Social Work and Psychological Services for African Refugee Children
An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Statutory Service Provision Based on a Research Study in Wales, UK
This research, undertaken with children's services social workers who have worked in an urban Local Authority in South Wales, UK, sets out to explore whether statutory social services departments meet the psychological needs of refugee children. The study is in the form of a comparative study of refugee and non-refugee children. The comparison was made in relation to the children's psychological presentation pre- and post-intervention by the statutory social services department. This investigation was undertaken in response to general observation and research evidence that suggest the possibility of lack of appropriateness and effectiveness of psychological support services for refugee children. The study combines the use of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The qualitative component of the research is in the form of case studies: one for a refugee child and the other for a non-refugee child. Interviews were carried out with the case managing social workers. The quantitative component of the research was in the form of self-administered questionnaires completed by case managing social workers and the research included 8 cases of refugee children and 8 cases of non-refugee children. The research instruments borrowed from the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The SDQ is in form of a brief behavioural screening questionnaire used for screening mental health problems in children and teenagers (Goodman et al, 1998). The sampling method used was judgement sampling.
The results indicate that refugee children had less favourable outcomes following intervention compared to non-refugee children. The study concludes that service provision by the statutory social services department might not be adequate and/or relevant in addressing refugee children's psychological needs. This investigation explores possible explanations for the disparity in outcome and sets out recommendations for future research.
About the Author
Takwana Chenyika is a UK-based Senior Social Worker and Child Protection consultant with over 12 years experience. He specialises in social work with Refugee and Ethnic Minorities children and their families, and has done extensive research in this area. Mr Chenyika has worked in various statutory and voluntary children services departments in Africa and the United Kingdom, and he holds the following qualifications: DipSW, BSW (ZW), Msc, PQCCA, and PQASW (UK). He is currently a Doctorate in Social Work candidate at Sussex University in the United Kingdom.