Roles and Responsibilities of Children’s Service Worker
1.5.1 Developing the Children’s Service Worker/Family Relationship
The Children’s Service Worker shall initiate the Family-Centered Services assessment process by attempting to establish rapport and convey that the Children’s Service Worker is there to help the family help itself.
The following may assist in this process:
- The Children’s Service Worker should facilitate getting-acquainted activities as he/she would when initiating any relationship. Formal introductions should not be overlooked. Parents should be referred to as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” unless permission is obtained for less formal interaction. Inquiries about the family’s daily schedule, and the most opportune times for home visits, will convey the importance of family cooperation and involvement in the success of the casework;
- The Children’s Service Worker should allow the family to express their feelings. Active listening by the Children’s Service Worker is the most appropriate response. This will encourage the family’s open expression of their feelings and beliefs and may offer insight into the family’s perception of the problem;
- The family may present a positive or negative first impression of itself that may not be genuinely descriptive. The family may attempt to discount the seriousness of the problems or convince the Children’s Service Worker that the presenting problems are due to the actions or inactions of someone else. In other instances the family may attempt to test the limits and competence of the Children’s Service Worker by being verbally hostile or with incessant complaints about the CA/N report and investigation process. After allowing reasonable ventilation, the Children’s Service Worker must attempt to focus the family upon the present and future;
- The concrete needs of the family should be considered as soon as possible. If the family is occupied with basic survival needs, other needs will not be a priority. Offering assistance in this area can help establish rapport and team building with the family;
- The casework process should be fully explained. The Children’s Service Worker should clarify his/her role and what expectations exist for the family. During the assessment the Children’s Service Worker shall describe the activities requiring family involvement and their purpose. The family will be informed that the Division expects involvement with the family to be time-limited and that the case will be closed when the family is meeting minimally acceptable community standards; and
- The Children’s Service Worker should observe family roles and which members are likely to participate more readily than others. Involving those with influence may lead others to more readily cooperate.