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- Author or Editor: Anna Gupta x
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There has been much discussion in the past few years about how social workers in England should respond to cases of child neglect, with calls to take more children into care and speed up the process towards adoption. In this article it is argued that current dominant discourse framed in terms of individual pathology disregards the substantial body of knowledge on the effects of poverty and the complex interrelationships between poverty and neglect; perpetuates the blaming of parents; and ultimately fails to serve the interests and promote the rights of many children and their families. Drawing on the capability approach and the work of Lister, the article concludes with an initial exploration of the development of a more sophisticated and multidimensional analysis of poverty and parenting that incorporates both psychological and social causes in ways that challenge the polarisation of the debate on poverty and neglect.
This article explores social work practice with black fathers within the child protection and family court systems through the analysis of case studies involving black fathers whose children ‘nearly missed’ the chance to live with them. Drawing upon theories of social justice, this article explores the construction of black men as fathers and contextualises the discussion in relation to gender, race, poverty and immigration issues, as well as the current policy and legal context of child protection work in England. The article examines how beliefs and assumptions about black men can influence how they are constructed, and subsequent decision-making processes. The article concludes with some suggestions for critical social work practice within a human rights and social justice framework.
Using findings from The Role of the Social Worker in Adoption – Ethics and Human Rights: An Enquiry, commissioned by the British Association of Social Workers, the following article presents a number of emerging themes regarding post-adoption contact and support in the UK. Three hundred individuals and 13 organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland contributed to the enquiry and the data were analysed thematically. Within this article we will address some of the challenges regarding post-adoption contact and locate these within broader, often unexamined, concerns about poverty and inequalities. Drawing on sociological literature on ‘family practices’ and ‘displaying family’, we will consider both the status of adoption and the realities of carrying out post-adoption contact in an age of ever-increasing complexities in relationships. In doing so, we will explore how those involved in adoption carry out such practices, as well as the implications for professionals tasked with facilitating contact.
COVID-19 has shone a light on the many inequalities scarring our landscape. As we look to the future, a consensus is emerging around the need to reject the highly individualistic focus of previous decades and to build back fairer by tackling the ‘causes of the causes’ of so many of our social ills. What might this mean for ‘child protection’, where a focus on individual families and individually generated risks has dominated? We suggest that this model is broken beyond repair and out of kilter with what is needed going forward. We argue that a focus on promoting human flourishing is likely to serve children, young people, their families and society better. In order to support such a project, we argue for the need to change our language, hold broader conversations than hitherto and marry ambition with caution.
This article explores how the child protection system currently operates in England. It analyses how policy and practice has developed, and articulates the need for an alternative approach. It draws from the social model as applied in the fields of disability and mental health, to begin to sketch out more hopeful and progressive possibilities for children, families and communities. The social model specifically draws attention to the economic, environmental and cultural barriers faced by people with differing levels of (dis)ability, but has not been used to think about ‘child protection’, an area of work in England that is dominated by a focus on risk and risk aversion. This area has paid limited attention to the barriers to ensuring children and young people are cared for safely within families and communities, and the social determinants of much of the harms they experience have not been recognised because of the focus on individualised risk factors.