Engaging Families, Building Relationships: Strategies for Working Across Systems from a Social Exchange Perspective
Keywords: Child welfare, engagement, helping relationship, social exchange theory, strengths-based perspective
AbstractIn child welfare, the relationship between worker and client is viewed as the mechanism through which families may be engaged. Certain settings may complicate the development of a helping relationship and require workers to counter these pressures by developing more effective means of engaging families. Utilizing a social exchange framework, this qualitative study was conducted to explore interactions among parents and professionals in dependency court hearings. Findings revealed that a lack of reciprocity hinders the development of collaborative relationships that could support and assist families. Implications for social work practice are examined.
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