Why has the language of the child and of child protection become so hegemonic? What is lost and gained by such language? Who is being protected, and from what, in a risk society? Given that the focus is overwhelmingly on those families who are multiply deprived, do services reinforce or ameliorate such deprivations? And is it ethical to remove children from their parents in a society riven by inequalities?
This timely book challenges a child protection culture that has become mired in muscular authoritarianism towards multiply deprived families. It calls for family-minded humane practice where children are understood as relational beings, parents are recognized as people with needs and hopes and families as carrying extraordinary capacities for care and protection. The authors, who have over three decades of experience as social workers, managers, educators and researchers in England, also identify the key ingredients of just organizational cultures where learning is celebrated.
This important book will be required reading for students on qualifying and post-qualifying courses in child protection, social workers, managers, academics and policy makers.
Brid Featherstone is Professor of Social Care at the Open University and has extensive experience of researching gender issues in child protection.
Sue White is Professor of Social Work (Children and Families) at the University of Birmingham and undertakes research on systems design in child protection.
Kate Morris is Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Nottingham and studies family minded practices in child protection
"A stimulating textbook with very contemporary and contested approches to child care in both policy and practice." Gillian Ruth, University of Sussex.
"This book offers challenges to students' perceptions of the accepted ceonception of child protection. It enables them to interrogate safeguarding in the broader social policy concept and develop their own understanding of a critical narrative." John Grace, Newman University College.
"Marvellous, challenging and engaging." Professor the Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, Loughborough University
"This is a very well-written book and has received wide commendation from students and lecturers. It offers a refreshing approach to working with children and families." Bridget Ng'andu, Ruskin College.
"This book provides a very welcome oasis in the current desert of punitive and unhelpful public and professional rhetoric about the ends and means of child protection. For practitioners, policy makers and academics this honest and informed discussion of key issues should prove a source of support and intellectual stimulus." Professor Jane Tunstill, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, Kings College London
"A sustained and passionate argument that urges us to think differently about the work that we do and the families with whom we engage." Brid Featherstone, Sue White and Kate Morris.
"All social workers should read and digest this important book." Dr Steve Rowgowski, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
"An indispensable analysis delivered with great intellectual rigour and passion that shows how three decades of child protection have isolated the child, turned parents into the invisible enemy and side-lined the rich assets to be found in relationships that can and should be mended." Yvonne Roberts, Chief Leader Writer, The Observer
"This timely text’s erudite and compelling analysis challenges us to rethink our protective approaches and practice. Its conceptual and ethical framework is essential for those seeking to reform child protection." Bob Lonne, Professor of Social Work, Queensland University of Technology
"This collaboration between three highly respected social work educators draws on their practice and research experience. It speaks to a model of relationship-based, empathic, practice with children, their parents and wider families that is both humane and realistic about the need to combine protection with professional discretion and creative helping. It is essential reading for both new and experienced social workers at a time when the components of child and family social work, and of qualifying and post-qualifying education, are hotly contested." Emeritus Professor June Thoburn, University of East Anglia