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Issues » 2013/3 - Family in Distress »

Robert Constable

Some Components and Dynamics of School Social Work Practice in a North American Context


The article discusses theoretical points of reference and practice dynamics for school social work in the context of North American education. The school social work role comprises many diverse responses to a situation, working with a multidisciplinary school team. It is based on a commonly developed assessment and strategic plan. The school social worker also works with parents as partners. The dynamics of this practice is illustrated in the article, using an example of good practice with the school team, the parents and a child over the extended period of his elementary school years. The model of direct practice in the case of Alan is complemented by discussion of consultation, program development, transagency planning and work on general school problems, such as school safety. The article concludes with a brief review of school social work effectiveness research.


school social work; practice models; needs assessment; performance evaluation; role development; university preparation; consultation with teachers; collaboration with parents; teamwork; transagency planning, effectiveness research

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