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Social Work Practice with Children

Fourth Edition

Nancy Boyd Webb
Foreword by Luis H. Zayas

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
January 14, 2019
ISBN 9781462537556
Price: $65.00
461 Pages
Size: 6⅛" x 9¼"
November 30, 2018
PDF and Accessible ePub ?
Price: $65.00
461 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (PDF and Accessible ePub) ?
Price: $130.00 $78.00
461 Pages
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A leading course text and practitioner resource for over 20 years—now revised and updated—this book presents developmentally and culturally informed methods for helping children in family, school, and community settings. Nancy Boyd Webb offers vital guidance and tools for practitioners. The text demonstrates research-based strategies for working with victims of maltreatment and trauma as well as children affected by poverty, parental substance abuse, bullying, and other adversities. Vivid case examples illustrate the “whys” and “how-tos” of play and family therapy, group work, and school-based interventions. Student-friendly features include thought-provoking discussion questions and role-play exercises. Reproducible assessment forms can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

New to This Edition

This title is part of the Clinical Practice with Children, Adolescents, and Families Series, edited by Nancy Boyd Webb.

“Will clearly help in educating students at the undergraduate and graduate levels and preparing them for the challenges that they will face.”

Child and Family Social Work (on the second edition)

“I think the best social work practice with children is grounded in knowledge of both classic sources (such as Selma Fraiberg) and up-to-date research (for example, in modern developmental neuroscience). The fourth edition of Webb's text exemplifies that integration of the best from then and now. It offers the aspiring practitioner a guidebook steeped in wisdom and research.”

—James Garbarino, PhD, Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology, Loyola University Chicago

“In this fourth edition of Social Work Practice with Children, Webb not only updates the essential knowledge base presented in previous editions, but also provides important information on how to address such issues as gender identity struggles, immigration, and trauma from exposure to global violence. Combining theory with vivid examples that demonstrate concrete skills for working with children and families, the book reflects our increasing understanding of the importance of neuroscience and evidence-based research. It belongs on the bookshelf of every social work student and practitioner looking for effective ways to help children today.”

—Shulamith Lala Ashenberg Straussner, PhD, LCSW, Silver School of Social Work, New York University

“Webb’s classic text, now in its fourth edition, continues to increase practitioners’ wisdom about how kids' lives are affected by trauma and chronic stress, and how to help them and their families.”

—Charles R. Figley, PhD, Kurzweg Chair in Disaster Mental Health, Tulane University School of Social Work

“Like earlier editions, the fourth edition of this text provides a wealth of empirical information as well as clinical insights into working with children. It is filled with interesting and varied cases that highlight the breadth of child clients and the issues they face. I appreciate the new chapter on immigrant and refugee children.”

—Julie Anne Laser-Maira, PhD, MSW, LCSW, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver

“As mental health first responders, school mental health professionals work hard to meet students where they're at. The updated fourth edition of this classic text focuses on the all-important, one-on-one encounter between social workers and children, and offers a wealth of strategies and frameworks to do this work well. Particularly welcome is new content related to youth dealing with gender identity issues and updated content related to childhood trauma. Social work students will appreciate the attention to DSM-5 and the numerous ways to directly apply the ideas in the text in their field settings.”

—Michael S. Kelly, PhD, LCSW, Professor and Director, School Mental Health Advanced Practice Program, Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work

“This book will inspire creative therapists of all disciplines to practice in a way informed by contemporary social, cultural, economic, and political transformations. The fourth edition highlights clinical tools and formats for addressing modern issues affecting children, such as poverty, violence, immigration, gender identity issues, terrorism, and demographic shifts. It includes crisis principles and insightful considerations regarding how to situate creative and other therapies within a crisis team response. Creative therapists need not only to hone their clinical skills, but also to deliver care thoughtfully and effectively in the multiple contexts of a child’s life, including the home, school, and community. Nancy Boyd Webb guides practitioners to do just that.”

—Sarah C. Patton, PsyD, Primary Therapist, The Renfrew Center of Orlando

“An essential text. Webb provides guidance, wisdom, and inspiration. For courses on practice with children and families, this text is especially helpful as a step-by step guide to thoughtful, diversity-sensitive practice. It helps practitioners who are just starting out develop the capacity to work with challenging and complex populations. I found the text to be a wonderful companion to classroom discussions, with students expressing a significant connection to the realism and depth of the case studies.”

—Michael O. Weiner, LCSW, School of Social Work, Adelphi University

Table of Contents

Foreword, Luis H. Zayas

I. An Ecological–Developmental Framework for Helping Children

1. The Challenge of Meeting Children’s Needs in the Context of Difficult Family and Community Environments

2. Challenges for Practitioners in Helping Children

II. The Process of Helping Children: A Running Case Illustration of a Child in a Single-Parent Homeless Family

3. Building Relationships with All Relevant Systems

4. The Biopsychosocial Assessment of the Child

5. Contracting, Planning Interventions, and Tracking Progress

III. Different Methods of Helping Children

6. Helping the Family Help Their Child

7. Individual Play Therapy with the Child

8. Group Work with Children

9. School-Based Interventions

IV. Helping Children in Special Circumstances

10. Children Living in Kinship and Foster Home Placements

11. Children in Single-Parent, Divorcing, and Blended Families

12. Children in Families Affected by Illness and Death

13. Children in Substance-Using Families

14. Child Victims and Witnesses of Family and Community Violence

15. The Interpersonal Violence of Bullying: Its Impact on Victims, Perpetrators, and Bystanders/Witnesses

16. Immigrant and Refugee Children

17. The Impact of a Changing World on Practice with and for Children



Author Index

Subject Index

About the Author

Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, LICSW, RPT-S, until her death in 2023, was a leading authority on play therapy with children who have experienced loss and traumatic bereavement. She was University Distinguished Professor Emerita of Social Work in the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University, where she formerly held an endowed Chair in Child Welfare Studies and founded the Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Child and Adolescent Therapy. Dr. Webb taught clinical practice at Fordham for 30 years. She published numerous books on child therapy, trauma, and bereavement, including multiple editions of Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents in Crisis and Social Work Practice with Children. Dr. Webb was a supervisor, consultant, and trainer who presented frequently at conferences in the United States and internationally. She was the recipient of honors including the Day-Garrett Award from the Smith College School for Social Work, the Clinical Practice Award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the designation of Distinguished Scholar by the National Academies of Practice in Social Work. Throughout her career, she was committed to preparing social work students to help children and families in need.


Students of social work, as well as practitioners wishing to bring the most up-to-date knowledge and skills to their work with children.

Course Use

Serves as a text in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses such as Social Work Practice with Children, Social Work Practice with Families, Counseling Children and Adolescents, and Child Welfare.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

Third Edition, © 2011
ISBN: 9781609186432

Second Edition, © 2003
ISBN: 9781572308862

First Edition, © 1997
ISBN: 9781572301498
New to this edition: