Children in Groups: A Social Work Perspective

Children in Groups: A Social Work Perspective

Children in Groups: A Social Work Perspective

Children in Groups: A Social Work Perspective


Does social work theory and practice give adequate attention to the specific needs of children? Fatout contends that it does not. All too often social work focuses on the family as a whole, the individual family members, or marital pairs. Relatively little attention is given to the child and, in a world of more and more single-parent families, latchkey children, and violent methods of problem-solving among children, this shortcoming needs to be addressed. Fatout does so by providing a detailed review of the specific content, methods, and skills needed to apply group approaches to the problems of children.


Groups have existed from the beginning of time in the form of clans, tribes and families. These units of people joined together to help each other and to accomplish tasks that were important to their well-being. Over many years, society has continued to recognize, understand and refine the many contributions that groups can make to both the community and to individuals. The use of groups with adults has long been a method for providing therapeutic assistance when needed.

During the Industrial Revolution in America, there was a proliferation of groups for children that were intended to build character, educate and preserve the way of life. As groups were used in a variety of settings, there was recognition of their real potential in affecting the lives of children.

As child guidance clinics developed, the focus for help initially was the parent of the child having problems. As a result, parents were counseled about how to help their children. With time, there also began to be recognition of some of the contributions that groups could make in working directly with children.

Literature and research focused on groups for adults have continued to grow, but there has been little recognition and focus on groups for children. By the 1970s, a few individuals had begun to make a plea for the recognition of work with children as a specialized area of practice. It was believed that it was important to establish a beginning foundation for the definition, knowledge base and methods for service in this area.

Because of this recognition of need for the development of a founda-

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