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Strengths-Based Approaches in Social Work and Social Care: Reviewing the Evidence

Caiels, James, Milne, Alisoun, Beadle-Brown, Julie (2021) Strengths-Based Approaches in Social Work and Social Care: Reviewing the Evidence. Journal of Long Term Care, . pp. 401-422. E-ISSN 2516-9122. (doi:10.31389/jltc.102) (KAR id:92788)

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Context: There is substantial policy support for strengths-based approaches to social work and social care. These new models of care promote the deployment of ‘strengths’ including personal, social and community resources to empower individuals to achieve their desired outcomes. Although a number of strengths-based models have been developed it is not known whether and how they work, or which model works best for whom and in what circumstances.

Objectives: A scoping review of evidence was conducted between July and September 2019. Its primary aim was to explore the nature and extent of evidence in relationship to strengths-based approaches in social work and social care for adults; also how these approaches impact on practice and on outcomes for social care service users and their families.

Methods: A database search was conducted for the period 2009 to 2019 to identify peer-reviewed and grey literature publications on the use of strengths (or asset) based approaches in social work and social care. A total of 72 items were included.

Findings: Strengths-based approaches are being embraced by policy makers and practitioners but questions remain about: their definition (how they are distinct from other approaches, and how they should be conceptualised); their effectiveness and feasibility (including their intersection with local authority eligibility thresholds); and how they should/can be evaluated. Specific research needs to be done to evaluate the precise nature of strengths-based approaches in social work and social care, their impact on users and carers quality of life and well being and the outcomes achieved.

Limitations: The review may be limited by the lack of evidence in a relatively under-researched area of practice. Study designs were varied and included a number of qualitative case studies but very few quantitative or RCT based studies.

Implications: This review has brought evidence together, extended understanding about strengths-based approaches in social work and social care for adults and offered us a platform upon which to develop models of evaluation.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.31389/jltc.102
Uncontrolled keywords: Strengths-based approaches, social work with adults, social care services for adults, asset-based approaches
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Sian Robertson
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2022 15:11 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 10:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Caiels, James:
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