Knowledge and Practice

Practices in child welfare and youth justice evolve over time. Frameworks supporting good practice need to be responsive to cultural imperatives, underpinned by strong ethical values and informed by quality research.  

Our Practice Frameworks

Practice is informed by multiple sources of knowledge. Our Practice frameworks, in care and protection, youth justice, adoptions and residences, provide a high level picture of Child, Youth and Family’s approach to social work practice. They are based on empirical research, ethical principles, natural justice and human rights, clarifying and reinforcing practice behaviours that support good outcomes for children and their families. Each framework identifies key practice perspectives and weaves them through the phases of the respective processes:

Care and protection

  • Key practice perspectives: child-centred; family-led and culturally responsive; and strengths and evidence-based.
  • Key phases: engagement and assessment; seeking solutions; and securing safety and belonging.

Youth justice

  • Key practice perspectives: justice and accountability focused, young person-focused; family-led and culturally responsive; and strengths and evidence-based.
  • Key phases: engagement and assessment; seeking solutions- the family group conference; and changing behaviour and enhancing wellbeing.

Adoptions

  • Key practice perspectives: child-centred; family and culturally responsive; and strengths and evidence-based.
  • Key phases: engagement and education; decision making and assessment; and belonging.

Residences

  • Key practice perspectives: young person-focused; family-led and culturally responsive; and strengths and evidence-based.
  • Key phases: engagement, assessment and planning; changing behaviour and supporting wellbeing; and reintegration. and preparing for the future.

The metaphor used to describe the interwoven nature of the framework is a kete – a basket of knowledge when woven together makes our practice strong.

FIGURE 2: THE NEW ZEALAND PRACTICE FRAMEWORK

In essence, the Practice Frameworks articulate ethically-informed practice that supports strong engagement with families, harnesses the strengths of the child’s extended family system, reinforces longer term safety and belonging for the child or young person and ensures a justice accountability within youth justice. It sets a standard for service delivery providing a high level vision of practice that the organisation wants to see across Child, Youth and Family.  

For more detailed discussion of the New Zealand Practice Framework see:

Connolly, M. (2007). Practice frameworks: Conceptual maps to guide interventions in child welfare. British Journal of Social Work, 37 (5) 825-837.

For a discussion of practice frameworks more broadly see:

Connolly, M. & Healy, K. (2009). Social work practice theories and frameworks. Chapter 2, pp. 19-36, in Social Work: Contexts and Practice (M. Connolly & L. Harms eds). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Our Practice Package: How we work with children and young people

Introduced on National Social Workers Day on 22 September 2010, Our Practice Package represents the next step in strengthening our practice and our focus on practice depth. It is a visual prompt that outlines the practice priorities when working with children and young people.

Our Practice Package provides some links to key information in the Practice Centre, and works on the basis of knowledge leading to action.

Our Practice Package also highlights developmental milestones of the children and young people we work with, and provides guidance on what social workers can do to engage with them.