Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Applying social work law with children and families
Applying social work law with children and families

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.


In this course you have:

  • seen how the concepts of childhood, family and family life are not static, but shift over time
  • explored how policy and legislation develop in response to social changes
  • considered the concept of parental responsibility
  • seen that it is not always straightforward to determine whether the exercise of parental responsibility benefits the child, and that there may be competing views, based on different values and beliefs, about how a child’s best interests should be met in relation to the decisions that are made about their lives and futures.

Key points

  • Social work practice is influenced and informed by wider social, political, economic and intellectual trends.
  • The definition of family and family life is broad and changes over time.
  • The key legislation relating to children and families across the UK share a number of core principles, including the non-intervention, no order and welfare principles.
  • Mothers and married fathers have automatic parental responsibility.
  • Others may acquire parental responsibility, either through parental agreement orders or by an order of the court.
  • The exercise of parental responsibility is likely to reflect differing values and moral positions about what is in a child’s or a young person’s best interests.
  • Findings from research can become enshrined in both good practice guidance and legislation.

This course is part of a suite of courses on social work and the law. You may be interested in continuing your studies in this subject with the following courses:

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course K271 Social work law.