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MSWPG7107 Social Work Practice With Children Young People And Families

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MSWPG7107 Social Work Practice With Children Young People And Families

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MSWPG7107 Social Work Practice With Children Young People And Families

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Course Code: MSWPG7107
University: Federation University is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia


This task assesses the students’ capacity to demonstrate an understanding of life course development and ecological systems as key theoretical frameworks underpinning social work with children, young people and families.
Task specification:
Read the ‘Askin family’ case study and consider the presenting issue ‘Justin’s behavior’. Drawing from literature on life course and ecological systems theories, discuss:

Factors that may be negatively impacting on Justin’s well-being
Strengths, resources and protective factors of the Askin family
Possible approaches to facilitating greater wellbeing and person:environment fit for Justin


According to Scott, Arney and Vimpani (2010), child development depends on the ability of the family to maintain well-being and safe environment through acknowledging how psychological, biological and social factors influence their development. Therefore, it is crucial that during parenting the parents should understand that for positive child development the parent must be able to meet the child’s need consistently and effectively (Scott et al., 2010). Furthermore, for proper caregiving, the parents must be perceptive, responsive and flexible in that they are available whenever their kids need them. It is also important for the parents to understand their family theory which forms the main concept when undertaking family therapy. From the case study, Justin acts as the centre of concern from his mother (Gill) sister (Hannah) and father (Fred) due to his aggressive behaviour. Justin’s grandmother admits that Justin had a hard early childhood because her mother was not around since she had begun her teaching career. In spite of that, Justin says that he got mad at his mum because she prevented him from seeing his dad after they separated. It is also notable that the Askin family faces various challenges from Justin’s other siblings (Philip and Hannah) regarding their health though they seem to be adapting steadily. There is also various systems theory that should get noted for their contribution to the wellbeing of an individual and various social work interventions that provide an improved and fit social environment.
Factors Negatively Impact on Justin’s Well-being


As Stated by Healy (2014), there is various ecological perspective which is important in different contexts in a child’s wellbeing and development. These four different ecosystems that influence the wellbeing of a child include microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems and macrosystems. According to Scott et al. (2010), the microsystems help in the child’s development in that it is the immediate neighbourhood in which the child got surrounded. The social worker may use microsystem to help Justin strengthen his relationship with his family and his extended family. Also, the system would help the social worker to address the cause of Justin’s aggressiveness (Healy, 2014). From the case study, it is notable that the immediate neighbourhood that Justin get surrounded with was not her mother and dad which made his childhood difficult. Thus, Justin was placed under childcare at an early age though Betty (Justin’s grandmother) sometimes helped in taking care of Justin. Betty also says that Justin used to cry a lot when his mother (Gill) used to leave him with his grandmother or at child care. According to Healy (2014), the main purpose why microsystem is important to the child’s early development was because it helps the child create a good relationship with people in their real life. Justin did not have a chance of having a good relationship with her mum because she was not around since she had begun her teaching career and the situation got worse when his mum separated from his father. Gill denied Justin the chance to see his father as often as he could she felt hurt by the man (Fred) she loved and who made her sacrifice her career so they may have a family.
Teater (2014) states that it is important for the social worker to consider how the physical and social environmental aspects affect and impact on the behaviour and wellbeing of the child because they influence values of individuals in the society. Hence, the social environment that Justin grew up in his early age did not give him a chance to have a proper social and physical environment which affected his interdependence network principle. Justin never had a positive relationship (interdependence network) with his grandmother which seemed not to impact positively on his behaviour and attitude, thus, his aggressive nature (Teater, 2014). Also, Justin’s parents lacked the proper means of interacting and improving their relationship with their son. From the case study, Gill admits that they tried all manners of disciplinary actions to ensure that their son was back on track though they failed. She states that Fred used to smack Justin occasionally which did not improve his behaviour or their relationship with him. The parents also tried rewarding him when he behaved well though it also did not have a positive input in his behaviour and attitude. In spite of that, the other ecological perspective principle that may have affected Justin was non-linear which influenced the relationship between Justin and his childhood environment. Justin’s childhood environment was the childcare which had a negative impact on his wellbeing because he always cried when his mum left him there.


