Ongoing practice research projects

Evidencing Social Work in Health Care

A multi-site audit will be undertaken to evidence current social work practice in health and mental health settings. The audit is to be undertaken across health and mental health services in Helsinki and in Tampere in one day.

The original audit tool was developed in a practice research initiative between the University of Melbourne (UOM) (Professor Lynette Joubert) and St Vincent’s Hospital’s Department of Social Work (SVHM SW) (Sonia Posenelli). The practice research progressed in phases across multiple sites in Victoria involving over 15 sites and 532 social workers.

The same tool was translated in Finnish and applied for the data collection. Over 300 social workers at Helsinki and HUS area and 40 social workers in the health care settings at Tampere participated for gathering the data on the fall 2018.

Next the study will extend internationally in a collaboration with the University of Helsinki and the Heikki Waris Institute (part of Socca/HUS)  in conjunction with health services across Finland. The team of investigators from Helsinki and Melbourne aim to recruit a sample of 1000 social workers across health services internationally. In addition to the local social work profiles at Helsinki and Tampere, the data analysis will deliver a data driven classification of the social work profession irrespective of organisational and cultural contexts.

More information:

Jenika.heinonen@hus.fi, mirja.satka@hus.fi, laura.yliruka@hus.fi


Implementation of the research based game for child welfare institutions

A research based game has been developed in the national reform of child and family services (2017). The game has been disseminated nationally. The aim is to study the effects of the dissemination on the viewpoint of children´s rights and well-being.  More information: laura.yliruka@hus.fi


Implementation evaluation of the Systemic Practice Model for child protection services

The study evaluates implementation of the Systemic Practice Model for child protection services in Finland. The Systemic Practice Model is a systemic approach designed to improve the quality of child protection service by integrating systemic family therapy with social work practice. The model is an adaptation of the Reclaiming Social Model developed in an English child protection agency, London Borough of Hackney. Despite the growing body of implementation research, there is little knowledge of transportation of complex social interventions, such as the Systemic Practice Model, between countries. The purpose of this study is to respond to this knowledge gap by focusing on child protection service context. The results will also have a strong utilisation value beyond academia. The research data includes interviews of service users, social workers, managers and key implementation persons that were collected during the national pilot of the model in 2017-2018. Co-articles also include survey data that was gathered by doctoral student Elina Aaltio (University of Jyväskylä). The study is part of the dissertation of doctoral student Nanne Isokuortti. For further information, please contact: nanne.isokuortti(at)helsinki.fi.


Adolescents in aftercare: support needs, client profiles and inclusion/ Jälkihuollon nuorten tuen tarpeet, asiakkuusprofiilit ja osallisuus

The study focuses on adolescents in aftercare within the child welfare unit of the City of Helsinki Social Services Department. In the initial stage, the study is a census (on about 600 adolescents) based on client documents, aiming to map the client segments. Some of the adolescents will later be interviewed about their service experiences and support needs. Practitioners will also be interviewed concerning the challenges of multi-professional team work and management. The multiyear, multidisciplinary and collaborative research project combines social work, nursing science and medicine. In addition to researchers from the University of Helsinki, the project includes researchers from the City of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland. The project received ERVA funding for 2015. In the area of social work, the project is led by Mirja Satka (mirja.satka@helsinki.fi). 


Support family activities as experienced by children / Tukiperhetoiminta lapsen kokemana

The study examines the experiences of children who visit support families through child welfare services. Support family activities are a form of non-institutional care implemented at an interesting interface because of the voluntary nature of its implementers, that is, the support families. The starting point of the study is children’s experiential world in the context of support families offered as a support measure within non-institutional child welfare services. The study highlights the perspectives of children on what it is like to be in a support family and aims at increasing understanding of what special elements or changes support family activities can bring to children’s lived daily life. The study is implemented as research of experience, in which existentialist phenomenology serves as the theoretical and scientific-philosophical framework. The study is part of the dissertation of doctoral student Tiina Lehto-Lundén, who works as a social worker at Save the Children Finland. For further information, please contact tiina.k.lehto@helsinki.fi