23rd SocNet98 IUW "Child and Youth Welfare and Child Protection - Contemporary Challenges and Developments"


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Workshops 2021


We will  have four time blocks of workshops, please choose one workshop from each time block:

Workshops A1)-A4): Monday, 14.30-16.00

Workshops B1)-B4): Tuesday, 10.00-11.30

Workshops C1)-C5): Wednesday, 10.00-11.30

Workshops D1)-D4): Wednesday, 13.30-15.00


A1) Understanding Emotion in Social Work 

Prof. Dr. Nicole Harth (Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena, Germany)

This workshop focuses on the topic of emotions, especially discrete emotions, such as shame, guilt, trust and anger. A key topic will be the discussion of what emotions actually are and how they apply to social work practice. We discuss the importance of emotions from the perspective of different disciplines, such as (social-)psychology, sociology, social work. The goal is to provide an integrative view of emotions. The workshop offers a mix of theoretical input as well as interactions, self-reflection and group discussions on the topic.

A2) Family Group Conference as a Method in Child and Youth Welfare 

Michael Delorette (St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, Austria)

Family Group Conference is a decision making process concerning assistance plans in relation to children’s welfare. This family-led planning model has its origin in New Zealand, spread over many countries of Europe, and other parts of the world. In the workshop the model Family Group Conference will be presented and its steps and how it works will be examined. The analysis also shows that the model is about more than only User Involvement. It has interactive effects on the empowerment of people. It points out the need for flexibility in the organisation of help and building networks. Beside the human and the children’s rights to which Family Group Conference refers there are also other theoretical basics of social work involved, such as there are participation, concepts of human autonomy and a successful life despite disagreements. And of course, we will also discuss this model. I’m looking forward to seeing you in this workshop.

A3) Parental Support - Shifting the Focus on the Parents

Doutsen Dijkstra (Hanzehogeschool Groningen, The Netherlands)

This workshop will focus on the concepts of prevention, parental growth and parent-focused advice. Studies show that about 50 % of all parents express the need to talk about issues of parenting and the development of their children outside their own family network. If we care about children's well-being, we also have to invest in the well-being of parents. Well-being in the social and family environments has significant influence on the growth and wellbeing of the children. But how can we reach and support that as a social worker? In this workshop, we are going to focus on individual support strategies (method of parent-focussed advice) but also on the key factors of supporting parents in small groups. Here, we will regard preventive activities to tackle child abuse, learning problems, behaviour problems and strategies to create rich and healty environments for children. 

A4) Comparing Child Protection in Europe using a Case Example 

Prof. Dr. Michael Herschelmann (Hochschule Emden-Leer, Germany)

In this workshop we will use a case example to learn more about child protection in different European countries. Background is a research project of the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer in Germany and the Moscow Region State University in Russia. Comparative studies offer the chance to scrutinize own activities and principles and the possibility to learn from each other to improve the child protection work. The project uses the methodology of the „Centre for Comparative Social Work Studies (CCSWS)“ at Brunel University London with the objective „… to learn about the child protection system of the other country in terms of how it worked for those directly involved in operating it; and to elicit the views of social workers in one country about the practice and system of another.“ (Hetherington et al. 1997, p. 43). In both countries groups of social workers and other relevant professionals discussed the same case example and decided what would be most likely to happen and why. Later they heard about the discussion and decisions made by the group in the other country and identified similarities and differences. In the workshop we will use this methodology and discuss the same – from the workshop participants prepared - case example to learn from each other. Results from the research project will be added.
Find more about the project in Publication at: Article in Online-Journal "Social Work and Society"


B1) Using Creative Therapeutic Interventions in Social Work Practice with Young People

Prof. Dr. Gabriele Schäfer  (Hochschule Bremen, Germany)

Externalizing is a therapeutic practice which has developed within Narrative therapy. It is an intervention that creates a perspective on reality, in which the person has a relationship to the problem and in which the person is not the problem. This therapeutic approach considers problems as coming from sources outside of the person. Some outside sources are through socialization, through relationships with others or with cultures and societies.
With externalization problems can be represented by clients in many different ways; conversations, painting, music, sculpture and poetry are some examples. Once problems are externalized (i.e. viewed as if they don’t simply exist as an inherent aspect of a person) they can then be put into story-lines and a new more positive narrative can be discovered.
In this workshop we will explore various creative ways in which problems can be externalized and possibly discover new narratives that can emerge in the process.
--> Please bring you own coloured pencils and some sheets of papers, we will work with some active methods from creative arts therapy. 

