This is an internationally-focused course, which invites professionals and students from the UK, EU and overseas to study in an online, research-based environment that challenges how work with children, young people and families is conceptualised and conducted.
The course aims to develop your:
- ability to critically evaluate contemporary evidence and issues in the promotion of child welfare and wellbeing
- knowledge of theories about children's cognitive, affective, social and cultural development
- understanding of the multiple factors that correlate with outcomes for children and young people
- awareness of the political, policy and statutory paradigms within which interventions are based
- understanding of psychosocial interventions and their effectiveness
- skills in working with others in a national and international online community
- professional practice by enhancing your ability to apply a critical and evidence based approach to your work with service users.
MSc students are required to complete 180 level 7 credits (including Foundations in Child Welfare and Wellbeing, Advanced Research Design and the dissertation project). PGDip students are required to complete 120 level 7 credits (ie 6 modules including Foundations in Child Welfare and Wellbeing and Advanced Research Design but excluding the research project) and PGCert students are required to complete 60 level 7 credits including Foundations in Child Welfare and Wellbeing and two other modules.
The modules offered include:
Foundations in Child Welfare and Wellbeing (20 level 7 credits)
This foundation module introduces you to advanced study in child welfare and wellbeing and invites you to explore the major theoretical approaches that underpin practice with children and adolescents and their families. Beginning with an exploration of the concept of wellbeing, it then focuses on ecological and life course approaches to child welfare. It encourages you to explore the research evidence, both national and international, on parenting, child development and wellbeing, and review the ways in which such evidence underpins child welfare practice both in the UK and internationally.
Vulnerable Children and Young People (20 level 7 credits)
Dramatic and rapid changes in our global society have resulted in children and young people being caught in situations of vulnerability and challenge for which they and/or their parents and/or communities may have very little experience, or mechanisms for coping. Adopting a risk and resilience framework, this module explores a number of topics systematically in terms of: context, prevalence, contributory factors, short and long term consequences, and protective and resiliency factors. Some situations of vulnerability which are explored include: children in conflicted families, children as carers, children in war zones, children in modern society, children in cultural crossfire, children with challenges, children who are exploited.
Risk and the Protection of Children (20 level 7 credits)
This module critically examines contemporary childhood from an international perspective with a particular focus on children's experiences of harm in society. It gives you an opportunity to understand the legal and policy contexts of child protection and safeguarding work. The module explores explanatory models for understanding child maltreatment, along with evidence of the signs and symptoms of significant harm to children, including incidence and prevalence rates. You will critically appraise international research evidence on the risk factors associated with child abuse and neglect. Child protection interventions and responses to child maltreatment are debated in relation to social and cultural contexts.
Substance Misuse (20 level 7 credits)
Substance misuse represents a significant burden of disease, in addition to disability and social problems, for children, young people and families. Policy makers, clinicians and health and social care workers are becoming increasingly interested in how to develop and deliver evidence based policy and practice. It is therefore crucial to strengthen the links between addiction science and alcohol and drug policy and practice. This module covers the accumulated scientific knowledge from substance misuse research that has direct relevance to the development of substance misuse policy and practice at local, national and international levels. The two major goals of the module are to provide an objective analytical basis on which to build relevant policies, and to inform practitioners who have direct responsibility for the health and social welfare of children, young people and families where substance misuse is a significant issue.
Evidence – Informed Interventions in Child Welfare (20 level 7 credits)
This module explores the nature of evidence and effectiveness in child welfare practice. It will guide you in exploring the research literature on evidence-based and developmentally appropriate psycho-social interventions with children and adolescents, and identify their strengths and limitations. Interventions studied include those suggested for emotional and behavioural dysregulation, bullying and peer-victimisation, self-harm prevention and children with chronic health conditions and disabilities. The assessment offers an opportunity to apply the appraisal skills to a personal topic area of interest.
Child Protection Practice (20 level 7 credits)
The module develops the knowledge and skills of a wide range of practitioners in the policy and practice of safeguarding children and young people. You will explore policy frameworks, agency contexts and models of intervention in child protection and will draw upon their own professional practice as key tool for learning. There is particular focus on leadership in child protection practice. Assessment of the module consists of a critical reflection on an aspect of your own professional practice.
Advanced Research Design (20 level 7 credits)
You will be given an opportunity to design and conduct a small research project or dissertation. The focus is on helping you to understand the relationship between methodology and method, and to appreciate the philosophical and theoretical underpinning of research-related decisions and their practical application within a work setting. A broad range of research designs are examined with due consideration given to ethics and rigour.
Triple Module Dissertation (MSc students only) (60 level 7 credits)
The triple dissertation counts as three single modules, and allows you to carry out and evaluate your own research or to submit a systematic review or literature review to further understanding and/or development of a specific area of child welfare and wellbeing. Research designs may vary considerably, but examples include:
- The psychological wellbeing of children with HIV in Bangkok.
- Interventions in homelessness among problem drug users: a systematic review.
- Psychosocial interventions with girls who self-harm: a literature review.
- The health and social care needs of homeless children and young people.
Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules may vary from that shown here.
Teaching and learning
The MSc in Child Welfare and Wellbeing by distance learning offers exciting opportunities to those who may be unable to attend university full-time but want to study to an advanced level in a stimulating and dynamic online environment.
Web based distance learning materials are provided to guide you during your studies.
You will encounter a variety of innovative online teaching methods, which are designed to support your needs as a distance learner.
The teaching team:
Approach to assessment
Assessment is mostly on the basis of coursework. A broad range of assessment approaches are used on the course, including essays, critical reviews, case studies, research proposal and virtual presentations. Formative assessment is used extensively to enable you to develop the skills and knowledge required for your summative assignments. Coursework is designed to help you develop a wide range of transferable skills in research, communication and team working.
If you wish to obtain the full MSc in Child Welfare and Wellbeing, the dissertation provides an opportunity to conduct a piece of investigative research that will further your understanding and facilitate the development of a specific area of study.
Fully distance learning and highly flexible mode of study in the University’s virtual learning
Teaching is delivered through state-of-the-art learning technologies via our Moodle platform.
The programme is delivered by distance learning but runs within the University's standard calendar of semesters so there will be specific activities to do each week during the semester and deadlines to meet for coursework submission. During the module you can interact with course tutors and fellow students, enabling for instance, discussion of topics of current interest in child welfare and wellbeing.
Attendance pattern This is a fully distance learning online course, so attendance at the University is not required. It is a highly flexible mode of study and as
a course participant you study at a time and place that suits you.