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Re-Imagining Child Protection

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.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Re-imagining child protection in the context of re-imagining welfare; We need to talk about ethics; Developing research mindedness in learning cultures; Towards a Just Culture: Designing Humane Social Work Organisations; Getting on and getting by: living with poverty; Thinking afresh about relationships: Men, women, parents and services; Tainted love: how dangerous families became troubled; Conclusion; References.

About the Author

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 of 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


"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 "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 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.

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