MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Child & Family Social Work

Impact factor: 0.831 5-Year impact factor: 1.132 Print ISSN: 1356-7500 Online ISSN: 1365-2206 Publisher: Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)

Subjects: Family Studies, Social Work

Most recent papers:

  • Predicting chronic neglect: Understanding risk and protective factors for CPS‐involved families.
    Patricia Logan‐Greene, Annette Semanchin Jones.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 20, 2017
    Child neglect continues to receive less attention in research literature compared to other forms of maltreatment, despite accumulating evidence of serious negative impacts on child well‐being. Chronic neglect is also poorly understood. Although such cases comprise a relatively small percentage of workers' caseloads, they represent accumulation of harm that impacts the cognitive and social development of children. These cases can also disproportionately utilize protective service resources. This study contributes to the literature by examining risk and protective factors of chronic neglect. We utilized administrative data (N = 2,074) from a midsize city in the Northeast to examine the use of existing risk assessment tools to distinguish families with and without chronic neglect, including an analysis of the predictive capacity of risk and protective factors. We found that families with chronic neglect were younger, had more children, were more likely to have children under age one, and had higher rates of domestic violence, mental health problems, and cognitive impairment. None of the assessed protective factors differed significantly. The overall predictive value of the assessment was low. Implications include the need to expand risk assessment tools to incorporate patterns over time and identify early indicators specific to chronic neglect.
    October 20, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12414   open full text
  • An investigation of foster parent training needs.
    Corie G. Hebert, Heidi Kulkin.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 20, 2017
    The training foster parents receive in America, pass the initial training required to certify them to take children into their homes, is not standardized. The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (H.R. 3443) requires prospective foster parents to be trained, but it provides only general guidelines for the training content. The training offered differs by state. This research examines what a group of foster parents attending a state foster parent association conference felt they needed in the area of training, to help them fulfil their role. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Foster parents were surveyed and ranked their training needs based on 10 pre‐identified needs. They also responded to an open‐ended question about their training needs. Foster parents ranked training to enhance their ability to help the child adjust in their homes and manage challenging behaviours as most needed. The qualitative data suggested that foster parents have additional needs and some are not related to training, such as the need for respite services.
    October 20, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12413   open full text
  • Building a working alliance between professionals and service users in family preservation. A multiple case study.
    Roos Julie Steens, Koen Hermans, Tine Van Regenmortel.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 17, 2017
    In the margin of the ongoing experimental and quasi‐experimental research projects on family preservation, some research projects focus on the process through which families accomplish change and acknowledge the importance of the working alliance. There is, however, little information about barriers and facilitators in building this working alliance. To fill this gap, we performed a multiple case study with a triangulation of ethnographical methods such as observation, in‐depth interviews, case file analysis, and multistakeholder focus groups. We illustrate how, in a context of managerialism and transactional leadership, social workers find themselves in a continuous tension between complying with the expectations of their social organization and “tuning in” with the service users. This jeopardizes the working alliance between a social worker and a family. Consequences for research, practice, and policy regarding family preservation interventions are discussed.
    October 17, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12405   open full text
  • Finding a routine that works: A mixed methods study of foster parents.
    Jesse J. Helton, Jill C. Schreiber, Janet Wiley, Rachel Schweitzer.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 17, 2017
    Although it is well established that daily routines are important for family well‐being, very little research has been done on how foster parents establish and integrate new foster children into family routines. We used a mixed‐methods, cross‐sectional design, focused on qualitative results to explore how foster parents utilize routines. Twenty‐three foster parents were recruited from a private child welfare agency in a large city in the United States. Surveys were administered to obtain demographic information, overall home atmosphere, and the importance and prevalence of different routines, including mealtimes and sleep schedules. Nine foster parents received a semistructured interview with open‐ended questions. Foster parents reported that routines such as bedtimes, mealtimes, chores, and homework were essential to family well‐being. Because both parents and children had to adjust to living together in an intimate family environment, it was important to establish routines quickly. Foster parents modified routines depending on their child's needs. Along with typical family routines, foster parents reported additional tasks, such as visits with biological parents, meetings with caseworkers, and trainings that affected their family schedule. Results imply that training foster care workers and foster parents about routines can engender stability and emotional belonging for children.
    October 17, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12412   open full text
  • Child protection systems between professional cooperation and trustful relationships: A comparison of professional practical and ethical dilemmas in England/Wales, Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia.
    Thomas Meysen, Liz Kelly.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 10, 2017
    This paper explores practical and ethical dilemmas for professionals when securing the protection of children in the complex non‐clinical setting of individual families. It is based on a cross‐country study on cultural encounters in interventions against child physical abuse and neglect in four countries (England/Wales, Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia). Drawing on national reports of legal‐organizational frameworks and socio‐cultural backgrounds of European child protection systems, it also presents the results of a series of focus groups with professionals. Data were analysed to identify implicit and explicit discursive constructions as well as normative representations and from this deriving the key ethical issues and dilemmas. Despite a shared normative framework across Europe, intervention cultures vary across the four countries and between the different stakeholder groups. Although each child protection system faced widespread mistrust, policy approaches differ, some relying on strong and detailed guidance whereas others stress professional skill and judgement. We conclude that despite a shared commitment to the protection of children, deliberations and perceived ethical dilemmas suggest interdependency between differences in system cultures and policy approaches that inform the character of professional interventions in the four countries.
    October 10, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12403   open full text
  • Children's trust in social workers: Scale development and relations to Children's engagement with social workers.
    Serena Petrocchi, Ken J. Rotenberg, Annaliza Levante, Flavia Lecciso.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 10, 2017
    This research aimed to develop the children's trust in general social workers (CTGSW) scale. Psychometric properties, structural validity, construct, and concurrent validity of the scale were evaluated. Both linear and quadratic patterns between children's trust beliefs in social workers and their engagement with social workers were examined. A sample of 112 Italian vulnerable children (M = 11.4 years, SD = 1 month) were administered the Italian‐Children's Generalized Trust Beliefs scale, the CTGSW scale, and a measure of engagement with social workers. The CTGSW scale demonstrated the expected (a) structure validity; (b) acceptable psychometric properties; (c) construct validity by correlations with trust in significant others; and (d) concurrent validity by associations with children's engagement with social workers. Reliability and honesty bases of trust in social workers were associated with engagement with social workers. In comparison to the middle range, children who held very low trust in social workers demonstrated very low quality of relation with social workers. The pattern was asymmetrical. Children who held high trust beliefs in social workers demonstrated a modest decrease in quality of relation with social workers. The findings demonstrated validity and utility of the CTGSW and yielded support for the basis, domain, and target framework.
    October 10, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12410   open full text
  • One‐year outcomes of youth exiting a residential care facility in South Africa.
    Lisa Dickens.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 10, 2017
    This article describes the 1‐year outcomes of youth transitioning out of a residential care facility in South Africa. Those outcomes are compared with both national data on youth in the general population and care leavers from the United Kingdom. Analysis of the outcomes of 52 care leavers showed that they had fairly secure accommodation, low levels of homelessness, and low levels of criminal involvement and substance abuse. However, care leavers were particularly vulnerable in their educational attainment and employment outcomes and ran the risk of being not in employment, education or training. This has economic and psychological consequences for youth, who are then forced to rely on others for their livelihood and it can increase their feelings of depression, isolation, and despondency. Results from this study provide insight into the challenges and needs of young people transitioning out of residential care, which provides guidance on what to prioritize for practice. This research has implications not only for improving the understanding of care leaving in South Africa and Africa, but also for the existing knowledge based on research internationally.
    October 10, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12411   open full text
  • Negotiating deficiency: Exploring ethnic minority parents' narratives about encountering child welfare services in Norway.
    Marte Knag Fylkesnes, Anette Christine Iversen, Lennart Nygren.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 29, 2017
    Evaluating the participatory opportunities for service users within social welfare institutions is a pressing issue. In this article, we explore a group of ethnic minority parents' experiences with child welfare services (CWS) in Norway. A strong narrative theme was deficiency positioning—how lacking a Norwegian normative set of knowledge and skills challenged the parents' opportunities to participate. We analysed how deficiency positioning was perceived, negotiated, and contested in the parents' accounts, and 4 themes emerged: (a) learning to parent, (b) contesting expert knowledge, (c) learning to be a client, and (d) constructing CWS deficiency. Nancy Fraser's concept of “participatory parity” was applied to explore how current institutional structures may enable and limit parents' participation. The analysis provides insight into agencies and informants' sense‐making processes as well as the diverse resources and strategies that parents draw upon in the CWS encounter. Furthermore, we argue that an interplay between a strong focus on “parenting skills” and bureaucratic and economic structures positions ethnic minority parents as deficient, thus providing powerful mechanisms for marginalization. Implications for case work and institutional levels are discussed.
    September 29, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12400   open full text
  • What can agencies do to increase foster carer satisfaction?
    Melanie Randle, Leonie Miller, Sara Dolnicar.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 21, 2017
    Stable, long‐term foster care homes are critical to ensuring a safe and nurturing childhood for many children worldwide. Greater foster carer satisfaction is associated with increased carer retention and is therefore critical in securing such stable homes for children. The purpose of this study is to determine which factors associated with foster care agencies contribute to higher levels of foster carer satisfaction. Results from a longitudinal study of 137 foster carers indicate that perceived adequacy of agency support, preplacement training, money to cover placement expenses, and a good match between the carer and the child are predictive of higher foster carer satisfaction. A mediation model further points to the provision of preplacement training as key to ensuring higher levels of satisfaction. Results offer new insights into factors related to foster carer retention and provide guidance to foster care agencies about actions that they can take to maximize the retention of foster carers.
    September 21, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12402   open full text
  • Parental perspectives: Risk and protective factors associated with parenting quality for parents of adolescents in secure residential care.
    Annemiek T. Harder, Erik J. Knorth, Margrite E. Kalverboer, Tim Tausendfreund, Jana Knot‐Dickscheit.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 19, 2017
    Although parental problems and poor parenting are commonly associated with adolescents' admission to secure residential care, few studies examined these parental characteristics. This study aims to identify parental problems and strengths and their association with parenting styles for 64 of these parents. We assessed perspectives of both adolescents and their parent figures shortly after admission. Parents often report high levels of psychopathology for both mothers and fathers, respectively, including depression (54.7% and 39.1%), anxiety (29.7% and 12.5%), substance dependence (14.1% and 26.6%), antisocial behaviour (1.6% and 21.1%), and psychosis (11.0% and 9.4%). Parents also report high parenting stress specifically related to the behaviour of their child. In contrast to our expectations, most parents experience a high quality of life. Living in a 1‐parent family, being unemployed and having debts are most frequently mentioned risk factor combinations. We found limited support for the hypothesis that parents with more risk and less protective factors show poorer parenting. Parents with more psychopathology and parenting stress do show poorer parenting than parents without these problems. Based on our findings, we describe several implications for engaging and supporting parents of adolescents in secure residential care.
    September 19, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12404   open full text
  • Young care leavers' expectations of their future: A question of time horizon.
    Mattias Bengtsson, Yvonne Sjöblom, Peter Öberg.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 14, 2017
    This paper investigates young care leavers' expectations of their future after discharge from care. The results are based on qualitative longitudinal data where 16‐ to 21‐year‐old care leavers (n = 15) were interviewed twice, first when still in care but planning for their discharge (T1) and the second time 6–9 months later (T2). The analysis using a general inductive approach showed that their expectations were dependent on the time horizon and that there was an obvious difference between the young informants' short‐ and long‐term expectations. Their short‐term expectations consisted of worries connected to their approaching discharge (at T1) and how to cope with challenges of everyday life after discharge from care (at T2). These results seem to echo negative outcomes shown in previous quantitative research. However, the informants' long‐term expectations provide a different picture, being mainly positive in both interviews (T1 and T2). The results are discussed from a life course perspective, where the informants' visions of their future are framed and understood in terms of the different stages of their transition process.
    September 14, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12399   open full text
  • Portuguese adopted adolescents' perception of attachment relationships to parents.
    Raquel Barroso, Maria Barbosa‐Ducharne, Vanessa Coelho.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 13, 2017
    The establishment of emotional bonds is one of the most important tasks of the adoptive family. Most research about attachment in adoption focuses on young adopted children, as opposed to adoptees in other stages of development. The present study aims at assessing the adopted adolescents' self‐perception of attachment relationships with their adoptive parents, by pairing them with a group of institutionalized adolescents and another one of adolescents in the community. One hundred sixty‐five adolescents (55 adopted, 55 in residential care, and 55 living with their birth family), aged 12 to 19, participated in this study. Data were collected using the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment to assess attachment relationships with parents on three dimensions: trust, communication, and alienation. The results showed that adoptees perceived their relationship with their parents in a similar way to peers in the community and presented higher results when compared to institutionalized adolescents in trust and communication and lower scores in alienation. The results highlighted the relevance of family context experiences and suggested that adoption can offer the possibility of building a secure attachment relationship, which is not the case in the context of collective care, as happens within institutionalized care.
    September 13, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12401   open full text
  • Left behind: How to encourage biological parents' involvement in their children's group homes.
    Yafit Sulimani‐Aidan.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 31, 2017
    This paper addresses the challenges and benefits of involving biological parents in group homes in Israel and presents various means to encourage their involvement in care. Using family systems theories and the concept of co‐parenting, it analyses the fragile and complex relationship caseworkers and foster parents have with biological parents. The paper presents four components that might play a role in encouraging parental involvement to benefit their children's adjustment. The components are demonstrated through case studies and include assessing the family profile; addressing the family's needs within the child's intervention plan; training biological and foster parents; and building co‐parenting between biological and foster parents.
    August 31, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12397   open full text
  • Families beyond boundaries: Conceptualising kinship in gay and lesbian adoption and fostering.
    Kate Wood.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 23, 2017
    This paper discusses some key findings taken from a qualitative study conducted with gay and lesbian adopters and foster carers in England and Wales. The study examined the experiences of 24 self‐identified lesbians and gay men, who had been involved in adoption or fostering processes since the introduction of the Adoption and Children Act, 2002. This article will explore why participants chose to adopt or foster and their approach to relationships generated through these routes. Findings indicate that gay and lesbian applicants troubled dominant conceptualisations of family and kinship and revealed both heteronormative and nuclear constructions of parenting within adoption and fostering social work. In contrast, participants often demonstrated a reflexive and creative approach to caring for looked after children. This paper will therefore consider how professionals can recognise nuanced or complex relationships, situated beyond traditional frameworks, through drawing upon wider concepts within sociological literature.
    August 23, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12394   open full text
  • Partners in practice: Developing integrated learning opportunities on the Frontline child and family social work qualifying programme.
    Alison Domakin, Liz Curry.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 23, 2017
    The Frontline programme is a social work qualifying route, in England, featuring a different approach to curriculum design and delivery. Students are based in groups of 4, learning through practicing social work in a statutory child and family social work setting, alongside a Consultant Social Worker (in the role of practice educator). They are also supported by an Academic Tutor who works in partnership with the Consultant Social Worker to facilitate learning. A weekly “unit meeting” is a foundational aspect of the programme, providing opportunities for in‐depth discussion, teaching, and reflection on practice with families. The authors worked together over the first 2 cohorts of the programme and undertook action research to explore the learning opportunities that arise when academic staff and practitioners work side by side to support student learning in this model. Three broad themes were identified which were considered to be significant in helping students to learn which are explored in the paper: Learning through engaging in joint dialogue about practice in a unit meeting The influence of relationships on learning in social work The importance of a connected model of learning which has practice with children and families at its heart
    August 23, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12396   open full text
  • The transition to adulthood from care as a struggle for recognition.
    Veronika Paulsen, Nigel Thomas.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 11, 2017
    This article explores young people's experiences in the transition to adulthood from child welfare services and how Honneth's theory of recognition can be useful as an analytical tool to help us understand these experiences. The underpinning empirical research consisted of interviews and focus groups with 43 adolescents who had been in contact with Norwegian child welfare services. Three themes emerged as particularly important: having good relationships to caring adults, being listened to and able to influence their own lives, and receiving support and encouragement. The research shows how young people's difficulties in leaving care can be understood as experiences of misrecognition and points to some ways in which these can be overcome.
    August 11, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12395   open full text
  • Normalizing post adoption support for all.
    Clare Lushey, Lisa Holmes, Samantha McDermid.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 26, 2017
    Within a context of substantial adoption policy reform in England, this paper explores post adoption support. Findings from a small‐scale survey of 22 local authorities in England and interviews with 11 adoption practitioners (from 11 of the authorities that completed the survey) are presented and related national policy discussed. The paper argues that support should continue postmatching a child with their adoptive parent(s) and that this should be the norm rather than the exception. It also emphasizes the need to improve the availability of and access to post adoption support in a timely manner.
