Hyslop, Ian
July 2008
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jul2008, Issue 34, p62
Academic Journal
This article considers the challenges and opportunities facing contemporary child protection practice and contends that a meaningful understanding of child protection can best be gleaned by examining how practice is connected historically and sociologically with the broader discipline of social work. The essence of social work is described as a contradictory mix of surveillance and empowerment. The Victorian genesis of social work is linked to a distinction between the deserving and undeserving, yet also with a theme of redemption and liberation. It is suggested that the positioning of social workers as intermediaries between the comfortable and the threatening classes remains a salient feature in current practice. The relevance of the enduring phenomenon of a constructed underclass for child protection practice is explored. It is contended that anxiety associated with the breakdown of modernist certainties in the last 40 or 50 years has created an impetus to define and measure child protection in a mechanistic and risk-averse manner, and that the dominant instrumental form of social science misapprehends the nature of child protection as "practice". A paradigm conflict is described, whereby managerial policy frameworks fundamentally fail to accommodate the essence of social work. It is argued that the effective development of child protection practice requires that it be re-conceptualised as complex, creative and interactive as opposed to a two-dimensional process of procedural compliance. It is suggested that child protection practice must be reacquainted with the voice of practice wisdom -- contextualised in the same way that social work is itself a process of engagement with social context. Practitioners, educators and theorists are challenged to actively advocate for an accurate understanding of child protection as ambiguous and situated social practice.


Related Articles

  • Senior police officer wants social workers to offer 24-hour services. Gillen, Sally // Community Care;3/20/2003, Issue 1464, p6 

    Reports that child protection social workers in Great Britain will have to provide 24-hour services through 2003. Reason for the 24-hour service by social workers; Need for the availability of legal advice for the workers throughout the day; Recommendation by police officers for an increase in...

  • Student Impact on Child Welfare Services. Swain, Doris D. // Child Welfare;Mar1969, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p124 

    The author comments on the demand for social work student involvement in the educational processes and operation within the educational institution. According to the author, if social agencies and institutions wanted to attract able young men and women to the field of social work, they must find...

  • Collaboration of a Public Child Welfare Agency and a School of Social Work: A Clinical Group Supervision Project. Young, Thomas M. // Child Welfare;Nov/Dec94, Vol. 73 Issue 6, p659 

    The article focuses on the cooperation between the Children and Youth Services (CYS) of Delaware County, Pennsylvania and students of the Widener University in promoting child welfare program competency. In Delaware County, Pennsylvania has a population of 550,000 and public child welfare...

  • The challenge for partnerships. Blewett, James // Community Care;7/26/2007, Issue 1683, p28 

    The article presents the results of a study that assessed the viability of integrating social services for children in Great Britain. The study covered youth crime, child mental health, special needs nursery, neuro-rehabilitation and child development. The findings revealed that many...

  • SOUTH WEST.  // Community Care;10/12/2006 Supplement, p26 

    A list of jobs related to social work in South West England is presented including Qualified Social Worker for Children and Families, Family Placement Officer and Assistant Resources Manager. Data is given for job type, location and employer.

  • Social workers likely to lead joint teams.  // Community Care;12/11/2003, Issue 1502, p13 

    Reports on the assertion of General Council Care Council chief executive Lynne Berry that social workers would be in a position to lead multi-disciplinary teams in children's social service in Great Britain. Attitude of education and health professionals toward social workers; Views of Berry on...

  • Exploring the what, why and how of participation work in Warrington.  // Children & Young People Now (Haymarket Business Publications Ltd;10/15/2009, p33 

    The article discusses the integrated youth support services that convened to explore the what, why and how of the youth participation which was held in Oxford Youth Base, Warrington England. The staffs use several techniques, including debate to discuss the young people's participation. A...

  • YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE.  // Community Care;10/12/2006 Supplement, p38 

    A list of jobs related to social work in Yorkshire and Humberside, England is presented including Qualified Social Worker, Adoption Support Worker and Team Manager for Child Protection or Looked After Children. Data is given for job type, location and employer.

  • Shortage of social workers eases.  // Community Care;10/9/2003, Issue 1493, p7 

    Reports on the decline in the vacancy rate for social service positions in Great Britain in 2002. Rate of children's social worker vacancies; Increase in investments in social work qualifying training.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics