Money was already tight for UK families living on a low income before the COVID-19 pandemic, but national lockdowns made life much harder.
Telling the stories of these families, this book exposes the ways that pre-existing inequalities, insecurities and hardships were amplified during the pandemic for families who were already in poverty before COVID-19, as well as those pushed into poverty by the economic fallout it created.
Drawing on the Covid Realities research programme, and developed in partnership with parents and carers, it explores experiences of home-schooling, social security receipt and government, community and charitable support. This book sets out all that is wrong with the status quo, while also offering a powerful agenda for change.
Also see ‘COVID-19 Collaborations: Researching Poverty and Low-Income Family Life during the Pandemic’ (Open Access) to find out more about the challenges of carrying out research during COVID-19.
For anyone studying childhood or families a consideration of the state may not always seem obvious, yet a good critical knowledge of politics, social policy and social theory is vital to understanding their impacts upon families’ everyday lives. Accessibly written and assuming no prior understanding, it shows how key concepts, including vulnerability, risk, resilience, safeguarding and wellbeing are socially constructed.
Carefully designed to support learning, it provides students with clear guidance on how to use what they have read when writing academic assignments alongside questions designed to support the develop of critical thinking skills.
Covering issues from what the family is within a multicultural society, through issues around poverty, social mobility and life-chances, this book gives students an excellent grounding in matters relating to work with children and families. It features:
‘using this chapter’ sections showing how the content can be used in assignments;
tips on applying critical thinking to books and articles – and how to make use of such thinking in essays;
Rather than being seen simply as social policy implementors, in recent decades there has been increasing recognition of social workers as professionals with unique knowledge and insights to contribute to policy formulation and social justice.
This book offers a path-breaking, evidence-based theoretical framework for understanding why social workers engage in policy, both as professionals and citizens, and the impact of their actions. Drawing on concepts from social work and the political, sociological and policy sciences, the authors set out the implications of this framework for research, education and practice.
than for older children; disability: if we fail to recognise the additional vulnerabilities faced by some, but not all, disabled children, then we are unable to promote resilience; being different in a way that means exposure to prejudice or unwanted attention; those already considered to be a problem, such as young offenders or children in care. This is not to say that we think that these groups are necessarily a problem! Following from this, vulnerability often becomes linked to types of need and the idea of children in need comes to be seen as somewhat
some, others had a more tempered approach. Erik’s tree went up just in time – two days before Christmas. Despite his attempts to find some Christmas spirit, his description reflects a common experience, everything was tarnished by COVID: I have put up a Christmas tree and will try to make things as special as possible but I could never have imagined living through a time like this. Christmas in the pandemic 115 Thea’s tree kicked up active reminders of her personal and social disability. She tried to get her tree down from the loft in late October, keen for
tired arguments about the need to prioritise support for ‘working families’. A continuation of harmful and inaccurate stereotypes of deserving and undeserving populations, then, A Year Like No Other 208 ignoring the unpaid work involved in parenting and caring, and the needs of people with health conditions and disabilities. A deliberate and callous missed opportunity to help families facing a cold and difficult winter in the midst of a global pandemic. It seemed that the promise to build back better was nothing more than empty words. By Spring 2022, families
underlying economic problems, which are beyond an individual’s control. It steps in when the market economy fails to adequately meet people’s basic needs. It should also step in when misfortune strikes – bereavement, ill health, disability – all circumstances that can cause us to lose our balance. The image of the safety net also positions the help we might receive as below us, as something we hope not to need. Yet, informal forms of help and support are often tightly intertwined with the most important relationships of our lives. And the social security system
our societal structures simply fail to care, instead performing what Doreen Lawrence characterises as ‘institutional indifference’5 towards those experiencing poverty, disability, discrimination and other (often overlapping) vulnerabilities. This failure to care predates the pandemic and meant that we entered it almost spectacularly ill-equipped to get through it.6 At the height of the crisis as we all clapped for carers it felt like change might just come, as if there might be a rebalancing towards embracing and rewarding care. But that change now seems
suggested in Chapter 8 . One other word of caution is required. It is always important to see things as dynamic and to recognise that the risk of harm faced by a child or young person will not remain constant; nor will the child’s ability or inability to deal with risks. For example, if, as we have said, the child is very young, then the risk is greater. As the child grows older so risk may be lessened. Think about the implications for children who are disabled, though, if achieving independence is important in reducing risks and if this is impacted by their disability
such families across 2020/21. A Year Like No Other 40 Families felt let down and neglected by a government that seemed uninterested in and unaware of the needs of households living in poverty. They were consequently often reliant on and immensely thankful for food charity, as Erik, a single dad of one receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA), told us: Since shortly after the first lockdown started we have been receiving help from a local food bank with weekly food parcels which we could not have managed without