Social Work Practice with Children. 4th Edition


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 8 1/2″ x 11″ size.

New to This Edition

  • Chapter on working with immigrant and refugee children.
  • Coverage of additional evidence-based practices for intervening with kids.
  • Discussion of therapist self-care.
  • Coverage of working with gender-nonconforming children.
  • Updated for DSM-5, and features up-to-date research on brain development, trauma, and more.


  • 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
  • Appendices References Author Index Subject Index

Author Bio:

Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, LICSW, RPT-S, is a leading authority on play therapy with children who have experienced loss and traumatic bereavement. She is University Distinguished Professor Emerita of Social Work in the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University, where she 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 has published numerous books on child therapy, trauma, and bereavement, including Helping Bereaved Children, Third Edition; Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents in Crisis, Fourth Edition; and Social Work Practice with Children, Fourth Edition. Dr. Webb is an active supervisor, consultant, and trainer who presents frequently at conferences in the United States and internationally. She is a 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.


“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.