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The term intervention incorporates a multitude of activities; it can be a once-off event, for example the provision of food by the Simon Community Soup Run, or a more long-term provision, for example planning for a young person leaving full-time care. What an intervention looks like varies significantly depending on the needs of the service user, but also across services and settings. For example, in disability services the construction of the person-centered plan by drawing on the resources provided through the individual’s support network, can be considered an intervention along with the micro-level goals identified to achieve the said plan. Social care workers commonly gather information through assessment and use it to develop a tailored intervention which is based on where the service user is ‘at’.

While standardised interventions do of course exist and are availed of by service users (for example, a parenting support programme), the artistry of social care work lies in its ability to deliver bespoke interventions within the context of a meaningful and therapeutic relationship. Take for example a service user with a disability who wishes to obtain a job. The packaging of supports around this individual may range from supporting personal hygiene, to travel training, to CV writing, to practicing social skills, to preparing for interview. The ability to provide a package of supports that is bespoke, coproduced and evidence-informed, within the context of the professional relationship, is at the heart of social care work.  These interventions are  unique and individualised, and can only be achieved through knowing and understanding the service user and their needs. Like assessment, interventions are also fluid as needs change over time or additional information emerges over the course of the work (Milner et al., 2015). Of significance is the importance of ensuring that service users are active participants in their care, that goals are co-constructed with the service user, and that interventions are mutually agreed upon. However, intervention is not always straightforward. Cases are sometimes complex, particularly where intersecting layers of trauma, disadvantage and oppression are present. 


Some examples of interventions are: 

  • Life-story bookA child whose life has been affected through social care involvement may be confused and unclear about what has happened and why (Cooper, 2020). A story or book can be written with the child to explain why they were adopted, fostered of placed in care to create opportunities for open conversations about their experiences. However, it is vital to consider that the story must be age appropriate and will most likely avoid certain factors of the decision making regarding care.

  • Groupwork is another intervention commonly used in social care work and offers several different functions, depending on the needs. Some groups have specified outcomes or goals, while others are more organic, allowing the purpose to develop as the group evolves. For example, a social care worker may create a group to support women in a particular neighborhood with mental health problems or for migrants to assist in learning language and acculturation.

Some resources and ideas for other interventions include: 

  • Motivational interviewing:$File/IPJ2012pages132to141.pdf

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