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Families and children: a strategy for social assessment


Background. The assessment is one of main competence of a social worker because it is the base of help relationship with particular attention to the client's participation and the evidence of the result. This contribute considers the result that comes from the experimentation of instruments for the social assessment with children and teenagers and their families. In the contemporary society the challenge, represented by the different ways of comparison inside the community, it is gathered through a research and an individualisation of strategies turned to the integration and the cohabitation of social groups, diversified by orientations, aspirations and behaviours. According to which every community interprets the relationships in the social and institutional life, taking into consideration the difficulties and the circles of poverty, the choices and the strategies that is able to put into effect seem traceable. The disciplinary field of the social work, not having elaborated, in the past in Italy, many instruments of standardized assessment meets the difficulty to compare more and more with systems of quality careful to appraise the results of the intervention today, also in relationship to the perception of the user/client. For this, we believe that in the implementation of the systems of assessment we can be meet some incompleteness, of the imperfections, of the partialities that involve some appeals of improvement. At the same time we can affirm, that the conceptual structure on which it is found, represents the base for the development of processes of knowledge that promote a specific semantic area.

 Purpose. This project considers the result that comes from the experimentation of instruments for the social assessment. After a course of formation about the social assessment for 55 social worker from social service, sanitary service and rest homes, 15 were involved in the construction of instruments for the social assessment. The questions were: According to which elements are based the assessment of the social worker? How can social workers recognise the vulnerability areas and the resources in the families? Can the dialogical schedule favour the relationship with user/client? Each social worker had to use/fill ten schedules for the assessment and ten dialogical schedules should have been completed with user/client/caregiver. Now we have 115 schedules and 65 dialogical schedules filled.

 Key findings. The application of a system of assessment in the professional relationship requires to the social worker to gather structured and accurate information, to read and understand the application, the perception of the uneasiness of the person, the formalities of development pursued by the intervention. The project has evidenced that it is possible to develop instruments that help the social worker in his assessment. This study has evidenced the importance to involve the families in the process of assessment, but it has also evidenced the resistance on behalf of the social worker to use specific instruments. Particularly such criticisms have been advanced toward the bureaucratization of the work, the control function that limits the action, the difficulties of application for particular situations that cannot adequately be measured by the fixed standards. In fact the research has gathered 115 schedules of assessment compiled by the social workers, while there are only 65 dialogical schedules compiled by the clients. We believe that this difference is due more to the implicit resistances of the professionals, that to the availability of the client, according to the information achieved results that only in a case a person has refused the compilation.

Another important point of this research is to collection of information concerning the vulnerability areas and the resource of the families. Through the exploration of the meaningful areas and the formulation of the involved dimensions, the used instruments has allowed to set in evidence as in the families with children there is resources and opportunity close to the needs. This result doesn't produce only any effects for the work on the case, but it assumes a meaning in the management of the system and the different actors that have to take some decisions reading the needs as motor of research. The research has pointed out that it is possible to develop instruments that help the social worker in his assessment, but it is absolutely important to continue the research to optimize and standardize the instruments for our professional work.

Key references

Campanini, A. a cura di (2006). La valutazione nel servizio sociale. Proposte e strumenti per la qualità dell'intervento, Roma: Carocci.

Canali, C., Maluccio, A.N., Vecchiato, T, a cura di (2005). La valutazione di outcome nei servizi per l'età evolutiva, Padova: Fondazione Zancan.

Crisp, B.R., Anderson, M.R., Orme, J., Lister, P.G. (2006). Assessments Frameworks: a critical reflection, British Journal of Social Work, trad.it. Cosa sono e come funzionano le griglie di assessment, Lavoro Sociale, vol.7, n.1, 2006, pp.21-34.

De Ambrogio, U., Bertotti, T., Merlini, F. (2007). L'assistente sociale e la valutazione. Esperienze e strumenti. Roma: Carocci.

Lorenz, W. Perspectives on Europea Social Work. From the Birth of the Nation State to the impact of Globalisation Budrich Publishers, Germany, 2006.

Milner, J., O'Byrne, P. (2005). L'assessment nei servizi sociali. La valutazione iniziale negli interventi di aiuto e controllo. Trento: Erickson.

Neve, E. (2006). L'identità dell'assistente sociale oggi: aspetti teorici e aspetti operative. Studi Zancan: 4, pp.18-30.

Contacts: Carmen Prizzon, Azienda ULSS n.7 Pieve di Soligo, Servizio per l'Età Evolutiva, via Einaudi 124, Conegliano (TV) E-mail: Italy, carmen.prizzon@ulss7.it, Phone 0039 0438 662955 Cell. 347 1917367.

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