Course Title: Foundations of Practice with Families, Children and Adolescents

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Foundations of Practice with Families, Children and Adolescents

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global Studies, Soc Sci & Plng


Sem 1 2012

Course Coordinator: Dr Susie Costello

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3234

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course you will explore core theoretical frameworks, and practical skills and strategies for working with people in a range of complex, oppressive situations and their impact on children, young people and families. You will consider a range of associated issues including disability and mental health, abuse of alcohol and other substances, domestic and family violence, poverty, and homelessness.

This course is designed to extend your skills in casework, assessment, case planning and advocacy by adopting a case management approach. The case management approach will accord to ‘Best Interest’ principles and consider the impact of cumulative harm on vulnerable children.
You will also investigate theories and their practical applications to working in practice with families who live in poverty, with the pressure and crises of trauma, discrimination and other forms of oppression. The primary theories and frameworks under consideration include:

  • Theories of power and oppression
  • Crisis theory
  • Grief and trauma theory
  • Attachment theory
  • Developmental frameworks
  • Psychodynamic theory

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Apply a range of relevant case management approaches to community practice settings
  • Analyse the strengths and limitations of relevant theories above and reflect on their relationship to your own practice.
  • Apply your knowledge of relevant theories to family support work.

The course fosters development of the following graduate capabilities:

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and practice skills to work with and for vulnerable families.
  • Apply knowledge and practice skills in a manner that confronts structural disadvantage arising from cultural and religious difference, patriarchy, racism, disability, age and discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.
  • Promote reflexive, ethical, respectful, accountable and transparent family support practice processes
  • Show a commitment to engage in life-long learning and on-going professional development.

Overview of Learning Activities

Intensive workshops are designed to facilitate your learning through in-depth discussion and debate. The workshops will provide opportunities to discuss and analyse theory presentations and set readings, as well as real dilemmas based on your experience and work place issues. Activities will include individual and group exercises such as brainstorms, role plays, group sculptures and completion of individual work sheets.

Overview of Learning Resources

Reading lists will be made available and a range of resources and materials will be made available online via myRMIT/studies.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment tasks are directly linked to the stated learning outcomes and graduate capabilities. Assessment in the course will be both theoretical and practical in nature, with a particular focus on theories of intervention in families.

A range of formative and summative assessment tasks will be experienced in the course (for example, essays, class presentation and role plays).