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Enough is enough: How social workers make judgements when intervening to safeguard neglected children

Price, Martin Kinsey 2018. Enough is enough: How social workers make judgements when intervening to safeguard neglected children. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

Understanding and responding to the complex causes and effects of children’s experience of neglect is a challenge for society and government. Judging its chronicity, severity and impact on children and delivering timely and proportionate services, are core functions of statutory social work. This thesis examines how assessments and decisions are made in neglect cases. Its findings draw on the narratives of social workers and team managers based in two Welsh local authorities. The practitioners are consistent in describing the organisational parameters and imperatives, and their experience of delivering their roles and responsibilities. They acknowledge the environmental pressures that influence how parents live and behave, and the histories and circumstances that contribute to their limitations as parents. They are much less clear about the effect on their practice of the partially resolved, inter-related practice-moral phenomena such as cause and effect and agency and responsibility. The practitioners recognise that critical decisions about children’s futures are founded on how they and the parents exercise their respective proxy and individual agency. The family-professional relationship is characterised as seeking a complementary approach to meeting common goals through co-agency. The location of the practitioners’ work with families lies somewhere between their designation of just good enough parenting and causing significant harm, focusing on the immediate presentation, and making judgements about the directions of the case and the allocation of limited resources. The impact of poverty and intergenerational/community deprivation on the parenting and the children is described, but not approached, as issues that social work can tackle beyond the immediate family. The practitioners generally accept the focus of their practice as located at the point of children’s greatest need and risk. Whether due to political and budgetary constraints, or organisational incapacity for change, the status quo for social work has settled on a high plateau of intervention.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 October 2018
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:26
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/115788

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