    July 26, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12391   open full text
  • Nonresidential fathers with children in foster care: A descriptive study in the United States.
    Yookyong Lee, Jay S. Fagan, Larry D. Icard.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 21, 2017
    This study used the data from 64 nonresidential fathers who had their children placed in foster care to describe their characteristics. The survey included questions about demographic background and personal challenges, the father's involvement with his child in foster care, the father's relationship with the mother, barriers to the father's involvement, and the relationship with child welfare agencies and workers. The average age of the participants was about 39 years, and the majority of them were African American. About 70% of the fathers reported low levels of education. Almost 69% of fathers reported frequent face‐to‐face contact with their children. On average, the participants were arrested 2.6 times, and it ranged from 0 to 34. More research is necessary to learn more about these fathers, develop programs to help them become a viable source for permanency option, and become more involved in their children's lives.
    July 21, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12393   open full text
  • What social workers talk about when they talk about child care proceedings in the District Court in Ireland.
    Kenneth Burns, Conor O'Mahony, Caroline Shore, Aisling Parkes.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 17, 2017
    Court proceedings are a fundamental and increasingly time‐consuming aspect of social work practice. However, to date, there is a relatively modest body of literature considering the experiences of social workers in instituting child care proceedings and giving evidence in court. This paper draws on data gathered as part of an in‐depth qualitative study of professional experiences of District Court child care proceedings in Ireland and presents findings regarding the experiences of social workers in bringing court applications for child protection orders. It seeks to answer 2 key questions: First, how do child protection and welfare social workers experience the adversarial nature of child care proceedings in the District Court? Second, what are the views of child protection and welfare social workers on the strengths and weaknesses of child care proceedings as a decision‐making model for children and young people? The main findings are that social workers expressed significant reservations about the predominantly adversarial model that currently operates in Irish child care proceedings and about the level of respect that social workers are afforded within the operation of the system.
    July 17, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12390   open full text
  • Inequalities in English child protection practice under austerity: A universal challenge?
    Paul Bywaters, Geraldine Brady, Lisa Bunting, Brigid Daniel, Brid Featherstone, Chantel Jones, Kate Morris, Jonathan Scourfield, Tim Sparks, Calum Webb.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 07, 2017
    The role that area deprivation, family poverty, and austerity policies play in the demand for and supply of children's services has been a contested issue in England in recent years. These relationships have begun to be explored through the concept of inequalities in child welfare, in parallel to the established fields of inequalities in education and health. This article focuses on the relationship between economic inequality and out‐of‐home care and child protection interventions. The work scales up a pilot study in the West Midlands to an all‐England sample, representative of English regions and different levels of deprivation at a local authority (LA) level. The analysis evidences a strong relationship between deprivation and intervention rates and large inequalities between ethnic categories. There is further evidence of the inverse intervention law (Bywaters et al., 2015): For any given level of neighbourhood deprivation, higher rates of child welfare interventions are found in LAs that are less deprived overall. These patterns are taking place in the context of cuts in spending on English children's services between 2010–2011 and 2014–2015 that have been greatest in more deprived LAs. Implications for policy and practice to reduce such inequalities are suggested.
    July 07, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12383   open full text
  • Exploring approaches to child welfare in contexts of domestic violence and abuse: Family group conferences.
    Michaela Rogers, Kate Parkinson.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 05, 2017
    This article sets out to explore service provision for families affected by domestic violence and abuse. For most families where there are child protection concerns, there are possibilities for intervention from child welfare agencies and domestic abuse services, but these have been criticised as having distinct and disconnected practice cultures and orientation. Recognising this divergence, in this paper, we advocate for safeguarding children affected by domestic violence and abuse using the family group conference (FGC) model. This offers possibilities for a coherent response that integrates both child‐ and women‐centred concerns in a holistic approach to family safety and well‐being. Furthermore, it is well documented that safeguarding work involves professionally‐led decision‐making that is pre‐occupied with the management of risk. FGCs, however, promote a partnership approach that engages families in a more democratic decision‐making process. As such, FGCs offer families the opportunity to develop their own safety and support plans for the protection and care of children recognising the family's inherent strengths.
    July 05, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12389   open full text
  • Motivating perpetrators of domestic and family violence to engage in behaviour change: The role of fatherhood.
    Silke Meyer.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 04, 2017
    Policies and practices around domestic and family violence (DFV) increasingly focus on perpetrator accountability. With growing evidence that punitive responses alone have a limited deterrent effect on perpetrators, behaviour change programs play a significant role in creating accountability and improving safety for victims and children. Motivating perpetrators to engage in such programs can, however, be challenging. Few perpetrators seem to recognize the need to change for their intimate (ex)‐partner due to victim‐blaming attitudes and a sense that relationships are replaceable. Relationships with their children on the other hand seem to hold more value. This article explores the role of fatherhood as a motivating factor for male perpetrators to engage in relevant behaviour change programs. Based on face‐to‐face interviews with 18 fathers in a court‐mandated intervention program, findings alert to the need for education of abusive fathers in 3 key areas: the impact of DFV on children's well‐being, the impact of DFV on the parent–child relationship, and the impact of DFV‐related repercussions on the parent–child relationship. Fathers' desire to have a relationship with their children suggests fatherhood offers a viable angle to motivate their engagement in interventions that address gendered forms of DFV and subsequently improve victims' and children's safety.
    July 04, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12388   open full text
  • Impacts of media on sexual behaviour and relationships among youth in foster care.
    Katie M. Albertson, Megan A. Moreno, Michelle M. Garrison, Yolanda N. Evans, Kym R. Ahrens.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 29, 2017
    Youth in foster care (YFC) are at high risk of negative reproductive and other health outcomes and may be especially vulnerable to negative impacts of media due to early adversity and a lack of stable caregiver relationships. The aim of this project was to explore how access and exposure to media impacts YFC in order to inform future research in this realm and promote resilience in this understudied population. We conducted semistructured interviews with YFC ages 15–21 (n = 22) and focus groups with foster caregivers (n = 86). We used thematic analysis to analyse data for themes related to media. Youth and caregivers described four main themes: (a) impacts of media on youth norms and attitudes, (b) impacts of media on youth behaviour, (c) impacts of youth exposure to pornography, and (d) caregiver monitoring and mediation of media. Data from this study indicate that media has unique, important effects on YFC norms and behaviours, including sexual behaviours. Foster caregivers encounter multiple barriers to monitoring and mediating media use for YFC. Further research is needed to explore differential effects of media on YFC versus non‐YFC in order to develop effective interventions and mitigate potential negative effects of media.
    June 29, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12387   open full text
  • Contextualizing case reviews: A methodology for developing systemic safeguarding practices.
    Carlene Firmin.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 27, 2017
    This paper introduces a systemic methodology for reviewing professional responses to abuse between young people. The approach, “contextual case reviewing,” draws upon constructivist structuralism to assess the extent to which safeguarding practices engage with the social and public contexts of abuse. The paper conceptually compares the methodologies of contextual case review and other serious case review methods before drawing upon findings from 2 studies, which used the contextual case review methodology to explore the extrafamilial nature of peer‐on‐peer abuse and the ability of child protection practices to engage with this dynamic. Thematic findings from these studies regarding the practical interpretation of “significant harm” and “capacity to safeguard,” as well as their use within child protection assessments, are used to challenge conclusions of other case reviews, which imply that child protection procedures are sufficient for safeguarding young people. Contextual case reviews suggest that safeguarding practices, and the legislation that underpins them, are culturally, procedurally, and organisationally wedded to the context of the home, whereas insufficiently engaged with extrafamilial contexts of significant harm. The application of these issues require interrogation if social work systems are to provide sufficient mechanisms for safeguarding young people and families at risk of significant harm.
    June 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12382   open full text
  • Dialogic literary gatherings and out‐of‐home child care: Creation of new meanings through classic literature.
    Carme Garcia Yeste, Regina Gairal Casadó, Ariadna Munté Pascual, Teresa Plaja Viñas.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 23, 2017
    Research on out‐of‐home child care has revealed that foster care programmes focused on educational attainment and reading have the potential to improve the academic outcomes of children in care. However, no studies have examined which elements of these programmes positively benefit children's emotional well‐being. This article presents evidence of the positive effects of implementing a successful educational action, dialogic literary gatherings, in a children's residential care institution. A qualitative study using a communicative‐oriented methodology was conducted and involved five participant observations and eight daily life stories with children in out‐of‐home care in Catalonia (Spain). The children's reflections demonstrated that reading classic books, such as Dickens' Oliver Twist, deeply influenced their feelings and self‐conceptions and created new and exciting meaning in their lives.
    June 23, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12384   open full text
  • The ‘good mother’ struggles: Obstacles to the attainment of motherhood ideals among adult women formerly placed in residential care.
    N. Lanctôt, M. Turcotte.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 16, 2017
    We analysed narratives of motherhood produced by 13 women who were involved with the welfare system or the justice system during adolescence. The original contribution of our study was its focus on mothers who were turning age 30, so they were not in that period of generalized instability that characterizes the transition from care and into adulthood. This qualitative study was part of a larger study on French‐Canadian adolescents with a history of residential care. Semi‐directed interviews were conducted with 13 women, more than 15 years after their admission to residential care. Our data highlights that motherhood can contribute to the vulnerability of women who were involved with the welfare or the justice system as adolescents. Our results suggest that in order to shed a perceived deviant label and to compensate for the adverse events they experienced, they pursue internalized ideals of “good motherhood” that translate into restrictions and strain. Furthermore, they tend to refrain from allowing people into their lives and asking for help for fear of being judged. Yet, as their children are getting older and exhibiting problem behaviors of their own, the questioning of their parental practices and skills only becomes more intense.
    June 16, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12386   open full text
  • The relationship between foster care families and birth families in a child welfare context: The determining factors.
    D. Chateauneuf, D. Turcotte, S. Drapeau.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 16, 2017
    Children placed in foster care families usually continue to see their birth parents in supervised and home visits. These children deal with the fact that they belonged to two families in a context where the relationship between the two families is sometimes complex and tense. Based on 45 semi‐structured interviews conducted with foster care families and kinship foster care families, the present study examines the relationship between foster care parents and birth parents in a placement context, and focuses on the factors affecting the nature and quality of this relationship. The results showed that the quality of the relationship dynamics varies according to the following: how well and how often the parent–child visits took place, the birth parents' characteristics, and the foster carers' attitudes. The results also showed that placements in kinship foster care families were more likely to result in conflict and tension between the two parties than placements in regular foster care families.
    June 16, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12385   open full text
  • Participation of youth in decision‐making procedures during residential care: A narrative review.
    Mijntje D.C. Brummelaar, Annemiek T. Harder, Margrite E. Kalverboer, Wendy J. Post, Erik J. Knorth.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 16, 2017
    Participation in decision‐making procedures of young people in care is considered a key element that affects their current or future living circumstances and might improve the quality of decision‐making on and delivery of provided services. This narrative literature review, covering the period 2000–2016, focuses on the opportunities of young people to participate, the challenges and facilitators to participation, and the outcomes of care related to participation. Sixteen studies met our search criteria. Several studies show that young people seem to have limited possibilities to “meaningful” participation in decision‐making. Various challenges and facilitators in the participation process emerge with regard to the level of the young person, the professional, and the (sociocultural) context. None of the studies provides evidence for a connection between the “amount” of youth participation in decision‐making and/or treatment during the care process and the outcomes of residential care. Implications for research and practice are reflected upon.
    June 16, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12381   open full text
  • Patterns of offending behaviour over time for different groups of children in relation to time spent in and out of care.
    Carol Hayden, Sam Graves.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 02, 2017
    Children who spend time in care are more likely to have an official record of offending behaviour than the general population. However, there is a lack of longitudinal research on the timing, severity, and volume of offending in relation to time spent in and out of care. Furthermore, differences in patterns of offending by identifiable groups in care are rarely a focus of research. This study is both longitudinal and identifies 8 groups within the care population with different volumes of recorded offending: ranging from a mean of 41.75 (prolific) to 1.60 (low). Substance misuse, gender, and reasons for referral to care were associated with different patterns of offending in and out of care. The study is primarily based on a subsample of 64 children who had offended whilst in care. The subsample represents 38.5% of a cohort of children who had been in care or were taken into care over a particular period (2008–2011) in one local authority. The placements and recorded offences of the 64 children were tracked for a further 2 years (2011–2013). The study highlights future areas of research and the need for more tailored responses to different groups within the care system.
    June 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12379   open full text
  • A space of safety: Children's experience of equine‐assisted group therapy.
    Katie Dunlop, Menka Tsantefski.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 15, 2017
    Owing to a shift in alcohol and other drug practice towards a more ecological understanding of the impact of problematic parental substance use, children who were previously forgotten by practitioners are increasingly being included in alcohol and other drug service provision. Occurring concurrently with these changes has been a boom in interest in non‐talk‐based therapies to enhance child well‐being. Examples of such therapeutic interventions include adventure‐based activities, theatre, yoga, music, and purposeful interaction with animals. The latter approach, increasingly delivered by social workers, is known as animal‐assisted therapy and involves the inclusion of animals in a goal‐directed intervention. Equine‐assisted therapy (EAT) is a specialised branch of animal‐assisted therapy in which horses are used to cofacilitate therapeutic interventions. Although EAT practitioners argue horses are uniquely effective therapeutic animals, a strong evidence base has not yet developed. The present study utilised qualitative methods to explore children's individual experiences of an EAT program. Thematic analysis of interview data found that EAT is beneficial to children experiencing problematic parental substance use as it offers an environment in which children can feel safe and secure and are supported to grow, personally and socially, by mastering fears, making new friends, and improving their interpersonal behaviours.
    May 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12378   open full text
  • Accomplishing irony: Socializing foster children into peer culture.
    Carolus H.C.J. Nijnatten, Maureen T. Matarese, Martine Noordegraaf.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 15, 2017
    Parents indirectly influence their children's peer interactions by implicit socialization and directly by interference. They influence their (young) children's doings by supervising their contacts with friends, monitoring where they go, and facilitating their meetings with friends at home. Adolescents' growing orientation to peers is often at the cost of direct contact with their parents. Potentially, conversations with adolescent children become significant moments for parents to collect information about their children's social lives, preparing them for the challenges of their preadult social life. We studied conversations between in state‐created family homes amongst foster parents (FPs) and out‐of‐home‐placed adolescents, to see how FPs prepare foster adolescents to deal with the dynamics of peer culture, specifically in mocking practices. We are interested in the pedagogical role of FPs in these practices. We find that peer culture behavior is expressed in the context of family homes. Rather than preparing adolescents for peer culture indirectly by discussing possible, or hypothetical, situations, FPs react directly to peer culture expressions at the dinner table. In their approach, FPs demonstrate that peer culture membership is not just an interactional competence but also a teachable issue.
    May 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12372   open full text
  • Therapeutic residential care in Spain. Population treated and therapeutic coverage.
    Eduardo Martín, Carla González‐García, Jorge F. Valle, Amaia Bravo.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 05, 2017
    Therapeutic residential care (TRC) is the name given to specialized children's homes for treating cases with severe emotional and behavioural problems that have been placed in residential care. A recent international review has revealed great diversity in the referral criteria of cases and in the models of intervention carried out. The goal of this study is to describe the population treated in these types of facilities in Spain and the therapeutic coverage given. The sample is made up of 215 young people in children's homes, of whom 93 are in TRC. The cases referred to TRC have been in residential care for less time but have gone through a greater number of placements. These young people also exhibit more problems of drug use, and there is a larger percentage of clinical‐range cases in the Child Behaviour Checklist scales of attention problems and aggressive behaviour. Nevertheless, the results of logistic regression indicate that the only variables that significantly increase the probability of being referred to TRC are drug use and changes of care placements. With regard to therapeutic care, there is a higher percentage in the TRC group receiving psychiatric care, and the sessions are also more frequent.
    May 05, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12374   open full text
  • Parenting and child experiences in shelter: A qualitative study exploring the effect of homelessness on the parent–child relationship.