  According to Scott et al. (2010), the mesosystem is another ecological system that focuses on the interrelationship between two or more systems and how they help promote educational pathways. Smith, Faulk and Sizer (2016) states, “The findings of confirmatory factor and path analyses demonstrate that personal relationships and linkages to important community resources including recreational, school, faith-based, extended-family, and work-related sources, are related not only to better family functioning but also to positive peer relations and indirectly to youth self-reliance” (p. 318). Thus, the mesosystem helps the social worker to access the challenges that may prevent the child from going to school (Teater, 2014). From the case study, Justin admits to the social worker that he hates school because the teachers think that he is a bully. However, Justin says that he gets teased to by other students who say he is big and dumb which creates the aggressive nature in him.
Also, it is worth noting that due to the teasing that Justin experiences from another student he developed a “Don’t care” attitude which contributed to his aggressive nature. He says that he goes to school because he has no option but he is hopeful that one day he may not have to go. According to Roundy (n.d), mesosystems consists of the various interactions that a person may have with their microsystems. For instance, Justin’s parents had a good relationship with his teacher though it was still difficult to understand what caused his aggressive behaviour. The teacher confirms that Gill and Fred are very cooperative though they lack the required skill and knowledge in managing Justin. It, in turn, affects Justin in that they are unable to help him achieve great grades in school and improve his reading. In spite of that, they are unable to manage Justin because he had been suspended twice for hitting and bullying other children. Another factor that affects Justin is that he was unable to concentrate in class because he thought about footy, movies and TV shows that his dad takes him when he should be doing his class work. The lack of concentration in his class work contributed to his poor performance in class.


According to Roundy (n.d), another ecological perspective is the exosystem which involves factors that affect the child’s wellbeing without them being involved directly in the decision-making process. From the case study, Justin says that he hates his mum because she (Gill) prevented him from seeing his father often. It means that Justin was not actively involved in the separation of his parents though he got affected by their separation indirectly. It contributes to his aggressive behaviour because he tells the social worker that he is mad that his family is no longer together and feels that Susie is the cause of their parent’s separation. Cabrera, Fitzgerald, Bradley and Roggman (2014) state, “Based on new evidence, our expanded model incorporates more dynamic reciprocity, temporal factors, and nuanced considerations of context in which fathers parent. We identify aspects of context as well as fathers’ personality and behaviour that are central to the next generation of studies on fathers” (p. 336). Therefore, Fred attitude towards his ex-wife (Gill) plays a crucial role in the behaviour of Justin indirectly because Fred seems not to care much about the heartbreak he caused Gill which may have resulted in the “Don’t care” attitude Justin has in school.


