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myCourtroom: Rosie’s family go to court; the use of simulations in preparing social workers for court

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The role of social workers in court, how they prepare, train, write and present their reports, has been the focus of much debate. Key messages from research tell us that social workers often find court work stressful; they can lack confidence in writing reports giving evidence and being cross-examined. Pre-qualification training in this area can be patchy, with many workers reporting they often learn ‘on the job.’ This article documents the journey from analysing primary and secondary research findings, via a partnership between the University of Kent Centre for Child Protection and Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), to develop a training simulation for practitioners to increase their knowledge, preparation and practice for court. The partnership turned these research findings into an interactive, immersive simulation to give practitioners the space to reflect upon and critique their experiences of court. Findings from an initial evaluation of the simulation were positive with participants highly rating its usefulness in developing courtroom skills and knowledge.
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Keywords: Social workers; child protection training; court work; family court advisers; simulations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Kent Centre for Child Protection, Canterbury, UK 2: Cafcass, UK 3: Children’s Social Care, London Borough of Bexley, UK

Publication date: February 17, 2018

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