The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3243.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 1:30 PM

Abstract #65304

Variation in social work task distribution in school settings

Susan I Stone, PhD, School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley, 120 Haviland Hall #7400, Berkeley, CA 94720, 510-643-6662,, John P. Shields, PhD, MSW, Research Department, Education, Training, & Research Associates (ETR), 5616 Geary Boulevard, Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94121, and T Bascom, RN, MA, School Health Programs Department, San Francisco Unified School District, 1515 Quintara Ave, San Francisco, CA 94116.

Increasingly, health and mental health services to youth are provided within school settings (Weist, 1997). This expansion will inevitably impact the professional roles of school social workers (Bailey, 2000). School social work is an inherently complex field of practice. It is strongly shaped by the school organizational context (Tyack, 1992). Services are shaped by the nature of school demands (e.g. principal and teacher requests and expectations), the student population (e.g. proportion of low income students), and variable funding limitations. In addition, school social workers may potentially intervene across a wide spectrum, using a wide variety of practice modalities (from providing prevention services to providing direct services to students after a formal diagnosis has been made). Finally, within schools, social workers often have quite high levels of professional discretion. Given this inherent complexity, few contextually valid school social work task analyses exist. To address this gap, we combine quantitative and qualitative data (including structured time logs and intensive interviews) collected from social workers employed within a large urban school district to describe both individual and school variation in distribution of work tasks and emphases. In light of recent calls for demonstration of the effectiveness of social work practice in schools (Franklin, 2000), our work underscores the importance of carefully considering social work time distribution in choosing methodological strategies and outcomes of interest.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Social Work, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Impact of Welfare Reform on Families and Children

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA