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Social Workers: Influence of the Ecological Approach on Social Practice

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Introduction 'Social workers have a professional and ethical responsibility to (...) interact and intervene with clients and their environments' (Teater, 2010, p.4). According to this premise, the ecological approach in social work interventions offers an effective method of relating children, young people and their families to their environment. It is an approach that allows social workers to intervene in cases where a child is abused or neglected, while providing a good theoretical framework for social workers' direct work. This essay is going to assess the ecological model within a social work practice directed at children. It will stress the importance of this model, and explain its application in today's child protection work. Firstly, the text will introduce the ecological approach by introducing its origins and a theoretical framework. Secondly, it will be described how social workers carry out an assessment within the given model, and how it is applied in practice in a direct work of practitioners. Finally, significant strengths and deficits of the approach will be contrasted in order to assess importance of the ecological perspective. 'It is (…) important to be aware that the abusiveness of any act cannot be understood except in context' (Beckett, 2007, p.16), and thus ecological approach allows social work practitioners to explore environmental and social causes of children’s maltreatment in an afford to consequently eliminate these. The ecological approach and its theoretical framework In a child protection work, formal knowledge is not only an understanding of the law, official regulations, and ways of practice, but also a theoretical view of 'child development, family dynamics and methods of intervention' (Munro, 20... ... middle of paper ... ...son, E. D. (2008). Dimensions of Human Behaviour: Person and Environment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Kirton, D. (2008). Child, Social Work, Policy and Practice. London: Sage. Kondrat, M. E. (2002). Actor-centered Social Work: Re-visioning ‘Persons-in-Environment’ Through a Critical Theory Lens. Social Work, 47, pp. 435–48. Munro, E. (2008). Effective Child Protection. London: Sage. Parker, J. and Bradley, G. (2003). Social Work Practice: Assessment, Planning, Intervention and Review. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. Teater, B. (2010). Applying Social Work Theories and Methods. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education. Turner, F. J. (1978). Psychosocial Therapy. New York: Free Press. United Nations (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child.[online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2014].