SWSP2033 Social Work Theory and Practice (Individuals, Children and Families)

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: Successful completion of a minimum of four Level 100 units
Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: Core

Unit Description

This unit explores social work theory and practice for working with individuals, children and families and the involuntary nature of statutory work. Linking individual life course with family systems and life cycle development, this unit incorporates understandings of individuals, children and family strengths, weaknesses and tensions with their rights and safety. Students will explore skills associated with both direct practice and family work (strength-based and solution-focused) as a way of working towards the most effective outcomes for their health, wellbeing and life chances.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week. This includes timetabled class time and private study time.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Explore theory and skills linked to direct practice with individuals, children and families.
  2. Link current social, cultural and political conditions to individual and family problems.
  3. Explore knowledge about the family, family systems, family life cycles, multi-issue families, and family resilience.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of solution-focused and strength-based interventions.
  5. Demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity to working with individuals, children and families.
  6. Apply direct practice skills including risk and safety assessment, family interventions and resource and networking for all members of the family group.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Text

  • Cocker, C., & Allain, L. (2011). Advanced social work with children and families. Exeter, England: Learning Matters.

Recommended Readings

  • Adams, R. (2012). Working with children and families: Knowledge and contexts for practice. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Adams, R., Dominelli, L., & Payne, M. (Eds.) (2002). Social work: Critical issues and critical debates (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Arney, F., & Scott, D. (Eds.) (2013). Working with vulnerable families: A partnership approach (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
  • Chung, R., & Benak, F. (2012). Social justice counselling: The next step beyond multiculturalism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Connolly, M., & Harms, L. (2011). Social work from theory to practice. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
  • Corcoran, J. (2012). Helping skills for social work direct practice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Cummins, L. K., Sevel, J. A., & Pedrick, L. (2012). Social work skills for beginning direct practice: Text, workbook and interactive web-based case studies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
  • Fejo-King, C. (2013). Let’s talk kinship: Innovating Australian social work education, theory, research and practice through Aboriginal knowledge. Torrens, Australia: Christine Fejo-King Consulting.
  • Jandt, F. (2013). An introduction to intercultural communication: Identities in a global community. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Koprowska, J. (2010). Communication and interpersonal skills in social work. Exeter, England: Learning Matters.
  • Lindsay, T., & Orton, S. (2014). Group work practice in social work (3rd ed.). Exeter, England: Learning Matters.
  • Maidment, J., & Egan, R. (2009). Practice skills in social work and welfare: More than just common sense. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.
  • Muller, L. (2014). A theory for Indigenous Australian health and human service work: Connecting Indigenous knowledge and practice. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.
  • O’Hara, A., & Pocket, R. (2011). Skills for human service work: Working with individuals,groups and communities. Sydney, Australia: Oxford University Press.
  • Shulman, L. (2009). The skills of helping individual, families, groups and communities (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.