B2) Abuse at the Heart of the Familiy: The Challenges and Complexities of Sibling Sexual Abuse

Dr. Peter Yates (Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland)

The international media tends to represent child sexual abuse as a problem of ‘stranger danger’ (Weatherred, 2015), but the reality is rather different. Most child sexual abuse is carried out by people well-known to the child, often by other family members. These other family members may themselves be children. Indeed, sibling sexual abuse  - the sexual abuse of children by their brothers or sisters - is the most common form of intra-familial sexual abuse, estimated to be up to three times as common as sexual abuse by a parent (Krienert & Walsh, 2011; Stroebel et al., 2013). Nonetheless it remains an under-researched phenomenon. It raises particular challenges for practitioners to recognise the abuse and to balance the competing and often conflicting needs of the children in the family. Very difficult decisions need to be made regarding the siblings’ living and contact arrangements following the abuse becoming known. This interactive workshop will provide an overview of the relevant literature and explore the challenges with respect to decision making and intervention. It will outline some of the future directions for research and practice, and will argue for a whole family approach that maintains a child developmental perspective rather than responses derived from adult sex offending, and the particular significance of understanding sibling relationships.

B3) Growing Up with Grief

Bart Loonbeek, and students Sofie Hutman, Kaat Curinckx, Lieselot Carpreau and Cato Claes (UCLL - University College Leuven-Limburg, Belgium)

In this interactive workshop on children with deceased parents, we will cover all aspects involved in this procedure. We will go deeper into counselling, guardianship, grieving process, and other aspects relevant to social workers. The goal is to be able to discuss this special topic socially. It will be a workshop where your opinion and input is certainly important. 

B4) International Perspectives on Child Abuse and Neglect

Susan L. Ketner, PhD (Hanzehogeschool Groningen, The Netherlands)

The Convention of the Right of the Child states that children should be protected against violence, abuse and neglect. The Convention also states that parents are responsible for nurturing and raising their children, but the government is obliged to support parents with this task. In this workshop we will discuss two topics. 1) How do we deal with cultural differences in defining child abuse? And 2) When is it legitimate to intervene in family matters?


C1) Decision-making in Social Work and Child and Youth Welfare

Stefan Kleipoedszus (Bournemouth University, England)

Based on findings from an ongoing study into social work decision-making and already published studies, this event is going to be an interactive workshop to explore the way professionals at different stages of their careers make decisions regarding people who are unable to make their own decisions due to their mental capacity, developmental stage or substance use. These are high stakes and complex decisions often made in conditions or uncertainty where risk to individual's health and wellbeing is a significant concern. 
Using decision-making games, simulations and experiments, the participants will explore the processes of decision-making. For example, they will identify whether they are making decisions intuitively or more deliberately and will get to experience the pitfalls of 'bounded rationality' (Simon 1955). 

C2) Discovering the Complex Network of a Foster Child

Iris Tilkin and students (PXL Hogeschool Limburg, Hasselt, Belgium) 

Children in foster care have a complex social network. In this workshop we will empathize with the foster child: how does it feel to be a foster child? We brainstorm how we can work together with all the people who are involved: foster care, juvenile court, biological parents, foster parents, school teachers,…They all have needs. Sometimes the needs of the foster child are forgotten because of the system. They have to take into account the needs of the foster child.


C3) Participation in Child and Youth Work - Experiencing and Learning Democracy

Prof. Dr. Annette Harth (Hochschule Bremen, Germany) and Annika Koehler-Siefken (LidiceHaus Bremen, Germany)

Participation is a core element in German child and youth work. The workshop will focus on democracy building. We will work on concepts and areas of participation. Inputs are included on the theoretical and conceptual frame of participation in German child and youth work with a special focus on Bremen. In addition, interim results of an ongoing project on the development of innovative social space-oriented and low-threshold approaches to deliberative participation formats will be discussed.

C4) Psychological Aspects of Child Sexual Abuse: Consequences for Social Work

Prof. Dr. Kristin Mitte (Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena, Germany)

In the present lecture, we will deal with different aspects of sexual abuse in children. First, the basics of posttraumatic stress disorder and dissociation will be introduced. Then, we will look at typical reasons why children remain silent and do not disclose to adults. We also look at typical attitudes of social workers that are barriers to working with children after sexual abuse. The lecture is an introductory course and requires no previous knowledge. 

C5) Environmental Social Work with Families and Minors: Reflections from Different Case Studies

Dr. Elisa Matutini (Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Venice, Italy)

This workshop aims to be a moment of reflection on the contribution that the perspective of environmental social work can give to working with families and children who experience different forms of distress and material deprivation. The basic idea that this perspective is based on is that it is possible to extend professional action beyond empathic involvement by promoting involvement in nature. The theoretical discussion of the topics will alternate with the presentation of different case studies taken from the experience of field work gained by some local entities in Tuscany, Italy.


D1) Occupational Aspiration of Care Leavers and their Pathways to Autonomy 

Dr. Andrea Nagy (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy) 

The Workshop will report about a research project that examines the experiences of transitions to work and the associated challenges for the agency of young people leaving residential care institutions, such as finding affordable housing. The concept of agency focusses on individual opportunities for action and ways of influencing the own life, that are reconstructed through biographical interviews with care-leavers. From a relational perspective, those opportunities are produced in changing social constellations depending on the contextual conditions that the project will outline for the Autonomous Province of Bolzano in Italy. The presentation will proceed with a scheme that enables an international comparison of those contextual conditions which will be subsequently explored and discussed among participants accordingly to their own country-contexts.

D2) The Traumatic Impact of Child Abuse

Bart Loonbeek, and the students Linde Dankers and Julie Van Minnebruggen (UCLL - University College Leuven-Limburg, Belgium)

What are the effects of trauma for a child in terms of adulthood? And when are we talking about trauma? How does it affect young people's development? And what are the rights of a child after trauma? In this workshops, we will use theoretical concepts to introduce waht abuse triggers in children. In addition, we will discuss methodologies that are used with children who have a history of abuse. We will also look at the effects from different perspectives: neurobiological, developmental, psychological ... Besides, from a children's rights perspective, we will also look at what the government's role is in guaranteeigng the right for children to be protected from violence, abuse and neglect as stated in Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Finally, we look at how we as a supervisor can support these children.

D3) Signs of whose Safety? On the Limits and Limitations of Manualised Approaches

Charlotte Sweet and Franz Schiermayr (University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Linz, Austria)

This lecture pinpoints a comprehensive crisis of confidence in the current post-postmodern capitalist societies using the "signs-of-safety" approach as an illustrative example of how a manualized approach is established in the field of official family social work that is not well compatible with its own theoretical roots or with basic democratic and social principles. The increasing tacit omission of the third, political-structural mandate of social work in favour of systematic, individualized case management is problematized and confronted with a reflected, socially acceptable way of “radical” thinking and acting. Social work as the executor of a competitive capitalist social policy, using the example of the SEN model, is contrasted with an actionable, constructive social work that can make a viable contribution to structural and systemic social innovation.


D4) Social Pedagogy as Conceptual Approach for Child and Youth Welfare 

Prof. Dr. Christian Spatscheck (Hochschule Bremen, Germany)

This workshop will focus on the main concepts of social pedagogy as theoretical approach to child and youth welfare. It will include inputs on the theoretical foundations and international comparisons of the reception and application of models of social pedagogy. A special focus will be laid on spatial models of social pedagogy and the newer concepts of an emerging social pedagogy of social and ecological sustainability.
Find more about the Spatial Paradigm of Social Pedagogy in Publications at: Article in European Journal of Social Work and Article in Online-Journal "Social Work and Society".



Bremen School
of Social Work