    Elizabeth R. Anthony, Aviva Vincent, Yoonkyung Shin.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 04, 2017
    Depending on the data source, between half a million and 2.48 million children in families experience homelessness each year in the United States. Recent data suggest that approximately half of all homeless children are under the age of 6. A considerable body of quantitative research has documented the occurrence of poor outcomes associated with childhood homelessness in the domains of social–emotional development, physical and behavioral health, academic achievement, and family stability. This qualitative study presents results from 19 interviewers with formerly homeless parents reflecting upon how the experience of being homeless affected their young children and their ability to parent. Findings are contextualized within an attachment perspective. Parental reported effects included confusion, sadness, anxiety or depression, withdrawal, lack of appetite, aggression, and disregard for authority. Parents also talked about the disempowering experience of parenting while in shelter. Unexpectedly, parents of infants said their children were not affected by homelessness, and few parents identified the need for mental health services for their children. The experiences of parents with whom we spoke provide invaluable insight into what shelter staff, social service agencies, philanthropy, policymakers, and researchers can do to support and respect the parent–child relationship in families who are experiencing homelessness.
    May 04, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12376   open full text
  • Patterns of family service needs and caregiver–child relationships among families at risk of child welfare involvement.
    JoAnn S. Lee, Patricia Logan‐Greene.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 27, 2017
    Caregivers at risk of involvement in the child welfare system report high levels of need for multiple types of services, and their children have high levels of mental health need. Caregivers from families with more service needs, as well as unmet needs, are less likely to be engaged with child welfare services and may have diminished capacity to care for their child. This study takes a family‐centered approach by using latent class analysis to identify patterns of both caregiver and child service needs among families at risk of child welfare involvement. Using data from the LONGSCAN consortium (N = 957), we identified 4 classes of service needs among child welfare‐involved families. We then examined differences between the 4 classes based on demographics, maltreatment histories, unmet service needs, and caregiver–child relationship. The caregivers were split fairly evenly among the 4 classes: low needs, medical needs, poverty support, and high needs. There were significant differences between classes on assessed variables, with higher levels of needs associated with diminished caregiver–child relationships.
    April 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12375   open full text
  • Family engagement within the context of assessment in child protection practice: The case of Estonia.
    Egle Välba, Karmen Toros, Anne Tiko.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 27, 2017
    Engagement in the context of child protection is of significant international interest, as the participation of family is a central notion in child and family social work. Drawing on in‐depth, semistructured interviews with a sample of 26 child protection workers in 1 region in Estonia, this article reports the findings of the participants' perspectives on family engagement in the context of child protection assessment. Child protection workers perceive the engagement related to 3 aspects: first, it is associated to the acts of the worker; second, it is associated to parental part of actions—depending on parents themselves; and third, engagement was seen as “doing together” with the family, referring to partnership. The aim of the engagement was mainly considered in the terms of empowerment—empowering family to cope on their own and to take charge of their lives. The negative image of child protection was recognised as one of the main barriers to the family engagement. Understanding the family and their situation was seen as the basis for a trusting relationship, being the most crucial factor to promoting family engagement.
    April 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12373   open full text
  • “It's better than it used to be”: Perspectives of adolescent siblings of children with an autism spectrum condition.
    Rebecca Soraya Gorjy, Angela Fielding, Marita Falkmer.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 24, 2017
    This article reports on the lived experiences of 11 adolescents who have a brother or a sister with a diagnosis of autism spectrum condition. Through semistructured, in‐depth, in‐person interviews, these adolescents shared their experiences and perceptions. These exploratory findings can be used to inform the practice of social workers and other health professionals, and future research. Implications for practice focus on the importance of exploring experiences and perceptions of siblings of children diagnosed with autism spectrum condition to enhance support services for these siblings.
    April 24, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12371   open full text
  • Citizens' views in four jurisdictions on placement policies for maltreated children.
    Marit Skivenes, June Thoburn.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 12, 2017
    Citizens' opinions on child protection public policy are a key dimension of the legitimacy of a political order. We have conducted a survey vignette on a representative sample of citizens (N = 4,003) in England, Finland, Norway, and California, USA. The findings show that citizens' opinions are clearly in favour of adoption (75%) rather than long‐term foster care (25%). Context may partly explain the findings, as the responses of the majority of Anglo‐American respondents are in line with practice in their countries but for the Nordic respondents, there is a substantial discrepancy between citizens' opinions and on‐going child protection practices.
    April 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12369   open full text
  • Navigating uncharted terrain: Domestic adoptions in Kenya.
    Denise Stuckenbruck, Jini L. Roby.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 12, 2017
    Over 2 million children are cared for in kinship care in Kenya, and approximately 100,000 are believed to be living in residential care centres. Under leading international policy instruments ratified and domesticated by Kenya, domestic adoption is considered an option to be promoted and regulated in ensuring children's right to family‐based care. In this qualitative study, the authors interviewed 21 participants regarding the cultural and social contexts of domestic adoption in Kenya. Common beliefs and attitudes reflect a misunderstanding of the legal implications of adoption, the centrality of lineage as a vehicle for defining family membership and inheritance, and strong stigma regarding infertility. Main barriers to adoption include fear of exposing infertility, worry about corrupt practices, and reluctance to grant full inheritance rights to a child unrelated by blood. Despite these challenges, some couples are adopting to fulfil their desire for a child, as an expression of charity, and in some cases for practical reasons such as obtaining insurance for a kin child. The authors recommend placing children in adoption only with proper preparation and ethical procedures and suggest long‐term approaches to promoting adoptions that will ensure full rights of family membership for the child.
    April 12, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12365   open full text
  • Mental health and wellbeing of care leavers: Making sense of their perspectives.
    Wendy Sims‐Schouten, Carol Hayden.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 11, 2017
    Despite considerable quantifiable data about the circumstances of care leavers in the United Kingdom, there is less qualitative data about how these circumstances are experienced. This article is underpinned by positioning theory, with a particular focus on the unfolding personal narratives of young care leavers in relation to their mental health and wellbeing and the role of a life‐skills programme in supporting them in this respect. The research illustrates that leaving care projects, such as the one in the current study, are more focused on employment and housing issues than on addressing the mental health and wellbeing needs of young people. Our analysis of interviews with young people illustrates the ambiguity of understandings of concepts such as “mental health” and “wellbeing,” and the complexity of responses to questioning around this area. This illustrates one of the major problems in evaluating the outputs and outcomes of such projects in terms of simplistic targets, where mental health and wellbeing are not clearly defined or understood by young people themselves. The current research provides a more complex picture. More research is needed that involves in‐depth and longitudinal assessment of specific mental health needs of care leavers and how they can be addressed successfully.
    April 11, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12370   open full text
  • Soft, small, malleable, and slow: Corporeal form and movement in social workers' and police officers' talk about practice in a Multi‐Agency Safeguarding Hub.
    Dharman Jeyasingham.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 27, 2017
    Child and family social workers in Britain are increasingly working in multidisciplinary settings such as Multi‐Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASHs). This article uses discourse analysis techniques to examine data from an ethnographic study of children's social workers and police officers working together in a MASH, considering the corporeal forms and movements that practitioners evoked in their talk about practice. Social workers used metaphors of slow movements and soft, small, and malleable bodies, in contrast to the fast movements and firm trajectories alluded to in police officers' talk. The paper draws on this analysis to identify differences in social workers' and police officers' forms of knowledge and ways of valuing practice implicit in their accounts of good practice. It contributes to recent discussions of space, mobility, and embodiment in social work literature and shows how discursive analyses can add to the developing knowledge about these matters. The paper suggests that evaluations of multiagency settings such as MASHs should attend to practitioners' distinctive forms of knowledge and imagination.
    March 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12367   open full text
  • Agreement and discrepancy between children, parents, and social workers on school‐based effort avoidance in child welfare services.
    Hanna Maria Weber, Franz Petermann, Stefan Rücker, Peter Büttner.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 27, 2017
    A multiperspective approach is beneficial for obtaining reliable and multifaceted pictures of child behaviour problems. The goal of the present study is to examine interrater agreement on school‐based effort avoidance between children receiving child welfare services, parents, and social workers. Given previous findings, interrater agreement is expected to be low. Self‐reported data on school‐based effort avoidance were gathered for children and adolescents in child welfare services. Additionally, social workers (using the Teacher‐Report Checklist for social and learning behaviour) and parents (using the parallel version of the self‐rating questionnaire on school‐based effort avoidance) were asked to complete an external assessment tool to compare children's perspectives with the ratings of significant adults. The results confirmed significant discrepancies between parents' and children's ratings on effort avoidance tendencies. Furthermore, there were only small to moderate correlations between children's self‐ratings and the adults' assessments; however, the consensus between adults was higher than the interrater agreement between children and social workers. Discrepancies in ratings from multiple informants underline the importance of integrating multiple perspectives, especially children's perspectives, in the diagnostic process in order to plan and adapt appropriate care and treatment.
    March 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12364   open full text
  • The impact of resettlement on Karen refugee family relationships: A qualitative exploration.
    Jennifer Simmelink McCleary.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 24, 2017
    Refugee resettlement policy in the United States prioritizes family reunification, meaning, resettling families that may have been separated for years are reuniting and reestablishing connections while integrating into a new culture. Scholarship on the impact of resettlement and integration has focused primarily on the individual level, despite evidence that strong family relationships are a documented protective factor for refugee families. This paper aims to explore the impact of resettlement on Karen refugee families' relationships. Data from 6 focus groups with 36 Karen refugee community members and interviews with 8 key stakeholders suggests that refugee families are at risk of a constellation of relational issues that are exacerbated by the stress of resettlement. Data also indicates that families have indigenous strategies for solving problems that could be harnessed to develop culturally relevant family support services.
    March 24, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12368   open full text
  • Adolescent‐to‐parent violence and abuse: Parents' management of tension and ambiguity—an interpretative phenomenological analysis.
    Kerry Clarke, Amanda Holt, Clare Norris, Pieter W. Nel.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 23, 2017
    Adolescent violence and abuse towards parents is under researched, especially in the UK where reports of the phenomenon are increasing with little clear guidance as to how practitioners might respond. In this qualitative study, 6 parents were recruited through youth offending teams and were interviewed about their lived experiences of violence and/or abuse from their adolescent child. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, 3 superordinate themes emerged (a) the tensions and (b) the ambiguities produced by living with the violence and abuse and (c) the ways that parents manage the harms caused by these tensions and ambiguities. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed, including consideration of how practitioners might support parents who are living with adolescent‐to‐parent violence and abuse to establish healthy and sustainable coping strategies while repairing family relationships.
    March 23, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12363   open full text
  • Grief, loss, and separation: Experiences of birth children of foster carers.
    Dave Williams.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 23, 2017
    Previous research identifies the increased exposure of birth children of foster carers to experiences of separation, grief, and loss due to the transient nature of foster care, but little is known about how birth children manage this loss. This paper reports findings from a qualitative study that examined the retrospective experiences of 15 adult birth children of foster carers (aged between 18 and 28 years) in Ireland. Findings suggest that birth children experience grief and loss when foster children leave their families. They report experiencing a range of emotional responses such as guilt, blame, and sadness. A reluctance to discuss their emotional responses with either their parents or foster care professionals was also reported. Instead, birth children developed strategies to manage the loss, such as distancing themselves from the foster care process. The study highlights the importance of social workers and foster carers explaining to birth children why foster children are leaving and, where possible, maintaining contact between birth children and foster children. Additionally, findings indicate the need for birth children to have safe nonjudgmental spaces to discuss their emotional reactions to loss.
    March 23, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12366   open full text
  • “Build a friendship with them”: The discourse of “at‐risk” as a barrier to relationship building between young people who trade sex and social workers.
    Gillian Abel, Stéphanie Wahab.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 23, 2017
    Young people in statutory care and protection interact with social workers, who hold potential to provide a supportive adult role in their lives. Many however, run away at an early age and end up on the street trading sex for money or other favours. There is potential to improve outcomes for young people in care if the relationship between young people and their social workers is better addressed. This paper uses data from a qualitative study of 14 young people who traded sex and who had experienced interactions with social workers. A thematic analysis identified three themes: the rigidity of social work practice; contesting the family situation; and resisting the at‐risk label. We argue that to have any impact on outcomes for young people in care, social workers need to prioritise relationship‐building above the need to conform to organizational protocols and guidelines. Such guidelines assist the social worker in assessing whether family situations pose high risk for a young person, but the “at‐risk” label is contested by young people, which results in a lack of trust and a barrier to relationship building.
    March 23, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12357   open full text
  • “They tippy toe around the race issue”: The impact of a Title IV‐E program on culturally informed practice for child welfare students.
    Elizabeth J. Greeno, Lisa Fedina, Berenice Rushovich, Jessica E. Moore, Debra Linsenmeyer, Christopher Wirt.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 16, 2017
    This study examines changes in MSW students' perceived cultural competence across 11 child welfare practice skills before and after participation in a University's Title IV‐E program and explores students' perceptions of cultural competency and cultural humility. The findings indicate modest gains across all 11 practice skills; however, focus group interviews revealed that students do not necessarily feel prepared to conduct culturally competent practice with children and families. A culturally informed practice in public child welfare is discussed and includes training implications for Title IV‐E programs.
    March 16, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12355   open full text
  • Foster children's experiences and expectations concerning the child‐welfare officer role—Prerequisites and obstacles for close and trustful relationships.
    Robert Lindahl, Anders Bruhn.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 09, 2017
    The question of whether the Swedish social services are fulfilling their obligation to monitor and support children in foster care is attracting increasing attention. The importance of closeness and trust between children and their child‐welfare officers has been highlighted in particular. The aim of this article is to study foster children's experiences and expectations concerning the role of the child‐welfare officer, and how these constitute prerequisites for, and possible obstacles to the officers developing close and trustful relationships with the children under prevailing institutional conditions. Data from our evaluation of a national pilot project with supervision representatives provide the empirical basis. Our theoretical point of departure is that the relationship between the child and the child‐welfare officer is affected by the officer's role—a role that is negotiated under the prevailing institutional conditions and in interaction with the children's experiences of and expectations about that role. The results show that most children emphasize that the relationship with their officer is negatively affected by a lack of time, availability, and trust. It is also weakened by the children's general expectation that child‐welfare officers only act in their official role, a role that is associated with a formal and distanced relationship.
    March 09, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12362   open full text
  • A children's space? Participation in multi‐agency early intervention.
    Steven Lucas.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 09, 2017
    The common assessment framework provides a model of early intervention, which is familiar in local authorities throughout England, and asserts a participatory framework of child and family engagement. This article draws on data from a research project undertaken in 1 local authority in the Midlands of England, to explore the experiences of children, young people, and their families, who were engaged in the process of multi‐agency early intervention. The article considers the young people's involvement, including their accounts of attending common assessment framework meetings, and their engagement by practitioners. The research found that young people's participation was limited. The findings suggest that this is, in part, a response to disciplinary discourses around schooling and attendance. In addition, the narratives of parents and young people showed that under‐resourcing of work with young people meant that the time taken to build relationships and engage them in a process of self‐assessment, planning, and decision making was constrained and rationed. The article concludes that to achieve a participatory children's space, an active and more engaged model of childhood needs to be facilitated by practitioners and parents outside the school‐dominated space found in this study.
    March 09, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12356   open full text
  • Assessing the value of family safety networks in child protective services: Early findings from Minnesota.
    Stephanie Nelson‐Dusek, Monica Idzelis Rothe, Yvonne Humenay Roberts, Peter J. Pecora.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 06, 2017
    The considerable number of families served continues to place systemic challenges on the child welfare system. Jurisdictions are turning to new strategies to increase family engagement in services and to leverage taxed or limited resources. Signs of Safety® is a strengths‐based and safety‐focused approach to child protection work that is grounded in partnership and collaboration. This exploratory pilot study with a referred participant sample used interviews with 26 parents and 32 safety network members to explore respondents' perceptions and use of a safety plan and safety network, core components of the Signs of Safety framework. Findings from this pilot investigation include insights about how safety plans and safety networks are established, how they function, and opportunities for enhancing their use with families with the goal of providing supports that increase the likelihood of continued safety for children after case closure. Preliminary results also suggest these tools may contribute to reduced re‐reports to child protection.
    March 06, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12354   open full text
  • Leaving the door open for “tune ups”: Challenging notions of ending working relationships in family work.
    Elizabeth Claire Reimer.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 02, 2017
    The working relationship is considered a central feature of direct practice with human services clients. There are many challenges when it comes time to end a working relationship, yet limited guidance for workers on successful relationship ending. This paper aims to increase understanding of the process of the ending phase of the working relationship for parents and workers working with families where child neglect is an issue. The paper draws on data from a small‐scale qualitative Australian study of perceptions of parents, family workers, and supervisors involved in eight parent‐worker relationships. Using semistructured interviews, participants were asked to explore how they experienced the relationship. The findings illuminate important aspects about the ending phase of the relationship; in particular, challenging the idea that parents' returning to services for support is a sign that the service has not provided a successful intervention. The paper challenges social workers to consider recurring parent–worker relationships similar to other professional relationships where there are episodes of service but the relationship is there to be reactivated where needed.
