Enhancing family support in practice through postgraduate education
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Devaney, Carmel. (2015). Enhancing Family Support in Practice through Postgraduate Education. Social Work Education, 34(2), 213-228. doi: 10.1080/02615479.2014.986090
Family Support as a named orientation is a relatively new concept in service provision for children and their families in the Republic of Ireland. Notwithstanding this, there are a number of practitioners across a range of disciplines and agencies within this arena who apply a Family Support approach in their day-to-day work. Furthermore, it is increasingly expected that these practitioners and agencies work together in a collaborative manner with the intention of providing the best possible assistance and support. Practitioners are also required to develop their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis while in practice. One model of postgraduate education which is responding to such developments is the Master's Degree in Family Support Studies. This programme is delivered in one University in the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, the programme was reviewed to assess its influence on participants' understanding and knowledge of Family Support and on their practice. A mixed methods approach was used in this review, the results of which provide the basis for this article. At an overall level the programme is found to have a very positive influence on participants with a growing pool of practitioners who are skilled and confident in their practice.