Ylva Spånberger Weitz

Changing children's public perception of social work: A narrative evaluation of an educational intervention about social services

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Health (social science)

Summary This article explores children's learning experiences from taking part in an educational intervention about social services in school. Data were collected from six group interviews with 27 children after they had participated in lessons about social services. Following a narrative evaluation approach, the analysis focuses on the narratives of change that are made visible through the children's shared reflections about their learning experiences. Findings In their narratives of change, the children presented the educational intervention as meaningful for them because it increased their knowledge about social services as a possible support function for children and families. Some of the children related their previous more negative perceptions of social services to a collective story building on the idea that social services take children away from their families. Through the educational intervention, this collective story changed in part into another collective story building on the idea that social services help children and families to improve their relationships. Applications The study shows that an educational intervention about social services in school has the potential to increase children's knowledge about social services and to influence in a positive direction the collective stories that shape public perceptions of social work. Although such changes in collective stories can be expected to benefit social work practice, welfare professionals must be careful to promote opportunities for children to share experiences of social services that challenge, as well as align with, any of these collective stories.

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