4: Child protection and contextual safeguarding responses to extra-familial harm

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This chapter highlights how practice with children and families, where there might be child welfare/safety concerns, has become more proceduralised and bureaucratised, with monitoring and surveillance often dominating rather than genuine help and support. It is a move from a concern with therapy and welfare to surveillance and control and involves completing bureaucracy speedily rather than relationship building. Such comments equally apply to the recent emergence of contextual safeguarding of children and young people beyond the family home. Nevertheless, critical social work possibilities remain in the form of ‘critical child protection’, a humane practice with children and families which addresses issues such as poverty and inequality which impinge on parenting.

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