Implications of virtual social work : learning for a change  Jackie Rafferty [email_address] Human Services in the Network...
Outline of session <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on research published in 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>B...
Rafferty, J. & Waldman, J. (2006) Fit for Social Work Practice,  Journal of Technology for the Human Services,  The Hawort...
Human Services in the Network Society www.childline.org.uk
<ul><ul><li>Coping with the shift in power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Responding appropriately  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li...
<ul><ul><li>Not knowing identity and location  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing lack of case record </li></ul></ul><ul>...
Developing the discourse <ul><li>To date discourse related to the Internet and, in particular, child care practice, has fo...
Skills development agenda <ul><li>Would like your help in considering the skill challenges against the following four head...
Going forward <ul><li>Aim is to strengthen the network and to work to ensure the skills required for the virtual social wo...
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hsns09:Implications of virtual social work: learning for a change-Jackie Rafferty

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Jackie Rafferty, Director of Centre for Human Service Technology, University of Southampton.
http://www.chst.soton.ac.uk/

Connected Practice Symposium,Human Services in the Network Society,Changes, Challenges & Opportunities. The Institute for Advanced Studies, Glasgow 14-15 September 2009.
http://connectedpractice.iriss.org.uk/

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  • We have to look at more than &apos;skills&apos; if that is defined as &apos;technical or even communication skills&apos; we need to look at the ethical, privacy, change of context, change of practice, change of culture, nature of recording/ audit trails, supervision, etc when everything is kept digitally thru Web 2 and other media. So learning to be a virtual social worker could impact on all social work learning and practice - pre and post qualifying. I have only done some preliminary work on this and don&apos;t have a great deal to share - a paper that was done a couple of years ago jointly with Julia Waldman and I will use the findings from that. I want to use this opportunity to explore the parameters of the question with others who could / should be interested - may have done some previous thinking, know of current activity, research, etc. So Implications of virtual social work : learning for a change The technology is opening up new ways of working, and engaging, with individuals, families and communities. What are the implications for how future practitioners learn their craft? My intention in the next 40 minutes s to use your expertise to further build the picture of what needs to be considered, researched and acted upon.
  • Based on an evaluation of the first UK open-access online information, advice and social work support service available to young people (NSPCC) Paper argues that: The paper looked at the levels of coherence and dissonance between the education and training needs of practitioners working in a virtual environment and the focus of the requirements and learning and teaching approaches currently in use on social work programmes within education settings. Concluded that Social workers need to be able to operate effectively within a fast changing practice environment and societal context in which core communication modes are shifting to encompass increasing levels of virtual contact. there is a widening gap between this aspiration and the way ICT skills are currently conceptualised in social work education.
  • Initially set up as there4me and as a regional service based in Newcastle The NSPCC service joined with ChildLine – a telephone based support service and the web based service is now national. Though when I checked the website was not working properly on Friday. But has the same elements as the initial service that was evaluated with the addition of the telephone line. An email response service, Message boards Online chat with an adviser, Bulletin board, Information sheets on bullying, drinking, sex, etc. But it is not the website or the technologies that I want to focus on but the skills required by the social workers who respond to the websites users. The service has three teams of qualified and trainee social work staff located in different parts of the UK. Staff are available between 10am and 10pm Monday to Friday to service the site, including responding to the problem page letters but notably offering support to young people via one-to-one synchronous echat. Young people register and log-on using nicknames. No personal details are requested or recorded except age and gender, which affords complete confidentiality to the young person, but clearly also raises questions and uncertainties about the identities of users that cannot be resolved. Microsoft and the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (UK) [1] provided specialist support to ensure protected accessibility to both the young people using the site and the NSPCC as providers. Whilst some of these issues are relevant to telephone helpline work, the complete absence of any sensory connection with the young person appears to create both a sense of distance and intimacy. The advisers feel an intense duty to respond and to stay online. The service has no limits imposed on young people so there are a small but significant number who have a high level of use and some contacts last for many months, with young people using the service several times a week. www.childline.org.uk
  • Coping with the shift in power and control in the online relationship from the worker to the young person Responding appropriately to the often intense and fast levels of disclosure by young people about one or more highly sensitive and personal issues Coping with young people self-harming or expressing suicidal thoughts whist online Managing the sudden endings of conversations and not knowing what happens when contact ends
  • Not knowing identity and location Managing the lack of case information to use as context for dialogue with users Giving young people who use the service more than once a sense of continuity Building trust and expressing empathy and understanding without any of the body language, oral and visual clues Inadequate keyboard skills Developing definitions of good practice in the new context Huge implications for social work processes Finding different forms of supervision and feeling comfortable with levels of scrutiny of the work involved, which involves a word for word account of conversations
  • To date discourse related to the Internet and, in particular, child care practice, has focused largely upon privacy and paedophilia issues. This centres upon the dangers and public fears regarding the Internet rather than its potential positive benefits for opening up new possibilities for supporting and empowering service users. The immediate need is to move towards a deeper analysis of how e-practice differs from traditional social work practice and establish a strategy to begin to address the current deficit.
  • hsns09:Implications of virtual social work: learning for a change-Jackie Rafferty

    1. 1. Implications of virtual social work : learning for a change Jackie Rafferty [email_address] Human Services in the Network Society
    2. 2. Outline of session <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on research published in 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brief outline of findings of the research re skills required for virtual social work practice </li></ul><ul><li>Skills development agenda exercise </li></ul>Human Services in the Network Society
    3. 3. Rafferty, J. & Waldman, J. (2006) Fit for Social Work Practice, Journal of Technology for the Human Services, The Haworth Press, New York. Vol. 24(2/3) <ul><li>Based on an evaluation of the first UK open-access online information, advice and social work support service available to young people (NSPCC) </li></ul><ul><li>Paper argues that: </li></ul><ul><li>social workers need to be able to operate effectively within a fast changing practice environment and societal context in which core communication modes are shifting to encompass increasing levels of virtual contact. </li></ul><ul><li>there is a widening gap between this aspiration and the way ICT skills are currently conceptualised in social work education. </li></ul>Human Services in the Network Society
    4. 4. Human Services in the Network Society www.childline.org.uk
    5. 5. <ul><ul><li>Coping with the shift in power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Responding appropriately </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coping with young people self-harming or expressing suicidal thoughts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing endings </li></ul></ul>Research findings re challenges for social workers Human Services in the Network Society
    6. 6. <ul><ul><li>Not knowing identity and location </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing lack of case record </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing a sense of continuity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building trust and expressing empathy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inadequate keyboard skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing definitions of good practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for social work processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supervision </li></ul></ul>Human Services in the Network Society
    7. 7. Developing the discourse <ul><li>To date discourse related to the Internet and, in particular, child care practice, has focused largely upon privacy and paedophilia issues. </li></ul><ul><li>The immediate need is to move towards a deeper analysis of how e-practice differs from traditional social work practice and establish a strategy to begin to address the current deficit. </li></ul>Human Services in the Network Society
    8. 8. Skills development agenda <ul><li>Would like your help in considering the skill challenges against the following four headings: </li></ul><ul><li>Education/training </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul>Human Services in the Network Society
    9. 9. Going forward <ul><li>Aim is to strengthen the network and to work to ensure the skills required for the virtual social worker are embedded in education, training and practice </li></ul><ul><li>If you are willing to join such a network please let me know. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>Human Services in the Network Society
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