutes and companies also follow this structure, in which a precise intake and assessment procedure happens centrally and the most urgent cases are then distributed amongst employees after a thorough exam and analysis. Some social work and healthcare service groups and companies concentrate only on assessment instead of service delivery or the necessary intercessions, for example the Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) located in Australia are particularly needed to handle comprehensive checks to find out the everyday demands of senior citizens as well as designing strategies for care packages in their own homes as opposed to in elderly homes or healthcare facilities. These assessment services undertake the responsibilities of the social gatekeeper for the reason that they see whether people satisfy the qualifications criteria for the delivery of social work services (Milner and O'Byrne, 2002).
Social Work Assessments -- a Therapeutic Solution
The fact of the matter is that if social work assessment and integration is conducted correctly, it can have effective therapeutic impacts of the social structure of a community. This concept -- that social work checks might have inherent, 'therapeutic' benefits -- beyond the aim of collecting relevant facts and information, on the way to the proper distribution and use of assets (in order to calculate the overall risks related to lower-calibre social life), isn't completely new. Smale et al. (1993) assert in their earlier study that the idea of exchange in assessment is a procedure whereby two-way communication happens; this further allows the perceptions of the customers and services or information provided to customers by the manufacturers and healthcare professionals becomes a relationship of mutual respect and understanding. Walker and Beckett have stated in their study that the assessment of social work and practices is 'more than an administrative task' (2003, p.4). The researchers further write that this perhaps the major reason why 'the distinction between assessment and intervention is unhelpful and has always restricted the vision and creativity of social work staff' (2003, p. 4). A vital repercussion in this case is that assessment ought to be an interactive procedure. However, as Milner and O'Byrne assert that even though this particular kind of assessment may be attractive and even necessary, an awareness of power differentials in the domain social services and work associations indicates the requirement for providing appropriate care before the assessment techniques is deemed as one that will provide positive influences (1998, pp. 27-28). The real question however remain if the final results of therapeutic implications, of social work final particularly, are actually achievable while using new framework; this needs to be clearly tackled in future researches (Miller and Corby, 2006).
Up to now, there's been a restricted quantity of investigation conducted into a particular aspect of social work i.e. The influences of social assessment on the lives of children and parents with the adoption of new social work assessment frameworks. There have been quite a few researches done recently that focused on social work assessment and practices in the lives of children and their parents but they were all completed before new social work assessment frameworks were implemented (Platt, 2001 Spratt, 2000, 2001 Spratt and Callan, 2004). All these researches came to the conclusion that social employees struggled in getting away the aspect of relevant child protection strategies in an unstable social structure that existed at the time. On the other hand, the findings of researches completed before the importance on the implementation of social work assessments (see Cleaver and Freeman, 1995), focusing on child and parent relations normally appreciated their connection with social work employees, that could potentially point towards a change in social work approach (Miller and Corby, 2006).
In recent times, two more researches were conducted with focus primarily on the implementation and integration of social work assessments in functional social work organizations. One such study was conducted by Corby and colleagues (2002a) where they investigated the perceptions of 34 teams of parents on the social work assessment structure, after evaluating them underneath the social work framework in a single area. The results of the study showed that the majority parents included in the sample were satisfied or had a positive outlook towards the overall procedurals of initial checks conducted in social work assessments. Furthermore, more than half of the sample of parents felt similarly about the core checks in the assessment procedures. In the study they used the advantage of focus groups to gather the perceptions of 40 different social work professionals as well who were involved with undertaking the regular and core checks in the assessment procedures. Every single professional was reported to be tolerant towards carrying out initial checks and had positive outlooks on it, though they did have more mixed perceptions about the core checks and procedurals, some did however believe that the entire assessment structure was more of an obstruction to dealing with families, yet others implementing it in difficult situations provided support of the possibilities for additional positive intervention through integration of social work assessments. Almost all the sample professionals elevated concerns about timeframes and the workforce advantages and assets (Garrett, 2003).
Probably the most comprehensive survey that has been conducted thus far on the integration and implementation of the new social work assessment framework continues to be that backed from the researches and reports published by the Department of Health (as cited in Cleaver and Walker, 2004). This research examined work completed in 24 British local authorities. The time span was a two-year period with a total of 866 initial assessments procedures followed by a total of 68 core checks. There was a set of the professionals involved in the checks procedures in this study who felt the social work assessment structure and procedure was more of a hindrance for the children and families and their overall level of participation as opposed to helpful (p. 86). On the other hand, there were also strong results from nearly 80% of the parents in the sample who gave extremely constructive attitudes towards the use of social work assessment procedures. Cleaver and Walker (2004) hence, after analyzing the mixed results from the sample, came to the conclusion that when it comes to including children and families, the brand new social work assessment framework is a success and must be implemented more frequently to determine most appropriate strategies.
None of those studies has focused primarily and solely on answering whether and, if social work assessments had actually helped children and parents overcome their difficulties, then in what sense did the social work assessment framework had 'therapeutic' potential (Garrett, 2003). Corby and colleagues (2002a) in their study chose to focus on this, applying data from among the studies previously conducted (Corby et al., 2002a) as well as provided supplementary supporting evidence in the research report depending on the facts and findings that they highlighted (Corby et al., 2002b). All of the relevant stats and facts presented were gathered with the help of semi-structured interviews. The sample size included a total of 34 teams of parents; all the parents were involved with both the initial assessment procedures as well as the core assessment procedures. However, it is important to note here that the majority of the data considered in the analysis and results sections of the study was limited to the 24 teams of parents involved with core checks. You will find also references towards the material acquired by the 40 social work professionals who were also included in the sample and gave their input via four different focus groups. The results showed substantial disparities within the reactions from the parents and the professionals. A portion of the sample was not aware of being part of a core social work assessment framework while others felt so adversely about the idea of resorting to the use of a social work intercession generally that they were not able to see any aspect of their contribution with social employees in a positive or constructive outlook. Numerous parents and children had personalities that were incompatible with the social work assessments and the social services procedures due to uncertain child protection principles and applications. Many also felt that the overall insufficiency of help provided by the social workers, as they saw it, with teenage children was a big factor…