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Talking and Listening to Children project presents findings

10 November 2016


The Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) recently hosted an event presenting the key findings from their project, “Talking and Listening to Children: Understanding and Improving the Everyday Practices of Child and Family Social Workers”.

The event which was held in the Glamorgan Building Council Chambers on Monday 7 November, featured a keynote presentation by Professor Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, and was attended by over 60 social work practitioners, academics and students.

The Talking and Listening (TLC) project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), generated a substantive data set on how social workers communicate with children and young people. This extensive data set has been used to generate new insights into the challenges and complexities of social workers interactions with children and has been used to create a set of professional learning materials that are freely available on the TLC website.

These materials provide an ideal vehicle for generating research impact directly in practice and on policy to promote the safety and wellbeing of children. Furthermore, the materials aim to support social work practitioners, reflect upon how they work with children, and provide them with access to key research and further resources.

Professor Holland, who is also the former Director of CASCADE, commented on the positive impact the findings and resulting learning materials could have for children and social workers: "As the independent champion for children in Wales who is tasked with promoting and protecting children's human rights, it is good to see the results of this large research study that brings new understanding of how social workers carry out the task of communicating with vulnerable children in difficult circumstances."

"For social workers to make good decisions and to advocate strongly for a child's rights, they must understand that child's everyday experiences and world view. They can only do that if they have enabled the child or young person to express themselves and given them the information they need. I hope that the materials produced by the research team will help practitioners with that complex but vital role."

Professor Sally Holland Children's Commissioner for Wales

The project was a collaboration between four universities and has already resulted in two major publications, attracting additional ESRC impact funding in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, which is being used to develop the on-line materials and encouraging their use by practitioners.

Professor Mark Hadfield, who designed the reflective methodology used within the project commented: “The research carried out by the TLC project has begun to fill a major gap in our understanding of how social workers interact with children and young people. The research findings have highlighted the challenges and issues faced by social workers and the nature of the approaches and practices they have developed to overcome these.

"The TLC project has to be the start of a sustained research programme if we are going to support the social work profession develop this key area of practice.”

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