Die ervaring van ondersteuning as funksie van supervisie aan maatskaplike werkers in diens van kinderbeskermingsorganisasies
Van Huyssteen, Cecile
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In the service of child protection organisations, where services are focused on the protection of children within the preservation of families, social workers are exposed to the adverse conditions of children and families forming part of their caseload. Social workers must remain objective and make thoughtful decisions in the best interest of children and families, while they themselves might be traumatised by the circumstances of these children and families. Various studies have been done about occupational stress, secondary trauma, compassion fatigue and the role of supervision in this regard. Less is however known about support as a function of supervision for social workers employed by child protection organisations and the social workers’ experience(s) of this support. The aim of this study was to investigate and to descripe, by means of a descriptive qualitative design, social workers employed by child protection organizations' experience of support as function of supervision. For the purpose of this study, the researcher used a purposeful non-probability sampling. Ten social workers from seven child protection organisations within the specific field of child protection were selected according to their willingness to participate. Unstructured, in-depth, one-on-one interviews, with one question to initiate the interview, were conducted with social workers to investigate their experience of the support as function of supervision. During interviews with the individual social workers the researcher made use of observations and field notes as tools for data collection tools. A focus group with eight social workers was also utilised to verify initial findings and to allow for any additional data that would emerge. The first theme deals with participants’ view of support as a function of supervision, which includes receiving guidance and emotional support. Theme two is about participants’ experience of support as a function of supervision in terms of task-oriented as well as emotional support. The third theme that came up was alternative sources of emotional support, including colleagues, external counselors, family members and selfcare. These themes were divided into sub-themes and categories and discussed according to relevant quotations from interviews and literature reviews. Conclusions and recommendations were made according to these results. One of the most important recommendations arising from the findings of the study, is that the support function of supervision should be used more effectively. Social workers and supervisors must develop a greater awareness of the importance to discuss emotions and the dangers of suppressing emotions. Social workers that receive the opportunity to reflect on their emotions, develop a sense of self-worth, appreciation and experience job satisfaction and motivation, which leads to an increase in service quality.
- Humanities