    March 02, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12353   open full text
  • How do immigrant parents of children with complex health needs manage to cope in their daily lives?
    Lisbeth Gravdal Kvarme, Elena Alebertini Früh, Hilde Lidèn.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 15, 2017
    Daily life with children who have complex health needs can be stressful for parents. Immigrant parents are vulnerable to stress because they may lack language skills and knowledge about the health care system and have limited social networks. In this study, we focus on how immigrant parents of children with complex health needs use emotion‐focused and problem‐focused coping strategies to manage their daily life, and how their self‐efficacy and the immigration process may affect their coping. This qualitative study had an exploratory design with individual and focus group interviews. The sample comprised 27 parents—18 mothers and 9 fathers—from Pakistan, Poland, and Vietnam. The findings indicated that the parents' love for their child helps them to cope in their daily life. Newly arrived migrants, single mothers with a severely ill child who lacked support and migrant parents with language difficulties struggle to cope. Some of the stress is related to personal, social and structural problems, and to the insufficient resources available to meet the child's needs. The parents used both emotion‐focused and problem‐focused coping strategies. The parents noted that access to both universal and selective welfare services is an important factor that contributed to their self‐efficacy and coping.
    February 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12358   open full text
  • Emergency out‐of‐home placements in Norway: Parents' experiences.
    Anita Skårstad Storhaug, Bente Heggem Kojan.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 15, 2017
    The number of emergency placements of children has increased rapidly in Norway over the recent years. Nevertheless, there is little knowledge about how parents experience the processes involved in emergency placements. We conducted 64 survey interviews with parents who have experienced this kind of placement of their children. One third of the participants' children had received interventions prior to the emergency placement. Another third were known by Child Welfare Services (CWS) through reports of concern, which were dismissed without interventions and, in some cases, without investigation. The final third had no prehistory from CWS ahead of the emergency placement. A large proportion of the participants emphasized that they had experienced problems for a long time and had earlier requests for help unmet. Another large group of parents notified CWS themselves, and some of them wanted their child emergency placed. On the basis of parents' experiences, we suggest different implications for practice: (a) CWS should be more thorough in their investigation and assessment of the families, both when it comes to reports of concern and evaluation of initiated interventions. (b) Planned placement should be promoted to a greater degree, wherever possible. (c) A greater emphasis on follow‐up of parents after emergency placements is needed.
    February 15, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12359   open full text
  • “Sense” and sensitivity: Informal apprenticeship among youth care workers in a residential treatment center for children.
    Yvonne Smith.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 09, 2017
    This article reports findings from a 13‐month ethnographic study of knowledge use and expertise among 78 workers in a U.S. residential treatment center for children. It investigates the question of how youth care workers developed expertise in an organization that did not require graduate professional education and provided little didactic training. It demonstrates how processes of informal apprenticeship allowed some workers to develop locally recognized expertise through working alongside more experienced peers. It analyzes the puzzling initial finding that workers simultaneously attributed expertise to innate “common sense” and reported that they developed this form of expertise through informal on‐the‐job apprenticeship. Taking a cultural perspective on learning, this article conceptualizes youth‐serving organizations as communities of practice in which informal apprenticeship contributes to the development of locally valued forms of expertise and addresses the question of why youth care workers appeared to differ in their ability to make use of opportunities for such learning. It explores implications of these findings for workforce development in youth residential treatment and for social work education in general, suggesting simple methods for maximizing opportunities for situated learning.
    February 09, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12350   open full text
  • Child involvement in treatment planning and assessment in Israel.
    Shani Oppenheim‐Weller, Ella Schwartz, Asher Ben‐Arieh.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 08, 2017
    What can facilitate at‐risk children's involvement in treatment planning and assessment? We examine this question by investigating the perceptions, attitudes, and characteristics of Israeli social workers. We examine whether their seniority, views on the importance of children's participation, and their attitudes toward parents are related to their report of at‐risk children's involvement in treatment planning and placement decisions. At‐risk children's involvement includes preparing them to appear before the committees that handle placement decisions for youth and the social workers' willingness to consider children's opinions. Eighty coordinators of these committees in social services departments in Israel participated. Our findings indicate that, based on the coordinators' answers, at‐risk children are more likely to be involved in treatment planning and assessment committees when the child protection officers prepare parents prior to participating in the committee meetings, and when the coordinators assigned the case are more senior. The influence of children's opinions on the decisions of the committees was predicted by the weight their parents' opinions carried and whether their parents received any relevant materials prior to the committee meetings. Our findings highlight the importance of involving parents in treatment planning and assessment committees' decision making.
    February 08, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12347   open full text
  • Sharing personal information in the child protection context: Impediments in the Australian legal framework.
    Carolyn Adams, Krista Lee‐Jones.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 08, 2017
    Professionals, including social workers, in the child protection context are frequently required to make decisions on whether to share sensitive personal information about children, their families, and others with colleagues and across institutional and jurisdictional boundaries. Sharing information across agencies and organisations is essential to allow joined‐up service provision and to effectively protect and support children and their families. A legal framework that supports this decision making is a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for effective information sharing. This article examines the complex legal framework that governs information sharing across the Australian states and territories. It identifies a number of structural and regulatory elements that unnecessarily limit information sharing or have a tendency to create a culture that is risk averse, rather than proactive, in sharing information. The article suggests structural and regulatory reforms that would improve the legal framework for sharing information, while at the same time giving due recognition to the human rights that come into tension in this policy context: the right to privacy and the rights of the child.
    February 08, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12352   open full text
  • Working with the whole family: What case files tell us about social work practices.
    Siobhan E. Laird, Kate Morris, Philip Archard, Rachael Clawson.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 27, 2017
    Practice theories to support child protection social work in the United Kingdom, as in the United States and Australia, are being squeezed out by a focus on performance targets and procedural timescales. This study examines an innovative programme designed to reverse this trend initiated by an English local government authority. The programme aimed to embed systemic family practice in situations where children are deemed to be at risk of harm. The findings, derived from an analysis of a case file sample, indicate that the social worker interaction with family members is predicated on who is living with the child in conjunction with the risk status of the case file. Conversely, practitioner interactions with family members are divorced from family structure and the lived experiences of kin relationships. This study concludes by examining why, despite training in systemic family practice, it was problematic for social workers to integrate it into their encounters with families.
    January 27, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12349   open full text
  • Pathway planning with unaccompanied young people leaving care: Biographical narratives of past, present, and future.
    Kelly Devenney.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 20, 2017
    This article presents findings from a qualitative study with Unaccompanied Young People (UYP) who have sought asylum alone in the UK without a parent or guardian. The findings explore how UYP create biographical narratives of their past, present, and future as they prepare to leave care, suggesting that UYP who have settled immigration status create coherent biographical narratives that reconcile the past with a positive imagined future. Themes of return and reciprocity emerged in their narratives as they developed aspirations to reunite with their families and return support received in the past by succeeding in education and careers. Unaccompanied young people who did not have settled status struggled to create biographical narratives and could not imagine the future or the past. These findings have significant implications for pathway planning with UYP, suggesting the need to recognise the interconnected nature of the past, present, and future as well as the role of families and education in future plans. Pathway planning for UYP with uncertain immigration status can be complex as young people struggle to maintain a biographical narrative. Further research is necessary to support young people and professionals with these challenges.
    January 20, 2017   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12348   open full text
  • Practitioners' perceptions and decision‐making regarding child sexual exploitation – a qualitative vignette study.
    Alma Reisel.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 29, 2016
    There has been intense controversy about the appropriate response to child sexual exploitation, with debates in the UK particularly hinging on the meaning of consent and coercion. For professionals with a duty to safeguard young people from child sexual exploitation, a key site of tension is how to avoid limiting young people's experience of agency without placing them at risk. Drawing on new qualitative research findings from a vignette study designed to trace professional perception and decision‐making, this paper argues that practitioners' perceptions regarding what counts as consent are refracted through conceptions of age and choice. However, many initial perceptions of agency and its links to age were modified through the interview process. This has implications for how supervision should operate. These topics raise issues of the need for practitioners to have nuanced conceptions of consent in the context of manipulation.
    December 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12346   open full text
  • A small‐scale qualitative scoping study into the experiences of looked after children and care leavers who are parents in Wales.
    Louise Roberts.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 23, 2016
    This paper presents the findings of a scoping study into looked after children and care leavers who are parents in Wales. Eight parents engaged in a qualitative interview. Thirty‐one pregnancies were discussed during the interviews: 16 live births, two ongoing pregnancies, one stillbirth, one termination and 11 miscarriages. At the point of interview, two parents continued to care for their children, but six had experienced the permanent removal of their child/ren as a result of social services intervention. Twelve of the 16 children discussed in the interviews were ‘looked after’ or adopted. Despite its small‐scale nature, the study highlights important considerations before, during and after participants became parents. Broadly categorized, these relate to the influence of parents' childhood experiences on their capacity to be parents, the availability and adequacy of support during parenting and the ensuing impact of parenting ‘success’ or ‘failure’. For parents who had experienced the loss of a child, some were resigned to having no further children, some continued to hope for a family in the future, while others had experienced cycles of repeated pregnancies and compulsory removals. The findings are considered in the context of related literature and suggest that increased attention is required in this under‐researched but highly emotive area.
    December 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12344   open full text
  • ‘It's complicated.’ Exploring the meaning of sibling relationships of youth in foster care.
    Armeda Stevenson Wojciak.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 20, 2016
    Youth in foster care may be separated from their sibling(s) for a myriad of reasons. Although empirical attention to sibling relationships has grown, an examination of what sibling(s) mean to children currently in foster care has not occurred. This study used open‐ended survey responses of campers who attended Camp To Belong, a summer camp that reunites children who are separated from their sibling because of their placement in foster care. Six different member camps across the United States of America administered camper surveys. Thematic analysis was used to examine 178 responses from campers. Five major themes were identified of what siblings mean to youth in foster care: bond, dependable, fulfillment, despair and impact of separation. Youth shared the positive and protective influence their sibling(s) have in their life as well as the challenges that are associated with being separated from their sibling while in foster care. Implications of the results of the study are provided for clinicians, foster parents, researchers and sibling policy.
    December 20, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12345   open full text
  • Child protection and family support practice in Ireland: a contribution to present debates from a historical perspective.
    Carmel Devaney, Caroline Mc Gregor.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 16, 2016
    This paper takes the opportunity of the current child welfare system change in Ireland to promote the value of learning from history to better understand the interface between family support and child protection. The paper draws from the histories of child protection and family support to illuminate the commonalities and differences that have come to define the two practices. Using findings from two historical studies – one on family support and the other on child protection – the paper demonstrates the unique features and the many integrated elements of family support and child protection in Ireland. It is argued that students and practitioners need to be provided with a stronger sense of the historical developments that have shaped the present. This will enable comprehension of the complex context within which current relations between ‘protection’ and ‘support’ are negotiated and help to avoid operating in a vacuum of a present only viewpoint. The paper concludes with reference to the need for students and practitioners to navigate the complex relationship between family support and child protection at practice, policy and organizational level through a well‐informed knowledge of the historical as well as the present context.
    December 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12342   open full text
  • Social support available for substance‐dependent mothers from families with parental substance abuse.
    Eli Marie Wiig, Astrid Halsa, Bente Storm Mowatt Haugland.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 15, 2016
    Substance‐dependent mothers, who have grown up with parental substance abuse, struggle during and after treatment to abstain from substances while trying to process traumatic experiences and integrate their family into society. The aim of this study was to explore the social support available for these mothers to help them stay abstinent and create safe family environments for themselves and their children. Using purposeful sampling, we approached nine mothers admitted for 1 year to a family ward at a substance abuse clinic and their significant others. Through in‐depth, qualitative interviews, first with the mothers, later with their significant others, we investigated characteristics of the available social support. The findings indicated that the significant others had limited resources and were themselves exposed to adverse and cumulative psychosocial and socioeconomic risk factors. Their relationships with the mothers were, nevertheless, close, consistent and reliable. Supporting the existing social network should be an integrated part of the work of family welfare services aiming to help substance‐dependent mothers from families with parental substance abuse to rehabilitate and to integrate successfully into local communities.
    December 15, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12341   open full text
  • ‘Not a good person’: family stigma of mental illness from the perspectives of young siblings.
    Maria Liegghio.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 29, 2016
    The purpose of this paper is to critically examine family stigma as one form of the stigma of mental illness in child and youth mental health. Presented are the outcomes of a thematic content analysis of in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews conducted with seven (n = 7) young siblings, ages 13 to 21 years old, with a brother or sister identified as having a mental‐health issue. The focus of the interviews was on the ways the siblings experienced their other sibling's mental health and how those experiences shaped their sense of self and family. From the analysis, young siblings had predominately negative experiences, struggled with making sense of their brother or sister and the family as ‘flawed’ against the mental illness as ‘bad’ and experienced considerable family stress and overt family stigma. Current practice theories fail to consider the complexity of these factors and, in doing so, fail to adequately explain the nature and extent to which stigmatization occurs for immediate family members. The importance of peer support and understanding stigma in social work practice with children and their families is discussed.
    November 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12340   open full text
  • Stepping through the door – exploring low‐threshold services in Norwegian family centres.
    Ingunn Skjesol Bulling.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 29, 2016
    Public policies encourage the service system to work in new ways to promote health and increase social equality. This paper presents four categories that show the character of the low‐threshold services in Norwegian family centres from the professionals' and parents' perspectives, focusing on accessibility and participation: easy access, low level of bureaucracy, collaborative competences and inclusive arena. This paper is based on an inductive study in three municipalities that have chosen to establish family centres as interdisciplinary co‐located services that aim to offer low‐threshold services for children and their families. Data were generated through a fieldwork, and participatory observation and interviews were the main source of data. The methodological framework for the analysis was grounded theory, in which the data generation and analysis interchanged throughout the study, and theoretical sampling set the focus for the fieldwork. Exploring the actor's perspective highlighted both strengths and challenges with the low‐threshold services in the family centres. The four elements presented emphasize that the value of these low‐threshold services are not found in one single hallmark; rather, the value depends on an interaction between different elements that must be addressed when establishing, evaluating and developing low‐threshold services in family centres.
    November 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12343   open full text
  • Emotional kinship care and neutral non‐kinship care — the struggle between discourses.
    Lina Ponnert.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 25, 2016
    In this paper, social workers' ideas of kinship care and non‐kinship care as foster placement alternatives for vulnerable children are analysed and discussed. The study is based on group interviews with Swedish social workers, using a discourse analytic approach. The interviews took two vignettes of children who needed an immediate and long‐term placement because one of the parents had killed the other parent, as their point of departure. Domestic violence is a common social problem across countries, and controversies about placement alternatives become even more apparent when discussing lethal violence. The analysis revealed three main discourses: ‘emotional kinship care’, ‘neutral non‐kinship care’ and ‘a real family’. The emotional kinship care discourse also revealed two competing sub‐discourses: ‘emotions as glue that binds’ and ‘emotions as obscuring a child perspective’, displaying a struggle concerning the advantages and risks that social workers connected to kinship care. In this paper, the results and their implications for vulnerable children are discussed.
    November 25, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12328   open full text
  • Perceptions of grandparents who provide auxiliary care: value transmission and child‐rearing practices.
    Cristina Noriega, Javier López, Roberto Domínguez, Cristina Velasco.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 23, 2016
    A grounded theory qualitative study was developed to explore how grandparents perceive their role as socializing agents. Forty‐two grandparents with grandchildren aged from 6 to 12 years old participated in this study. Data were collected through focus groups, which were conducted until reaching data saturation and analyzed using the constant comparative method. Four general conclusions emerged from the study: (i) grandparents recognized the importance of getting involved in the socialization of grandchildren as supporters of parents' socializing role, and the need to adapt to social changes; (ii) they emphasized traditional value that were perceived in decline, and combination of warmth and involvement were considered the best way to help grandchildren internalize values; (iii) interaction with grandchildren helped grandparents to feel active and useful, increased their life purpose and gave them a second chance to enjoy what they could not with their own children; and (iv) grandparents also accused burden and role ambiguity. These results show the importance of developing family policies that recognize grandparents' socializing role. Also, interventions that promote strategies that enable grandparents to perform their role more successfully and to cope with possible family conflicts should be developed.
    November 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12339   open full text
  • Social worker or social administrator? Findings from a qualitative case study of a child protection social work team.
    Matthew Gibson.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 23, 2016
    This paper reports on data from a qualitative case study of child protection social work in one local authority. Ethnographic methods were used and constructionist grounded theory employed to collect and analyse 329 pages of historical documents about the local authority child protection service, 246.5 hours of observations of social work practice and 19 interviews of social workers and their team managers. By interpreting the experiences of the social workers through the conceptual debates about the changes in the field of social administration, the social workers could be seen to want to perform a traditional form of social work but were required to perform a contemporary form of social administration. The aims and purposes of this form of practice could be considered to be distinct from those of social work as understood by the social workers, and as such, the social workers experienced the practice environment as constraining and often felt disillusioned. This paper conceptualizes these forms of practice, contributing to the debates about what practice is and how we are to analyse and categorize it for the purposes of influencing the institutions that create and maintain contemporary practice.
    November 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12335   open full text
  • Collecting feedback as a tool to reduce care paralysis: something for family group conferencing coordinators?
    Gert Schout, Gideon Jong.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 23, 2016
    Family group conferencing (FGC) coordinators in public mental healthcare are confronted with clients who have little faith in professionals and organizations, who hold off decisions in their family life, who avoid care and who sometimes behave in a hostile manner. A lack of initiative to deal with their situation is not only reserved for clients – all bystanders, including professionals, can suffer from it. The multiplicity and severity of the client's problems lead to a situation wherein everyone involved waits for the initiative of the other. The independence of the FGC coordinator – a fellow citizen, who is free of organizational loyalties and comes to assist other citizens in establishing a plan – seems to work well with the client group of the public mental healthcare. However, the coordinator cannot always prevent deferral or failure of conferences. Drawing on empirical and theoretical findings, this paper considers the possibility of collecting feedback as a way to contribute positively to the alliance between FGC coordinators and those for whom a conference is deployed. We highlight findings from three case studies that centred on multiproblem families. The findings indicate the importance of feedback theory for FGC coordinators in enhancing trust and engagement.
    November 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12336   open full text
  • Engaging on the ‘front line’: exploring how family support teams construct meaning in their work with young mothers.
    Maggie Leese.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 22, 2016
    This paper explores the provision of family support services for young mothers within a Sure Start Children's Centre, drawing on data collected within a larger study. It identifies how the family support team attempted to build supportive relationships with young mothers between the ages of 16 and 19 years. The findings presented here draw on narrative interviews (n = 10) and focus group interviews (n = 2) with the family support team that included early years workers, family support workers and their managers. The findings captured how the participants actively resisted the stigma (Goffman 1963) of teenage motherhood in order to support young mothers in gaining the necessary skills and knowledge to care for their child. Drawing on the findings, this paper argues that the building of a supportive relationship enables a young mother to construct positive counter‐narratives about her parenting experience. This suggests that the family \to offer informal early support to young mothers who are at risk of more formal intervention. However, the complexity of this task should not be underestimated because in doing this, the family support team must at all times ensure the well‐being and safety of the child.
    November 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12337   open full text
  • Evaluation of a foster parent intervention for foster children with externalizing problem behaviour.
    Frank Van Holen, Femke Vanschoonlandt, Johan Vanderfaeillie.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 22, 2016
    Background The aim of this Flemish study (Dutch speaking part of Belgium) is to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention based on the social learning theory for foster parents who take care of a foster child (ages 3–12) with externalizing problem behaviour (a borderline or clinical score on the externalizing broad‐band or on one of the externalizing problems scales of the Child Behaviour Checklist), with respect to breakdown, foster children's externalizing problems and foster mothers' parenting stress. Methods A randomized controlled trial was used to compare, at baseline, post‐intervention and three‐month follow‐up, an intervention group (n = 30) with a treatment as usual control group (n = 33) consisting of foster parents of new placements recruited via a routine screening or on‐going placements signed up by their foster care worker. The intervention consists of 10 home sessions. Results The intervention had significant small short‐term en large long‐term effects on externalizing problems and medium short‐term and long‐term effects on parenting stress. No significant effects were found on the breakdown rate. Conclusions Giving the evidence for its effects on foster children's externalizing and foster mothers' parenting stress, implementation of this foster parent intervention might increase the effectiveness of foster care.
    November 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12338   open full text
  • Poverty‐aware social work practice: service users' perspectives.
    Yuval Saar‐Heiman, Maya Lavie‐Ajayi, Michal Krumer‐Nevo.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 11, 2016
    In recent years, there has been an increase in scholarly writing on the theory and practice of critical social work with people living in poverty. Yet there is a lack of research on the experiences and perspectives of service users regarding this kind of practice. This paper presents a qualitative study that explored the practice of a special poverty‐aware social work programme in Israel, through the experiences of women who took part in it. Using an interpretative interactionist approach, in‐depth interviews with nine women were held three times over a 2‐year period. Findings reveal a high degree of satisfaction with the programme on the part of the women. The satisfaction was derived from four main experiences: the experience of visibility, the experience of the active partnership in the fight against poverty, the experience of close, hierarchy‐challenging relationships, and the experience of responsiveness to material and emotional needs. The findings are discussed in terms of three principles of practice: intervention in a real‐life context, relationship‐based intervention and the focus on both the material and emotional needs and their fulfilment.
    November 11, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12325   open full text
  • What makes foster carers think about quitting? Recommendations for improved retention of foster carers.
    Melanie Randle, Dominik Ernst, Friedrich Leisch, Sara Dolnicar.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 11, 2016
    Ideation, or the formulation of ideas pertaining to a particular topic, is the precursor to individuals making significant life decisions. Many individuals think about foster caring long before they actually become carers, and it stands to reason that in many cases, carer discontinuation also follows a period of ideation. This being the case, it is possible that by monitoring ideation, interventions could be introduced to prevent placement disruptions occurring, particularly if the sources of dissatisfaction are known. Using a sample of 205 foster carers, a posteriori segmentation analysis identifies groups of carers dissatisfied with the same aspects of their role. One group is particularly dissatisfied with factors that are within the control of foster care agencies and also reports high levels of discontinuation ideation. Recommendations include that the individual support needs of carers be identified such that customized support can be offered, including boosting initial and ongoing training to manage expectations and ensure carers feel prepared for the role. Results also highlight the important role of caseworkers in making carers feel appreciated and taken seriously.
    November 11, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12334   open full text
  • Making meaningful connections: using insights from social pedagogy in statutory child and family social work practice.
    Gillian Ruch, Karen Winter, Viv Cree, Sophie Hallett, Fiona Morrison, Mark Hadfield.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 07, 2016
    Reports into incidents of child death and serious injury have highlighted consistently concern about the capacity of social workers to communicate skilfully with children. Drawing on data collected as part of an Economic and Social Research Council funded UK‐wide research project exploring social workers' communicative practices with children, this paper explores how approaches informed by social pedagogy can assist social workers in connecting and communicating with with children. The qualitative research included data generated from 82 observations of social workers' everyday encounters with children. Social pedagogical concepts of ‘haltung’ (attitude), ‘head, heart and hands’ and ‘the common third’ are outlined as potentially helpful approaches for facilitating the intimacies of inter‐personal connections and enhancing social workers' capacity to establish and sustain meaningful communication and relationships with children in the face of austere social, political and organisational contexts.
    November 07, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12321   open full text
  • Children's and carers' perspectives of a therapeutic intervention for children affected by sexual abuse.
    Patricia Jessiman, Simon Hackett, John Carpenter.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 02, 2016
    This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study with children affected by sexual abuse who had recently completed a therapeutic intervention (N = 12) and their carers (N = 17). Four themes emerged from the thematic analysis that influenced participants' satisfaction with the service: the attribution of the child's recovery to the therapeutic support received; the therapeutic relationship between the child and practitioner; children's recollection of important aspects of the intervention and the relationship between the carer and the child's practitioner. The findings indicate that the process elements of therapeutic support, including the development of strong relationships and allowing children choice and control, are as important as the content.
    November 02, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12322   open full text
  • Lessons learned implementing community‐based comprehensive case management for families surviving homicide.
    James C. Spilsbury, Nicole L. Phelps, Eileen Zatta, Rosemary H. Creeden, Wendy C. Regoeczi.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 02, 2016
    Family members of homicide victims often experience a wide range of adverse reactions to the homicide. This study reports on the Traumatic Loss Response Team, a project conducted by a community‐based, mental‐health agency to provide comprehensive case‐management services to meet homicide survivors' complex needs. To conduct the study, we abstracted service/process data from open client cases in 2013 (most recent year with available data) and conducted interviews with the project's implementing agencies. Interviews revealed both initial challenges and factors facilitating successful implementation. Main challenges to overcome included gaining credibility and trust from police and issues around overlap of services provided to families by numerous agencies that may become involved in a homicide. Partners view the project providing a range of important services to families, including intermediary/buffer between families and police. Concerning service data, of the 131 cases open in 2013, most were referred directly by police and involved community violence, an adult victim and a firearm. Most of the 164 clients receiving services were female, adult, African‐American and parents of the deceased. Grief support was the most common of numerous services provided. We hope that this study will catalyse sharing of similar data and experiences among organizations providing services to homicide survivors.
    November 02, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12333   open full text
  • Parents at‐risk and their children: intersections of gender role attitudes and parenting practices.
    Jordan E. Montgomery, Casey L. Chaviano, Allison D. Rayburn, Lenore M. McWey.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 02, 2016
    Existing research demonstrates that parent and child gender may influence important aspects of family relationships; however, most research in this area has been conducted with non‐clinical samples. As clinicians, it is important to consider how gender impacts family relationships, particularly among vulnerable families. This study examined the intersections of gender role attitudes and parenting practices among 34 parents involved with the child welfare system and referred for clinical intervention. Using a mixed methods design, themes regarding gender role beliefs and parenting practices were found through qualitative interviews with parents. Findings suggested that fathers felt responsible for financially providing for their families and expressed challenges in communicating with mothers, and mothers described challenges they face because of a lack of father involvement. Parents also discussed a perceived need to monitor daughters closely while fostering the independence of their sons. Results of the qualitative analyses were supported by quantitative findings indicating significant differences in harsh and inconsistent discipline practices and clear expectations for girls compared to boys. The discussion addresses implications for clinicians, including how a feminist family therapy perspective may help promote client influence over traditional gender norms by questioning gender role attitudes and exploring alternate narratives that may impact family dynamics.
    November 02, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12332   open full text
  • How is supervision recorded in child and family social work? An analysis of 244 written records of formal supervision.
    David Wilkins.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 20, 2016
    Written records belie the complexity of social work practice. And yet, keeping good records is a key function for social workers in England (and elsewhere). Written records provide a future reference point for children, especially those in public care. They are foundational for the inspection of children's services. They provide practitioners and managers with an opportunity to record their thinking and decisions. They add to result from and cause much of the bureaucratic maze that practitioners have to navigate. As part of a wider study of child and family social work practice, this paper describes an analysis of more than 200 written records of supervision. These records primarily contain narrative descriptions of activity, often leading to a set of actions for the social worker to complete – what they should do next. Records of why these actions are necessary and how the social worker might undertake them are usually absent, as are records of analytical thinking or the child's views. This suggests that written records of supervision are not principally created in order to inform an understanding of the social work decision‐making process; rather, they are created to demonstrate management oversight of practice and the accountability of the practitioner.
    October 20, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12330   open full text
  • The Children's Delphi: considerations for developing a programme for promoting children's self‐concept and well‐being.
    Elizabeth Benninger, Shazly Savahl.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 20, 2016
    This study is premised on the notion that intervention programmes aimed at improving children's well‐being should be inclusive of activities which promote children's self‐concept. Using a child participation framework, this study aimed to explore children's perceptions of the nature and content of intervention programmes aimed at improving children's self‐concept within two impoverished communities of the Western Cape, South Africa. The Delphi technique was followed with a group of 10 children between the ages of 10 and 12 years who were considered to be knowledgeable experts and authorities on matters affecting their lives and well‐being of children. They suggested that intervention programmes include a focus on safety, the provision of social support, the creation of opportunities for learning and for play and the provision of basic material needs.
    October 20, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12329   open full text
  • Substance use disorders and referral to treatment in substantiated cases of child maltreatment.
    Shelley Steenrod, Rebecca Mirick.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 20, 2016
    Parents with substance use disorders (SUD) require treatment and support in order to provide children with appropriate care and protection. Using the 2012 National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), this paper analysed 464 313 substantiated child maltreatment reports to determine (i) the proportion and characteristics of reports involving substance abuse; and (ii) the child and caregiver/perpetrator (C/P) characteristics that predicted referral to treatment as recorded in service plans. Findings indicate that 12% (N = 53 234) of maltreatment reports involved C/P SUD. Yet, of those reports, only (19%) (N = 10 088) were referred to substance abuse treatment as part of their service plan, indicating a large gap between those who need treatment and those who receive it. This finding is important given that parental SUD is consistently linked to poorer child outcomes. Amongst other variables, reports indicate that C/P with co‐occurring emotional disturbance were three times more likely to be referred to treatment for SUD as part of service plans. Additional research is needed regarding the characteristics that distinguish C/P who receive referrals for SUD treatment in substantiated cases of child maltreatment.
    October 20, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12331   open full text
  • Improving outcomes for children in out‐of‐home care: the role of therapeutic foster care.
    Margarita Frederico, Maureen Long, Patricia McNamara, Lynne McPherson, Richard Rose.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 14, 2016
    How best to support children and young people in foster care remains a challenge for child welfare. There has been little Australian research on the outcomes for children and young people placed in therapeutic foster care (TFC). This article aims to address this knowledge gap, presenting the evaluation of a state‐wide model of TFC known as the Circle Program operating in Victoria, Australia. Data sources for the study were case assessment analysis; surveys of foster carers, program workers and other stakeholders in the sector; and both focus groups and individual interviews with foster care workers. The evaluation found that the Circle Program lessened the number of unplanned exits of children from foster placements compared with generalist foster care. Another important finding was that the Circle Program positively influenced foster carers' decisions to stay in the carer role. Key components perceived as contributing to outcomes of the Circle Program included enhanced training of foster carers, intensive carer support, specialist therapeutic support to the child and carer, therapeutic service to family members and a network of services to provide support to the child.
    October 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12326   open full text
  • Contact between birth parents and children in kinship care in a sample from Spain.
    Esperanza León, Jesús M. Jiménez‐Morago, Alicia Muñoz‐Silva.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 14, 2016
    Within the context of kinship care, the main objectives of this work are to study the characteristics of contact between foster children and their birth parents, and their relationship with key variables of fostering, the children and their kinship caregivers. The sample included 189 children from Spain and their kinship families. A semi‐structured placement interview and two scales relating to the child–caregiver relationship and child's psychological adjustment were used with the kinship families. The results revealed a significant percentage of foster children who had no family contact. Various visit types, frequencies and durations were described. Kinship care with contact, compared with placements without contact, was frequently characterized by the absence of professional supervision, and an affectionate child–caregiver relationship; moreover, children with contact were perceived to have fewer serious behaviour and socio‐emotional problems and a greater probability of family reunification. The regression analysis showed that the main predictors for how caregivers assessed contact were the children's emotional reaction during visits and the quality of the relationship between the kinship families and the birth parents. These results suggest the need for further research about contact, which will certainly have a major impact on professional intervention with these families.
    October 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12327   open full text
  • Parental reaction towards radicalization in young people.
    Elga Sikkens, Stijn Sieckelinck, Marion San, Micha Winter.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 11, 2016
    This paper focuses on radicalization from a parenting perspective; we propose an approach that sees radicalization as a possibility in adolescent development, and as part of the interaction with the adolescent's social environment and socialization. The aim of the study is to discover how parents react when their adolescent develops extreme ideals. Using 55 in‐depth interviews with young people who have extreme ideals and their parents, the parental reactions towards these ideals are explored. Subsequently, the reactions are categorized according to two dimensions (control and support). This study shows how parents struggle when confronted with radicalization and shift to less demanding responses due to powerlessness, dissociation and parental uncertainty.
    October 11, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12324   open full text
  • Individualized education programmes and parental behaviours for children with disabilities: moderation effects of head start on children's developmental outcomes.
    Kyunghee Lee, Marianne Clinton, Kristin Rispoli, Jaewon Lee.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 30, 2016
    This study examined associations among Head Start attendance, individualized education programmes (IEPs), parental behaviours and child outcomes in a sample of five‐hundred and seventy 3‐ to 4‐year‐old children with disabilities. Home language, number of disabilities and Head Start enrollment were associated with having an IEP. Parents of children with IEPs and those who participated in Head Start used more social services, while social support was more prevalent for parents of non‐Head Start children with IEPs. For all children, frequent parental book reading, greater number of books in the home and greater perceived social support among parents were associated with favourable cognitive and social–emotional outcomes. Greater social service use was adversely associated with reading scores only for non‐Head Start children. Findings highlight the need for inclusive IEP policies and Head Start programmes for parents regarding access to special education supports for children who demonstrate developmental concerns. Participation in Head Start may buffer negative effects of social service use on children's reading skill development, although more research is needed to uncover the specific mechanisms responsible for this association.
    September 30, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12320   open full text
  • An ecological systems approach to understanding social support in foster family resilience.
    Megan Hayes Piel, Jennifer M. Geiger, Francie J. Julien‐Chinn, Cynthia A. Lietz.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 21, 2016
    Families who care for children in the foster care system often experience challenges related to the system, accessing services and supports, and managing relationships. Despite these challenges, many families thrive because of unique attributes and strengths that contribute to experiences of resilience. Using an ecological framework, this study examined social support among resilient foster families to better understand how foster caregivers experienced positive reciprocal transactions across systems. As part of a larger study, in‐depth narrative interviews were conducted to examine the process of resilience for families who foster. Findings revealed that families accessed and benefited from social support on micro‐level, meso‐level and macro‐level. Understanding how families cultivated social support across multiple levels offers implications for practice and policy when considering how best to retain and support families who care for vulnerable children.
    September 21, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12323   open full text
  • Putting the child at the centre of inter‐professional cooperation in out‐of‐home care.
    Ida Schwartz.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 16, 2016
    A large part of most children's childhood is about taking part in educational and leisure‐time activities together with other children across various contexts. However, children in out‐of‐home care do not always have easy access to these possibilities for participation. In general, parents coordinate their children's everyday lives, but in the case of children in out‐of‐home care, the responsibility of care is distributed between several professionals and institutions. Research often recommends that inter‐professional cooperation should put the child at the centre and be more child focused. But what does that mean? The paper investigates theoretical understandings of ‘child centredness’ in inter‐professional cooperation. It also includes an empirical example taken from a research project that followed four children in their everyday lives in two residential homes in Denmark. The research explored how professionals work together across contexts in order to support children to take part in school and leisure‐time activities. The overall reasoning leads to the point that for children in out‐of‐home care, the possibility of exercising personal agency in their everyday life constitutes a difficult but vital issue. How children in out‐of‐home care learn how to conduct their everyday lives, is closely related to the ways professionals cooperate across contexts. It points to the need for close inter‐professional cooperation in order to encourage and support children's initiatives and engagements in activities in communities with other children.
    September 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12319   open full text
  • What do social workers and children do when they are together? A typology of direct work.
    Helen Whincup.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 01, 2016
    There is renewed interest in the place of direct work and relationship‐based practice in social work. This paper explores the day‐to‐day direct work that happens where children and young people are ‘looked after’ at home, from the perspectives of children, social workers and those supervising practice. It is based on interviews with eight children and 25 professionals about their experiences. In this paper, I highlight that despite barriers, direct work, which is characterized as meaningful by children and professionals, happens and that the relationships formed between children and social workers are an important precursor to and an outcome of direct work. The research was undertaken in Scotland, and although the legislation, policy and guidance differ from other jurisdictions, the messages about direct work are relevant for practice in other countries.
    September 01, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12317   open full text
  • Me, myself and I: perceptions of social capital for mothers ageing out of the child welfare system.
    Melissa Radey, Lisa Schelbe, Lenore M. McWey, Kendal Holtrop.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 18, 2016
    Youth ageing out of the child welfare system become parents at rates two to three times higher than their non‐child welfare system involved peers. Substantial literature acknowledges that youth ageing out who are parenting are vulnerable; yet, little is known about their lived experiences. Social capital, or the actual or potential resources available from one's network, can provide essential resources for the wellbeing of parents ageing out. This qualitative study examined social capital of mothers ageing out from the perspectives of both mothers and service providers. We conducted small group interviews with 13 mothers ageing out and 14 service providers. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Findings revealed the use of a social capital framework delineates that mothers lacked beneficial social relationships and, consequently, support. A lack of trust coupled with a desire to break intergenerational patterns and norms contributed to understanding why mothers ageing out may not capitalize on resources that providers often considered available. Based on findings, we conclude that providing mothers ageing out with additional opportunities to develop trust, positive relationships with mentors and extended services may help to disrupt intergenerational patterns of maltreatment and promote child and family wellbeing.
    August 18, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12318   open full text
  • The impact of parental incarceration on children's care: identifying good practice principles from the perspective of imprisoned primary carer parents.
    Chris Trotter, Catherine Flynn, Susan Baidawi.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 16, 2016
    Parental incarceration has wide‐ranging impacts on families. One key effect may be disruption to the care and legal custody of children, yet few studies have examined processes and outcomes relating to care planning for children of prisoners. This paper presents findings of interviews with 151 primary carer prisoners in two Australian states which aimed to address this research gap. The study examined care planning for children upon parental arrest, sentencing and imprisonment, stability of care arrangements and primary carer prisoners' involvement and satisfaction with care planning. Around one third of prisoners had discussions regarding children's care arrangements at arrest and imprisonment, although the issue was more commonly raised at sentencing. While there was much variation in the stability of care arrangements, children placed in out‐of‐home care experienced the most instability. A minority of prisoners reported being involved in care planning and decision‐making for children upon imprisonment, and around one third rated care planning process poorly. Prisoners were more satisfied with care planning when there were fewer movements of children, where prisoners felt involved with decision‐making, and when police officers, lawyers and corrections staff inquired about the welfare of their children. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.
    August 16, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12315   open full text
  • On the margins of the child protection system: creating space for relational social work practice.
    Guy Kirk, Robbie Duschinsky.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 11, 2016
    In the UK, a threshold divides between two categories of children, child protection (CP) and child in need. Each category tends to be treated as a homogeneous entity, despite containing heterogeneous levels and forms of risk and need. CP practice, accompanied by regulation, protocols and procedures, aspires to achieve a coordinated multi‐agency response to identified concerns with available resources targeted towards this category. However, it is well known that those children assessed as falling just below the CP threshold can still have high levels of need and risk, requiring a level of social work involvement beyond the low‐resource and low‐oversight model that generally accompanies a child in need categorisation. This paper probes an approach to practice, which divides levels of risk within the child in need category enabling adequate, coordinated support and oversight to be provided for children and families with complex needs. Evidence from our study evaluating this approach suggests that a simple protocol provided a clear process within, which social workers and agency partners felt confident and safe to practice outside of the formal CP framework. The protocol prevented drift and helped to create a space within, which relational social work practice flourished.
    August 11, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12316   open full text
  • Nurturing the virtuous circle: Looked After Children's participation in reviews, a cyclical and relational process.
    Autumn Roesch‐Marsh, Andrew Gillies, Dominique Green.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 10, 2016
    Children's participation in decision making of all kinds is of increasing interest across the world as more and more countries seek to comply with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The participation rights of children who are in the care of the state are of particular concern. Recent research in England suggests that Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) can play a crucial role in ensuring that looked after and accommodated children are able to participate in care planning and review processes. This paper outlines the findings of the first Scottish study to investigate the role of Reviewing Officers in encouraging children's participation in reviews. Surveys were collected from social workers, Reviewing Officers and young people after 69 review meetings as part of an action research study. Follow‐up qualitative interviews were then completed with 10 young people and a focus group held with the five participating Reviewing Officers. The findings suggest that participation in looked after reviews can best be understood as a cyclical and relational process and that taking part in action research may enhance participation practices. While the role of the Reviewing Officer was found to be important, the findings suggest that everyone involved in the care and support of the young person needs to encourage participation processes that are individualized.
    August 10, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12310   open full text
  • Recognizing the ‘big things’ and the ‘little things’ in child protection cases.
    Marit Ursin, Siv Oltedal, Carolina Muñoz.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 10, 2016
    In this article, we explore how ‘family’ is conceptualized and negotiated in a Mexican and a Chilean child protection institution. We draw on empirical material from two qualitative studies, employing a multi‐method approach. By using a theoretical framework from family sociology, we explore how ‘family’ is done and displayed by families of children in residential care despite socio‐economic, structural and institutional constraints. These displays consist mainly of ‘little things’ of a mundane character, such as homemade food, sweets, gifts, clothing and family photos, and more intangible displays as family narratives, affection and parental responsibility. The empirical material reveals how professionals commonly disregard these displays in favour of ‘big things’ such as housing, employment, nuclear family structure, therapy and parental school attendance. The professionals' recommendations and decisions in child custody cases can be interpreted as recognitions or rejections of family displays, as the acceptable limits of unconventionality are legally, socially and culturally drawn.
    August 10, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12313   open full text
  • ‘They didn't tell me anything; they just sent me home’: children's participation in the return home.
    Ainoa Mateos, Eduard Vaquero, M. Angels Balsells, Carmen Ponce.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 08, 2016
    The reality of child protection systems typically demonstrates a lack of attention to the voices of children. There are studies that confirm this fact and offer evidence of the benefits of participation, but gaps remain regarding the elements and processes that favour it. This qualitative study attempts to contribute to knowledge in this area through a detailed analysis of the perspectives of the actors involved and the role that children play in the return home. This article analyses the elements involved in the participation of the children when a return home is proposed after a period of family or residential foster care. As part of the study, 18 semi‐structured interviews were conducted and 22 discussion groups were created with a total of 135 participants (63 child protection services workers, 42 parents and 30 children and adolescents). The data were analysed using a content analysis process and underwent a peer review process in Atlas.ti. The results indicate that the participation of children and adolescents in the return home centres around (i) understanding the return home, (ii) strategies and emotional processes and (iii) social support.
    August 08, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12307   open full text
  • Displaying the ‘professional self’: the impact of social workers' performance and practice on kinship carers' own children.
    Karin Cooper.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 08, 2016
    Limited research has been conducted in relation to social work and the impact upon kinship carers' own children in a UK context. This paper argues that pressure from government policy imperatives and organizational priorities creates tension and conflict in the professional self in the context of kinship care and with kinship carers' own children. It will examine the professional self through social work narratives utilising the two concepts economy of performance and ecology of practice. This paper focuses upon data from four focus groups and 16 semi‐structured interviews carried out with 29 social workers within one local authority in the north of England. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Only data related to the professional self are examined. The discussion explores how social workers attempted to navigate the tension in their everyday practice. It illuminates the impact upon their performance in kinship care and implications for practice with carers' own children. The conclusion reveals the need for social workers to create a space within which kinship carers' own children's voices are heard.
    August 08, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12311   open full text
  • What happens in child and family social work supervision?
    David Wilkins, Donald Forrester, Louise Grant.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 04, 2016
    Supervision is fundamental to the social work profession. However, increasing concern has been expressed over the managerial capture of local authority social work and the use of supervision as a way of enabling management oversight (or surveillance) of practice. Despite the importance of supervision, we have little evidence about what happens when managers and child and family social workers meet to discuss casework and less about how supervision influences practice. In this study, 34 supervision case discussions were recorded. Detailed descriptions are given of what happens in supervision. Overall, case discussions operated primarily as a mechanism for management oversight and provided limited opportunity for reflection, emotional support or critical thinking. With reference to organizational context, it is suggested that these deficits result from a system that focuses too much on ‘what and when’ things happen and not enough on ‘how and why’.
    August 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12314   open full text
  • Facts with feelings – social workers' experiences of sharing information across team and agency borders to safeguard children.
    Amanda Lees.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 03, 2016
    This paper reports findings from a psychosocially informed case study of information sharing across team and agency borders, carried out in three children and family social work teams within one local authority. The study investigated practitioners' understanding and experiences of information sharing, the tasks, processes and technologies involved, as well as perceived barriers and facilitators. It also considered how the emotional and social dynamics of working contexts could impinge upon information work. Practitioners described information tasks relating to collecting, interpreting, communicating and recording information, guided by the demands of rigid organizational protocols. Performance of these tasks was, however, infused by the emotional complexities of child protection work, presenting a number of challenges for practitioners seeking robust and reliable information in the midst of ambiguity, complexity and heightened emotions. For practitioners across all teams, information work, and information itself, was both cognitive and affective and often at odds with linear processes for its exchange across team boundaries, designed to filter out all but hard evidence. Increased recognition of the dual nature (facts and feelings) of information and information work, throughout the safeguarding process, has potential to enhance the generation of shared understandings and collaborative practice across team and agency borders.
    August 03, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12309   open full text
  • The association between psychosocial well‐being and living environments: a case of orphans in Rwanda.
    Tehetna Alemu Caserta, Anna‐Maija Pirttilä‐Backman, Raija‐Leena Punamäki.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 29, 2016
    This study examined how various living environments (child‐headed households, orphanages, street children and foster homes), quality of care and demographic factors were associated with the psychosocial well‐being of orphans in Rwanda by using a sample of 430 participants. Results indicated that children in orphanages exhibited higher levels of emotional well‐being and lower levels of mental distress and risk‐taking behaviour than others. Decision‐making ability was the highest among child‐headed households, while it was the lowest among those in orphanages. Quality of care, such as meal availability and length of time spent in a particular living environment, along with demographic factors, such as age and sex, were also important predictors of psychosocial well‐being.
    July 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12308   open full text
  • The hidden stressor of child welfare workers: client confidentiality as a barrier for coping with emotional work demands.
    Lise Tevik Løvseth.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 29, 2016
    Studies show that client confidentiality can inhibit proper adaptation to emotional work stress, which can affect health and well‐being among help service professionals. There is a lack of knowledge on the link between confidentiality and symptoms of ill health. It is likely that confidentiality can be a hidden stressor that modifies coping strategies necessary for healthy adaptation to emotional work demands. The aim of the current paper was to investigate the influence of client confidentiality on different modes of coping among child welfare workers and possible variation according to proximity to clients and years of experience. The study included survey data among all child welfare workers (n = 142) situated at six office locations in a Norwegian city with a population of >150 000. The analyses included descriptive statistics, t‐test, analysis of variance and multiple linear regressions. The results showed that client confidentiality can interfere with a range of coping strategies which are important to reduce stress from emotionally demanding work experiences among child welfare workers. This was prominent among workers with less experience or high proximity to clients. The results imply that confidentiality can interfere with adaptation to work stress, which can affect the health and well‐being of child welfare workers.
    July 29, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12312   open full text
  • ‘She was like a mother and a father to me’: searching for the ideal mentor for youth in care.
    Yafit Sulimani‐Aidan.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 14, 2016
    Recent studies of youth in out‐of‐home placements have indicated that a successful mentoring relationship in care is associated with better emotional, educational and behavioural outcomes in adulthood. The goal of this exploratory qualitative study is to describe the profile of a staff member who is able to establish a meaningful relationship with youth in care through the perspectives of 20 young adults aged 21–26 who left care in Israel. Findings revealed that the staff member who formed meaningful relationships with youth was the staff member who was available to the youth and familiar with their personal backgrounds, who was able to see them as positive and trustworthy and to provide guidance and support from a non‐judgmental approach. One of the study's conclusions is that staff members who were able to transform their connection with the youth into mentoring relationships were those who were able to make the youth feel as if they were the staff member's own children, and as a result feel cared for deeply and loved. The discussion addresses the barriers in forming a mentoring relationship with a formal professional and the ways to utilize these mentoring relationship components more effectively within the care system.
    July 14, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12306   open full text
  • Displays of parent suitability in adoption assessment reports.
    Judith Lind, Cecilia Lindgren.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 08, 2016
    Through adoption, the state actively contributes to creating families. It therefore also assumes the role of guarantor of the child's best interests in the adoption process, which entails assessing the suitability of presumptive adoptive parents. In the present paper, we use the concluding sections of assessment reports on applicants for intercountry adoption in Sweden to answer the following question: what must be said about an individual or a couple in order for her/them to be seen as a suitable adoptive parent? We thus assume that report conclusions serve to display parent suitability to their audiences. The assessment aligns with Swedish national adoption guidelines, and the study shows how the assessment handbook comes to serve as a catalogue of arguments that not only define good parenthood but also outline a way of life that is suitable for parenthood. The analysis illustrates how valid arguments for granting consent to adopt refer to three layers of suitability. They include not only the applicants' insights into and knowledge about adoption in particular and children in general but also their conventional and orderly life, i.e. a life free from distractions that could hinder a wholehearted focus on children and family life.
    July 08, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12305   open full text
  • Social processes among mothers in centres for children and parents in three countries.
    Tullia Musatti, Miwako Hoshi‐Watanabe, Sylvie Rayna, Isabella Di Giandomenico, Nobuko Kamigaichi, Miho Mukai, Miho Shiozaki.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 30, 2016
    Professionally run centres have been created in a number of countries over the past few decades to provide a place for parents and their young children to meet. They provide children with play opportunities and social contacts with peers, but they are also intended to tackle the potential negative consequences of mother–child isolation in modern societies by providing mothers with some social support. Many mothers find their participation in the centres to be supportive. This study uses ethnographic observations of mothers′ social experience in centres in France, Italy and Japan with the aim of better understanding the potential beneficial effects of attending the centres. Beyond organizational and cultural differences in the centres across countries, this joint analysis of observations highlighted important similarities in the social processes occurring among mothers in the centres and supported the hypothesis that positive social experiences are the basic potential source of psychological benefits that the centres provide to mothers.
    June 30, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12302   open full text
  • Assessment of the developmental needs of children in need: Estonian child protective workers' case reflections.
    Karmen Toros, Michael C. LaSala, Anne Tiko.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 27, 2016
    Child protective workers must be able to evaluate children's developmental needs in order to assess problems and delays. Skilful and comprehensive assessment leads to outcomes for children that promote their well‐being and development. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study on a sample of Estonian child protective workers that investigated their assessments of the developmental needs of children in cases with child protection concerns. Only half of the child protective workers considered some dimension of the child's developmental needs in their assessment, suggesting a profound need to incorporate a developmental assessment framework and implement training of such in Estonia to increase child protective workers' competencies to conduct consistently comprehensive assessments.
    June 27, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12303   open full text
  • Children as capable evaluators: evolving conceptualizations of childhood in NGO practice settings.
    Leanne M. Kelly, Kylie A. Smith.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 27, 2016
    This paper explores the conceptualization of children and how this limits and enables opportunities for children to be active participants in society. These conceptualizations are put into applied settings by showcasing a practice example of a non‐government organization, Windermere, facilitating an evaluative feedback session with children. This provides a new angle from the bulk of peer‐reviewed literature which focuses on academic research with children. The practice example extends the conversation about the importance of listening and hearing the voice of children and contributes practical information to add to the development of child aware competencies. By linking theory and practice, this paper investigates ways of practicing, thinking and acting differently for and with children.
    June 27, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12304   open full text
  • Interventions to improve supervised contact visits between children in out of home care and their parents: a systematic review.
    Tracey Bullen, Stephanie Taplin, Morag McArthur, Cathy Humphreys, Margaret Kertesz.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 13, 2016
    Although the importance of contact between children in care and their parents, when safe, is accepted, there is limited research about supervised face‐to‐face contact. There is no literature that has systematically critiqued how supervised contact can be best delivered. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence for interventions aimed at improving the quality of contact visits between parents and their children who are in out‐of‐home care. Twelve studies were included in this review. Each study was graded and assigned scores according to the presence or absence of each of seven criteria. The studies demonstrated key similarities in the types of interventions provided, although delivery varied across group, individual and educational interventions. Parents reported improved capacity to manage their emotions and parents' satisfaction with the programmes was high. Although there was a lack of large scale, methodologically rigorous studies with long‐term follow‐up, some promising findings were identified: the literature indicates individual family support and group programmes have the potential to improve parent–child relationships and the quality of contact visits. This review suggests that future studies build on current evidence by addressing their methodological limitations and evaluating interventions that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual families.
    June 13, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12301   open full text
  • Home on a care order: who the children are and what the care order is for.
    Montserrat Fargas‐Malet, Dominic McSherry, John Pinkerton, Greg Kelly.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 07, 2016
    Compared to children in other placements, there is much less known about the characteristics and needs of children in the UK who are returned to their birth parents with a care order still in place. That is in spite of evidence to suggest they face more difficulties than young people in other placements. Based on a 2009 census of looked after children in Northern Ireland, just under 10% (n = 193) were found to be living at home under a care order. Case file reviews were conducted for a quarter of these young people (n = 47) to generate descriptive statistics showing a very diverse population. That was followed by semi‐structured interviews with members of eight families (ten children and eight birth parent/s), providing transcripts for thematic analysis. Nearly half of the young people whose case files were reviewed had experienced at least one home placement breakdown, but nearly two thirds had a stable last home placement. Care orders appeared to serve two functions: to give legal authority to social services for the monitoring of placements, and to facilitate family access to family support services. Replacing some care orders with supervision orders might better align legal status and actual function.
    June 07, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12300   open full text
  • The role of carers in supporting the progress of care leavers in the world of work.
    Robbie Gilligan, Laura Arnau‐Sabatés.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 07, 2016
    The aim of this component of a preliminary cross‐national study (Ireland and Catalonia) of care leavers' experience in the world of work is to explore how carers may influence the entry of young people in care into the world of work and how they may also influence the young people's progress in that world. A total of 22 care leavers, aged 23–33 years, were recruited on the basis of their having substantial employment experience since leaving care. Evidence from the interviews reveals the importance of the role of carers in the work‐related progression of the young care leavers, especially in relation to gaining work experience while they were still in care. The qualitative analysis shows that carers were influential in promoting (and sometimes hindering) progress in work and education. Carers were often reported to play an important role in opening up opportunities, giving support (modelling skill development, giving practical help, etc.), being role models and cultivating the young person's agency. On the basis of these findings, we propose an initial conceptualization of carer roles in positive work support.
    June 07, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12297   open full text
  • Risk, resilience and identity construction in the life narratives of young people leaving residential care.
    Gillian Schofield, Birgit Larsson, Emma Ward.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 06, 2016
    The role of residential care for children has developed very differently internationally, but in all cultural contexts, there are questions about the extent to which it can help young people recover from high risk backgrounds. In the UK, residential care has come to be seen as the placement of last resort, yet new government guidance on permanence has suggested that residential care can provide security and a sense of belonging. Narrative analysis of interviews with 20 care leavers identified their different pathways from birth families through residential care to early adulthood. Some experienced a transformation from a negative sense of self as victims or ‘bad children’ to survivors, while others continued to struggle. Key to successful turning points were four interacting factors, all associated with resilience; connection, agency, activity and coherence. These narratives revealed the importance of nurturing relationships and a sense of ‘family’, and also the role of support after leaving residential care, when transitions workers helped them to move on but stay connected. The study highlighted how residential care leavers from adverse backgrounds attribute very different meanings to their experiences, which affects identity construction, resilience and the need for support.
    June 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12295   open full text
  • Predicting the recipients of social work support, and its impact on emotional and behavioural problems in early childhood.
    Meng Le Zhang, Morag Henderson, Sin Yi Cheung, Jonathan Scourfield, Elaine Sharland.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 31, 2016
    This paper examines the recipients of social work support in the Millennium Cohort Study. Using panel analysis and fixed effects models, it investigates the factors that lead to the receipt of any type of social work support for individuals with young children and the effects of this support on changes in the prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems in these children. We find that divorce or separation, and episodes of homelessness are two important factors that lead to the receipt of social work support. Mothers with male children are also more likely to receive social work support. However, we find no clear evidence that social work support has any effect on changes in children's emotional and behavioural problems over time. The implications of these findings for social work research and for practice and policy are discussed.
    May 31, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12294   open full text
  • Enablers of help‐seeking for deaf and disabled children following abuse and barriers to protection: a qualitative study.
    Christine Jones, Kirsten Stalker, Anita Franklin, Deborah Fry, Audrey Cameron, Julie Taylor.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 27, 2016
    Research internationally has highlighted the increased vulnerability of deaf or disabled children to abuse and the frequently inadequate response of services. However, first‐hand accounts of deaf or disabled children have rarely been sought. This paper reports selected findings from one of the first studies exploring experiences of deaf and disabled children regarding help‐seeking following maltreatment. Innovative and sensitive research methods were employed to support 10 deaf or disabled people (children and adults) to take part in guided conversations. The study identifies three enablers of help‐seeking of deaf or disabled children: the capacity of adults to detect abuse and respond to disclosures, supportive relationships or circumstances which facilitate disclosure and for Deaf children, access to registered interpreters. Barriers to protection related to these are also discussed. Recommendations directed at policy makers, practitioners and families include education and awareness raising amongst practitioners, children, parents and carers; addressing isolation of deaf and disabled children; providing comprehensive support services that address the needs of the child holistically; ensuring that the voice of the child is heard; routine access to registered interpreters for Deaf children within mainstream and specialist services and measures to address disablism at local and institutional levels.
    May 27, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12293   open full text
  • Worried, concerned and untroubled: antecedents and consequences of youth worry.
    Catherine Walker O'Neal, Jacquelyn K. Mallette, Audrey Rebeccca Lanier, Jay A. Mancini, Angela J. Huebner.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 27, 2016
    Using a pattern‐based approach, worry was explored in relation to military youths' developmental and contextual characteristics, and pivotal outcomes (depressive symptoms, self‐efficacy, well‐being, coping styles, academic performance and deployment adjustment). Data were collected from parents and adolescents, age 11 to 18, living in the USA (n = 273 families). Variations in individual characteristics (age and gender), military family factors (rank, recent deployment, parents' resilient coping abilities) and family relational characteristics (parents' marital status, warm parenting, marital quality) were related to heterogeneous worry typologies. Depressive symptoms, self‐efficacy and well‐being, varied across the worry typologies. Implications are drawn from these findings for identifying potential interventions that can be accessed to modify these worry patterns and limit their harmful effects.
    May 27, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12298   open full text
  • Informal help from family support workers for families in France.
    Bernadette Tillard.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 20, 2016
    Providing educative help at home means that professionals have to enter into the intimacy of families and share daily tasks often for a long time. Family support workers spend many hours alongside parents, helping them with their domestic and parenting tasks. This paper reports findings from an ethnographic study in which the researcher notes and gathers personal accounts relating to material and non‐material exchanges between professionals and parents. It analyses the various forms of exchanges between families and family support workers that are permitted, tolerated or excluded by employers. It shows the informal side of professionals working with parents at home.
    May 20, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12296   open full text
  • The Common Assessment Framework form 9 years on: a creative process.
    Kathryn Nethercott.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 19, 2016
    Legislation within England states that local authorities should provide services for all those families in need. However, research has identified that regardless of the introduction of strategies to identify need and enhance family support, ongoing barriers to services adhere. Taking a social constructionist approach, this study explored professionals' experiences of the use of the Common Assessment Framework form. Data were collected in four different local authorities in two phases. Forty‐one professionals from a variety of agencies took part in semi‐structured interviews. Data were analyzed thematically. Findings demonstrate that the professionals experienced difficulties in working through the Common Assessment Framework process, for example, in completing the form and engaging families. This situation led to the more experienced and knowledgeable professionals utilising creative ways to successfully navigate the ‘referral process’. Such creative working practices included the terminology used to complete the form and how the process was ‘sold’ to parents, so that they could be in a better position to engage parents and complete the Common Assessment Framework form. Because of this, more experienced professionals seem to be able to accelerate the referral process in order to access much needed support services for children and young people.
    April 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12292   open full text
  • Assessing children at risk: organizational and professional conditions within children's hospitals.
    Veronica Svärd.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 19, 2016
    According to the Swedish Social Services Act, all health personnel are required to report children whom they suspect are subject to maltreatment. This paper describes the organizational and professional conditions in four Swedish children's hospitals regarding the reporting process. Specifically, the study focused on knowledge of risk to children, legal frameworks and the perceptions of organizational support and explored the differences between the hospitals and professional groups. The method used was a quantitative questionnaire, and 295 personnel responded. Hospitals differed in the level of organizational support offered to staff. Importantly, the professional groups showed different levels of knowledge and awareness about structures supporting their reporting obligations, with nurses and nurse assistants showing a lower level of awareness than physicians and hospital social workers. The paper argues that all professional groups need to have equal access to education, with the opportunity to become more involved in the assessment and reporting process and to strengthen multidisciplinary structures. Further, this would reduce risk, dispel the perception that work with children is ‘dirty work’ and counter strategies of avoidance among some professionals.
    April 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12291   open full text
  • Understanding child, family, environmental and agency risk factors: findings from an analysis of significant case reviews in Scotland.
    Sharon Vincent, Alison Petch.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 19, 2016
    This paper presents the findings from an analysis of 56 significant case reviews (SCRs) in Scotland. In contrast to England and Wales where national analyses have been undertaken for many years, until this study was undertaken, the findings from SCRs had not previously been collated nationally. The paper discusses child, parent, environmental and agency factors that were identified in the SCRs and, whilst noting that the pathways to death or harm will be unique in individual cases, tries to further our understanding of the ways in which these different factors may interact to result in death or harm. A significant finding was the high number of SCRs that relate to the care and protection of children living in families whose lives are dominated by drug use and the associated issues this brings, including criminality and neighbourhood problems. Another challenging finding was the lack of suitable resources for the placement and support of troubled teenagers. Finally, a number of SCRs involved long‐term neglect and/or sexual abuse of school or nursery age children who had been known to statutory services for many years.
    April 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12290   open full text
  • The complexities of cultural support planning for Indigenous children in and leaving out‐of‐home care: the views of service providers in Victoria, Australia.
    Susan Baidawi, Philip Mendes, Bernadette J. Saunders.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 19, 2016
    Indigenous children and young people are over‐represented at all stages of the Australian child protection system. Policy and legislative initiatives exist in the state of Victoria, Australia aiming to support the connection between Indigenous children and young people in state care and their culture and community. This exploratory research involved focus group consultations with seven child and family welfare agencies to investigate the impacts, barriers, benefits and limitations of cultural support planning for Indigenous young people in, and leaving care in, Victoria. Findings indicated that cultural planning was of value when it could be completed. However, various shortcomings of current systems were identified including limited resourcing of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to generate plans and provide direct and secondary consultation services to implement plans, difficulty gathering information for plans and some Indigenous young people expressing disinterest in connecting to their culture and community. Complexities in the relationships between the Indigenous and non‐Indigenous agencies that aimed to support Indigenous young people in care were also acknowledged. Participants identified a number of strategies to improve outcomes, such as facilitating better relationships between agencies, promoting opportunities for ongoing cultural training for staff in mainstream agencies and improving the resourcing of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to deliver planning and to support cultural connections.
    April 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12289   open full text
  • Strengths of caregivers raising a child with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
    Aamena Kapasi, Jason Brown.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 19, 2016
    Birth, foster and adoptive parents raising a child with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder know their children best and are well positioned to inform professionals how to help alcohol‐affected children. Telephone interviews with 32 parents were conducted to explore strengths of caregivers raising a child with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and responses analyzed using concept mapping methodology. Four themes emerged from 74 unique responses: ‘change parenting strategy for different children’, ‘use non‐verbal, sensory and physical strategies’, ‘stay patient and understanding’ and ‘locate and maintain external supports’. Results were compared and contrasted with the existing literature. Although many responses were consistent with the literature, strengths previously unreported by caregivers in the literature included cultural practices, communication, generalizability of skills, soothing music and use of a service dog.
    April 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12288   open full text
  • ‘It's awkward stuff’: conversations about sexuality with young children.
    M. Candace Christensen, Rachel Wright, Jodi Dunn.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 07, 2016
    The purpose of this study was to explore how parents navigate sex‐related concepts with their young children. This study used feminist phenomenological research methods for data gathering and analysis. Social development theory and a positive sexuality framework were also used in the study design. The participants included 13 parents (mothers and fathers) of at least one child aged 3–11 years old. The researchers performed semi‐structured, individual interviews and data analysis included developing themes that illustrated the essence of parent understandings about the phenomenon. Two themes emerged from the data analysis: it's awkward stuff and my parents never talked with me. The findings illustrated the relationship between the parents' perceptions and social development theory and a positive sexuality framework. Feminist analysis revealed gender differences in how mothers and fathers approached sex‐related discussions with their children. Implications for practice, policy and research were included.
    April 07, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12287   open full text
  • What families in poverty consider supportive: welfare strategies of parents with young children in relation to (child and family) social work.
    Tineke Schiettecat, Griet Roets, Michel Vandenbroeck.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 06, 2016
    In current European Welfare states, Child and Family Social Work has been assigned a pivotal role in constructing a route out of (child) poverty. The direction, processes and outcomes of these interventions are, however, rarely negotiated with the families involved. Based on a retrospective biographical research with parents of young children who experienced financial difficulties over time, this paper therefore seeks to uncover and understand how parents give meaning to welfare which strategies they accordingly develop and how these perspectives and welfare strategies interact with Child and Family Social Work interventions. We aim to acquire knowledge about how interventions are constructed, interpreted and being used as potentially supportive levers in realizing the well‐being of parents and children in poverty situations and explore how they may influence families' routes out of poverty. Drawing on Lister's analytical framework of agency within the bounds of structural constraints, our research provides insights in the essentially complex, multi‐layered and paradoxical nature of support and suggests that support cannot simply be perceived as synonymous to mobility out of poverty.
    April 06, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12285   open full text
  • A qualitative evaluation of an innovative resilience‐building camp for young carers.
