Gordon, Jean; Rixon, Andrew and Cooper, Barry (2014). Conclusion. In: Cooper, Barry; Gordon, Jean and Rixon, Andrew eds. Best Practice With Children and Families: Critical Social Work Stories. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 186–193.



We set out in this book to bring together examples of social work that can be described as'best' practice. As our Introduction makes clear, this is not to suggest that there is only one way to do social work, or an 'ideal' outcome in any practice situation. Instead the best practice described is about doing 'the best' the social worker is able to do at that time and in that place, in the context of that child and family. Crucially, as the accounts of the practitioners in this book demonstrate, best practice requires a facility for critical reflection, and the ability to act on that reflection to practice skilfully and learn from experience. Naomi, reflecting on her work with Linda, concluded that she could honestly state I could go back and manage that much better now. And Myra's case was important to Clive precisely because of what he learnt about intervening with authority in a chronically harmful situation. This kind of reflection on the process of social work and learning from what goes wrong as well as right is as much part of best - and critical - practice as cases that have unequivocally positive outcomes.

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