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HSW1400 Working with Families in the Human Services

Semester 2, 2022 Ipswich On-campus
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Student contribution band : Band 2
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 27 June 2022


Examiner: Krystal Schaffer


Human services workers are employed to work with children and families in many contexts. While not an exhaustive list, some of these spheres include child protection, domestic and family violence services, the disability sector, mental health and more. In each instance, human service workers must navigate supporting individuals and their families through difficulties while ensuring that they are safeguarded from harm. Often this will require human service workers to employ a set of competencies in being able to support the family unit, as opposed to approaches that emphasise individual responsibility. As such, human service professionals require skills and knowledge in being able to employ trauma informed and collaborative family work, including knowing when and how to use these approaches in micro intervention. This course helps students to understand these foundational principles of family systems practice.

This unit focuses on human services work with children and families with an emphasis on trauma informed principles and a model of collaborative family work. It introduces students to the breadth of welfare and family support services in Australia and describes practise approaches for working with the family unit, along with the complexities faced by human services professionals working in this context. Students will have the opportunity to learn the model of collaborative family work, which draws on a range of theoretical perspectives relevant to human services practice in the child and family service context. This course will also assist students to identify how their values and beliefs impact on their ability to identify family issues and provide assistance.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Describe the scope of human services work with children and families.
  2. Identify and demonstrate different family approaches, theories, and frameworks of human services interventions for supporting families.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of trauma informed principles and the model of collaborative family work and its application to human services work with families.
  4. Describe and reflect on the complexities faced by human service workers when working collaboratively with families.
  5. Illustrate an ability to utilise reflective practice on personal beliefs, values and worldviews and discuss how this impacts their practice.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to families and family work 10.00
2. Theories of family systems and trauma informed practice 20.00
3. The Collaborative Family Work Model 20.00
4. Challenges faced by human service workers engaged in family work 20.00
5. Critically reflective family work practice 20.00
6. Evaluating family work interventions 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Quiz No 20 1,2,3
Assignments Written Essay No 40 1,2,3
Assignments Written Reflection (personal/clinical) No 40 3,4,5
Date printed 27 June 2022