1 Developmental frameworks
Human development comprises many relatively predictable patterns. A knowledge of these can suggest the possibility of various outcomes, providing on occasions opportunities for understanding and intervening to achieve certain desirable outcomes, or indicating the need to find ways of working to avoid outcomes that may be less desirable. These kinds of understandings and opportunities emerge regularly in social work practice with children and with adults. Interpretations and interventions incorporating knowledge of human development can be at an individual, family, community, and at a societal level. Social workers need to know about these elements and patterns so that their assessments and approaches are consciously considered and targeted, providing where possible enhanced levels of predictability based on an informed understanding of the subject. It is important to remember though, that as in all aspects of working with people, predictive ‘certainty’ is elusive, and some would say is rare. A knowledge of human development, therefore, is essential, but it is most useful as a guide to frame decisions, rather than as formulae and frameworks to rigidly or unquestioningly determine action.