Healy (2014) states that macrosystems mark as the cultural foundation of the society because they influence the religion and peace of the child’s wellbeing. From the case study, it is notable that Gill (Justin, Philip and Hannah’s mother) is from a church-going family while Fred (Justin, Philip and Hannah’s father) is family that had no active involvement in the church. However, Gill and Fred’s parenting skills were almost identical as they acquired them from their parents. Gill says that she attends church weekly and both Hannah and Philip attend Sunday school though Justin had refused to attend church over the past year. The lack of a cultural background that could help improve Justin’s behaviour is not available which makes him more aggressive as evident in the past six months. Therefore, family wellbeing provides a good foundation for proper child wellbeing and positive parenting which Justin seemed to lack (Newland, 2015). It is important for the social worker to understand that if a child does not get proper wellbeing development from his or her family and school, then the cultural part would help. Culpepper and Killion (2016) certify the claims that macrosystems influence the child’s values and cultural patterns especially the child’s beliefs and ideas.
Strength Factors of the Askin Family
Healy (2014) states, “A key strength of systems perspectives is that they provide a framework for understanding and responding to people in their environments” (p. 132). Therefore, the ecological systems enable the social worker to makes a proper assessment of an individual or community level which promotes understanding and suitable and reliable systematic changes (Healy, 2014). From the case study, the social worker can rate the anger, trust and worry level of the individuals in the Askin family. The assessment would enable in strengthening further the relationship of each in Askin family because everyone was honest about how they feel and want. The case study gives a good understanding of the cause of Justin’s aggressive attitude which has had his family worried which give the Askin family a proper opportunity for improving his wellbeing.
Furthermore, the ecological system helps the social worker to respect the different contributions that the various systems play and impact on the child’s development.  Gill states that the strengths of the Askin family are that they bring up children that are morally upright and obedient to their parents and respect them. Furthermore, Gill said that her parents and sisters were actively involved in church because they attended the church weekly. Also, they believed that Fred leaving her betrayed the vows they had made in church when they got married. Therefore, it is notable that Askin was a strong cultural family that believed in families holding up together which would provide their kids with the best chance of proper upbringing. In spite of that, the family is close an in contact communication which helps the family improve and strengthen their family ties. In the case study, Gill confirms that she is close to Betty (her mum) and sister (Sarah) and they are always in constant communication and also Sarah’s family does things together with the Askin family. Furthermore, Fred spends time with his son, and he helped Justin with his administration in a football club.
Resources and Protective Factors of the Askin Family
From the case study, Gill and her children still live in their family home which is relatively comfortable and located in the town. The house acts as an important resource that Gill does not want to lose the property. It is worth noting that Gill feels a bit distressed about the issue because Fred and Susie (Fred’s new companion) would like Gill to buy them out of the house which she cannot pay they their share of the house’ worth. Furthermore, the Askin is protective in that Gill does not want to socialise much apart from connecting to church, and her family because she lost trust in relationships thus protecting her family from further heartbreak. In spite of that, Gill became protective over her son Justin when she did not want him associating with his father who had broken her heart.
Possible Approaches Facilitating Greater Wellbeing and Environment for Justin
From the case study, the social worker identified some of the causes that have had a negative impact on the Justin leading to his aggressive behaviour. The social worker can help Justin improve on his aggressive behaviour by advising Gill to spend some more time with him which will help in improving his relationship. Moreover, the social worker may advise Gill and Fred to talk to the teacher regarding the teasing that Justin faces from other students which will improve his attitude towards other students. Also, this will enable him to pay attention in class more which will help him achieve better grades through formal and informal learning (Swist, Collin, McCormack and Third, 2015).
This article evaluates the various challenges that Justin faces and how they negatively affect and influence his behaviour. Moreover, the article addresses the different types of ecological perspective that influence the aggressive attitude that Justin has and how they play an important role in a potential improvement in his behaviour. In spite of that, the article explains the various strengths and resources that the Askin family and also how their cultural practices have influenced the behaviour of Justin. Also, the article evaluates the necessary changes that require to get made to make sure that Justin wellbeing improves.
Cabrera, N. J., Fitzgerald, H. E., Bradley, R. H., & Roggman, L. (2014). The ecology of father?child relationships: An expanded model. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 6(4), 336-354.
Culpepper, D., & Killion, L. (2016). 21st Century Sport: Microsystem or Macrosystem?. Sport Journal. Retrieved from: 
Healy, K. (2014). Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. Macmillan International Higher Education.
Newland, L. A. (2015). Family well?being, parenting, and child well?being: Pathways to healthy adjustment. Clinical Psychologist, 19(1), 3-14.
Roundy, L. (n.d). Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory of Development: Definition & Examples. Retrieved from: 
Scott, D., Arney, F., & Vimpani, G. (2010). Think child, think family, think community (Doctoral dissertation, Cambridge University Press).
Smith, E. P., Faulk, M., & Sizer, M. A. (2016). Exploring the meso-system: The roles of community, family, and peers in adolescent delinquency and positive youth development. Youth & society, 48(3), 318-343.
Swist, T., Collin, P., McCormack, J., & Third, A. (2015). Social media and the wellbeing of children and young people: A literature review.
Teater, B. (2014). An introduction to applying social work theories and methods. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

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