    Lauren C Cunningham, Ian M Shochet, Coral L Smith, Astrid Wurfl.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 23, 2016
    Young carers are at increased risk of developing mental health and social problems. The objective was to pilot a camp‐based resilience‐building programme for young carers. Twelve young carers (12 to 14 years) recruited from Carers Queensland attended a 3‐day resilience‐building camp adapted from the Resourceful Adolescent Program. One month after the camp, carers participated in a semi‐structured telephone interview. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Two key themes emerged. The first, coping self‐efficacy, included subthemes of affect regulation, interpersonal skills, and recognition of strengths and coping ability. The second key theme, social benefits, included opportunities for respite and social engagement. Overall, participants reported enjoying the camp and would recommend it to other young carers, yet they were able to provide some suggestions to improve future camps. Implementing an integrative resilience‐building program such as the Resourceful Adolescent Program in a camp format shows promise as a way of both engaging and benefiting young carers, as well as selective populations more generally.
    March 23, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12286   open full text
  • ‘Do you want to do some arm wrestling?’: children's strategies when experiencing domestic violence and the meaning of age.
    Carolina Överlien.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 08, 2016
    The aim of this study is, by analysing children's and young people's discourses, to investigate their strategies in response to domestic violence episodes, in relation to their age. The empirical data come from individual interviews with children and young people (ages 8–20 years) who had experienced domestic violence and lived at refuges for abused women. The thematic analysis shows that the children describe a wide range of strategies before, during and after a violent episode, that all children act regardless of age and that strategies vary according not only to age but also to situation and context. The theoretical framework used is the sociology of childhood, and the analysis engages with theoretical concepts of age, agency and positioning.
    March 08, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12283   open full text
  • Unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands and the care facility in which they flourish best.
    Margrite Kalverboer, Elianne Zijlstra, Carla Os, Daniëlle Zevulun, Mijntje Brummelaar, Daan Beltman.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 24, 2016
    This study compares the views of unaccompanied minors living in four different types of care facilities in the Netherlands: namely in foster care, small living units, children's living groups and campuses on their wellbeing, living circumstances and place in Dutch society. Interviews with 132 minors were both qualitatively and quantitatively analysed. Based on the transcripts from the interviews the researchers completed a questionnaire (BIC‐Q) to judge the quality of the child rearing environment in the different types of care facilities. Minors in foster care fare best and are most positive about their place in Dutch society. Minors in small living units and small living groups often miss affectionate bonds, care, support and stability in their lives. Minors in campuses most often expressed feeling lonely and sad and being excluded from the Dutch society. They experience a lack of care and support from adults. The quality of the child rearing environment in campuses was judged by the researchers as being so low that these facilities appear to be unfit for unaccompanied minors.
    February 24, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12272   open full text
  • Culture and context: exploring attributions and caregiving approaches of parents of children with an intellectual disability in urban India.
    Aesha John, Lucy E. Bailey, Jennifer L. Jones.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 24, 2016
    We utilized a sociocultural lens and a qualitative approach to examine causal attributions and caregiving approaches of parents of children with an intellectual disability in a mid‐sized Indian city. Sixteen mothers and three fathers participated in a semi‐structured interview. Findings elucidate participants' active processing of the cause of their child's intellectual disability. They seemed to simultaneously draw upon religious, biological and situational factors to construct an explanation. As far as caregiving approaches, most parents reported moving away gradually from mainstream medicine to alternative medicine and physiotherapy and from regular education settings to special schools. The themes highlight the role of sociocultural factors and also cross‐cultural similarities in parental causal attributions and caregiving approach. The findings are discussed in the context of implications for social work practice and policy in India.
    February 24, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12282   open full text
  • Parents' involvement in care order decisions: a cross‐country study of front‐line practice.
    Jill Berrick, Jonathan Dickens, Tarja Pösö, Marit Skivenes.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 22, 2016
    This article examines parents' involvement in care order decision‐making in four countries at one particular point in the care order process, namely, when the child protection worker discusses with the parents his or her considerations regarding child removal. The countries represent different child welfare systems with Norway and Finland categorized as ‘family service systems’ and the USA as a ‘child protection system’, with England somewhere in between. The focus is on whether the forms and intensity of involvement are different in these four countries and whether the system orientation towards family services or child protection influences practice in the social welfare agencies with parents. Involvement is studied in terms of providing information to parents, collecting information from parents and ensuring inclusion in the decision‐making processes. A vignette method is employed in a survey with 768 responses from child protection workers in four countries. The findings do not show a consistent pattern of difference regarding parental involvement in care order preparations that align with the type of child welfare system in which staff work. The goal in each child welfare system is to include parents, but the precise ways in which it is carried out (or not) vary. Methodological suggestions are given for further studies.
    February 22, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12277   open full text
  • Using Q methodology to understand how child protection social workers use attachment theory.
    David Wilkins.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 19, 2016
    Child and family social workers in England are expected to integrate theory and research into their practice. This study investigated how a small sample of social workers from three Local Authorities in Southern England used key ideas from contemporary attachment theory when working with children who may have been abused or neglected. Twenty‐four social workers completed a Q‐sort of 49 items. Four factors emerged from the data, each representing a distinct collective perspective – the use of attachment theory (1) to enable a focus on and better understanding of the child; (2) to enable social workers to take clear decisions and interview purposefully; (3) to emphasize the primacy of relationships and ethical partnership working and (3) as a general framework for understanding and helping parents. These factors are described alongside a discussion of the implications for the use of theory and research in practice.
    February 19, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12276   open full text
  • Patterns and correlates of co‐occurrence among multiple types of child maltreatment.
    Kihyun Kim, Ferol E. Mennen, Penelope K. Trickett.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 18, 2016
    This study examined the patterns and correlates of the types of maltreatment experienced by adolescents aged 9–12, participating in an ongoing longitudinal study on the impact of neglect on children's development. Using case record abstraction, the study compared the child protection classification and findings from the case record abstraction with regard to the rates of four types of maltreatment (i.e. physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect) as well as co‐occurrence across multiple types of maltreatment. Next, the study examined the frequently observed patterns of child maltreatment. Finally, the study investigated whether aspects of caretaker functioning and the detailed incident characteristics in the cases of neglect differed by the number of different types of maltreatment the children experienced. Results showed significant discrepancies between the Child Protective Service classification and case record abstraction. Child Protective Service classification considerably underestimated the rate of co‐occurrence across multiple types of maltreatment. Neglect accompanied by physical and emotional abuse was the most common form. Some of the caretaker functioning variables distinguished the number of types of maltreatment. Based on the findings, future‐research directions and practice implication were discussed.
    February 18, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12268   open full text
  • Caregiver involvement in behavioural health services in the context of child welfare service referrals: a qualitative study.
    Monica Pérez Jolles, Jodon Anne (Jodi) Flick, Rebecca Wells, Emmeline Chuang.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 18, 2016
    Human service agencies serve a growing number of adults with behavioural health needs. Despite these agencies' key role in identifying need and facilitating services, many individuals do not receive care or end services prematurely. Few studies have explored the experiences of families referred to behavioural health services by such agencies or the extent to which families' perceptions of service need align with those of treatment providers and frontline workers. This study presents findings from a qualitative study of caregivers involved with child welfare agencies who were referred to behavioural health services. Researchers reviewed agencies' case records and conducted in‐depth interviews with 16 caregivers, 9 child welfare caseworkers and 12 behavioural health treatment counsellors. Findings suggest that when deciding to engage in services, caregivers weigh not only their individual and family behavioural health needs but also potential agency intervention, including loss of child custody. Many professionals reported that involvement with a child welfare agency hindered the caregiver's disclosure of behavioural healthcare needs. Implications for managers and practitioners are discussed.
    February 18, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12279   open full text
  • Children of prisoners – children's decision making about contact.
    Vicky Saunders.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 18, 2016
    Children commonly experience considerable disruption to their care when a parent is incarcerated. Maintaining relationships between children and their incarcerated parents can present particular challenges, and for a growing number of children, continuing contact with their incarcerated parent is a key issue. Most of the research about children's experiences of parental incarceration is filtered through adults who may or may not have spoken with children. This article draws on data collected for a research project which aimed to build an understanding of the needs and issues facing children and young people living in the Australian Capital Territory, who have experienced parental incarceration. This paper considers one key finding; children and young people's perspectives on contact with their incarcerated parent. This was reflected in four thematic clusters: quality of relationships; participation in decision making; the challenges and benefits of contact and practical issues.
    February 18, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12281   open full text
  • Towards best practice: combining evidence‐based research, structured assessment and professional judgement.
    Lillian De Bortoli, James Ogloff, Jan Coles, Mairead Dolan.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 17, 2016
    Limitations of instruments adopting consensus and actuarial approaches are well documented when assessing risk of abusive behaviour. Whilst the consensus approach is flexible and useful for structuring information, it relies upon the practitioner's ability to combine information and apply knowledge of empirical research. The actuarial approach involves a graduated probability measure in the form of a score that determines the likelihood of a particular event occurring; however, this approach focuses upon static risk factors and tends to be inflexible given its necessary reliance on nomothetic factors. A third approach, structured professional judgement comprises evidence‐based risk factors and decision‐making guidelines to inform professional judgement and standardize assessments. Instruments focus upon dynamic risk factors that assist practitioners monitor risk levels and manage risk. This approach is useful for social work practice that commonly requires ongoing risk assessments and risk management. Structured professional judgement has not been meaningfully explored in Australian child protection practice despite it being used successfully for approximately two decades for assessing a range of offending and violent behaviour. Given the complexity of child protection cases, further research on approaches to risk assessment that combine evidence‐based research, structured assessment and clinical judgement, is warranted.
    February 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12280   open full text
  • What do we know about the social networks of single parents who do not use supportive services?
    Morag McArthur, Gail Winkworth.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 17, 2016
    The role that social support and social networks play in mediating isolation and stress experienced by vulnerable families is well established. However, a major issue facing supportive human services is to find and engage families with limited social networks and link them to supports that could improve outcomes for their families. This paper reports on the results of in‐depth interviews with 20 sole parents with children aged under 5 who were not well connected to services. It documents their social networks with the use of a social network map. Using a social capital lens, the analysis attempts to differentiate the different relationships in the participants' lives. Most participants were not satisfied with their informal networks, with conflicted or ambivalent reliance on family, absence of support and community engagement and fragility of informal networks. Although this group of isolated mothers does encounter the formal service system, the opportunities to increase and strengthen their networks do not eventuate. Better understanding of the nature and extent of social networks can inform practitioners and policy‐makers of the critical factors needed to increase service use for parents with limited resources.
    February 17, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12278   open full text
  • Racial/ethnic and socio‐economic biases in child maltreatment severity assessment in Spanish child protection services caseworkers.
    Ignacia Arruabarrena, Joaquín Paúl, Silvia Indias, Mikel García.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 09, 2016
    Evidence from several countries has shown the over‐representation of racial/ethnic minority groups in child protection services (CPS). The objective of the present study was to explore whether racial/ethnic and socio‐economic biases influence Spanish CPS caseworkers' judgements of the severity of child maltreatment. Moreover, the study attempted to explore the influence on these judgements of the use of structured instruments and professional experience. Two case vignettes of child maltreatment were presented to 405 CPS caseworkers and 169 students of social work and psychology. Family ethnic origin and income were manipulated in the vignettes. The findings showed no statistical evidence of biases related to family ethnic origin or socio‐economic status (SES) in Spanish CPS caseworkers' judgements of maltreatment severity. Biases related to family SES were found for students for the vignettes of physical abuse. CPS caseworkers and students who did not use a structured instrument to assess maltreatment severity tended to underestimate the severity for the vignettes of parental incapacity to control child/adolescent behaviour and to overestimate it for the vignettes of physical abuse. CPS caseworkers who used a structured instrument showed higher percentages of accuracy and inter‐rater agreement, supporting the relevance of structured tools in reducing potential caseworkers' biases.
    February 09, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12271   open full text
  • The plight of international child support enforcement.
    Joanne Levine.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 09, 2016
    Arising from the landscape of global development and fueled by the demographics of increasing rates of mobility and divorce, the international enforcement of child support is a challenging and growing problem. Current initiatives to rectify this critical problem cut across geopolitical divides and have resulted in the creation of uniform procedures for child support enforcement that are awaiting ratification in the USA: the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. In the following paper, we will trace the evolution of these efforts and extrapolate a framework for social work practice illustrated by examples drawn from a case study of a family's plight with international child support enforcement. While thousands of families are impacted by this issue, there is a gap in the social work literature about this critical issue.
    February 09, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12275   open full text
  • “It's like he just goes off, BOOM!”: mothers and grandmothers make sense of child‐to‐parent violence.
    Megan Williams, Keith Tuffin, Patricia Niland.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 04, 2016
    Child to parent violence (CPV) involves continual and cumulative abusive actions perpetrated by children and adolescents towards their parents or caregivers. This abuse produces short‐term distress and ongoing long‐term harmful consequences for parents and their families. Practitioners, researchers and policy‐makers are increasingly challenged to identify, conceptualize and respond to this form of family violence. A major challenge is that parents and caregivers under‐report this abuse so there is a lack of awareness and understanding of their psychological experiences in relation to CPV. This research adopts an interpretative phenomenological approach to explore the psychological experience of CPV. Interviews were conducted with six New Zealand mothers and two grandmothers who all experienced CPV. This abuse was experienced as an ‘emotional bloody roller coaster’ of unconditional love through to hatred; as ‘judgement’ – self‐blame and others' blame of their parenting skills; and the ‘absent father’ in their adolescents' lives was drawn on as an explanation for the abuse. Taken together, these psychological experiences identify the silencing of CPV is related to parents' conflicting emotions towards their children, their thoughts and feelings about themselves and how other people view them, and the impact of an absent father figure in their children's everyday lives.
    February 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12273   open full text
  • Less than human: a qualitative study into the experience of parents involved in the child protection system.
    Rosie Smithson, Matthew Gibson.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 04, 2016
    This paper reports on the findings from a qualitative study into the experiences of parents who were involved in the English child protection system in 2013. Seventeen in‐depth interviews were conducted involving 19 parents and/or partners, and a framework approach was used to analyse the data. There were positive experiences of individual social workers and some positive experiences of the child protection system. However, the overwhelming theme of the parents' experiences was that the system was uncaring, inflexible and for some harmful to both themselves and their children. Despite being included in the child protection process, parents felt they were not afforded the same rights as a participant, as a decision‐maker or as a partner in seeking to improve the situation. The threat of consequences silenced parents who felt unable to speak out or challenge the things they disagreed with or coerced others into signing agreements they did not agree to. Such experiences related to a sense that they were being treated as ‘less than human’. These findings are considered within the context of recent reforms within the English child protection system.
    February 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12270   open full text
  • ‘I want to be better than you:’ lived experiences of intergenerational child maltreatment prevention among teenage mothers in and beyond foster care.
    Elizabeth M. Aparicio.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 04, 2016
    The growing body of research on teenage motherhood in foster care has largely focused on the risks involved for both mother and child, yet these mothers depict a much more complex picture of their own experience of becoming and being mothers. The current study employed interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore 18 in‐depth, qualitative interviews from six participants on the meaning and experience of motherhood among teenage mothers in foster care and in the years immediately after ageing out. This study focused on a particular dimension of motherhood: participants' efforts to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect with their own children. Two themes emerged as characteristic of these experiences: (i) treating children well/parenting differently and avoiding the system; and (ii) reducing isolation and enhancing support. Given the increased likelihood of the children of teen mothers – particularly those who have been maltreated – becoming involved with the child welfare system, study findings suggest possible strategies for disrupting cycles of intergenerational child welfare involvement generated by young mothers themselves. Practice implications for addressing possible substance abuse, mental health and relational and parenting needs are discussed.
    February 04, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12274   open full text
  • Who returns home? Study on placement outcomes of Flemish foster children.
    Johan Vanderfaeillie, Frank Van Holen, Skrallan De Maeyer, Laurence Belenger, Laura Gypen.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 25, 2016
    Until recently, Flemish family foster care was a temporary measure with as its most important goal, the reunification of the foster child with the birth parents. To date, nothing is known on the number of reunifications, nor has any study been undertaken into the factors (child, parent, foster parent and foster care process) associated with reunification. Case files of 127 foster children who exited foster care in 2007 were analysed. Dependent variables were type of foster care placement outcome (reunification, successful placement without reunification or breakdown) and place of residence after placement ending (with birth parents, extended family, foster family, residential care or living independently). After placement ending, only 40% of foster children went living with their parents, including foster children who were reunified (26%) and foster children who moved to their parents after a placement breakdown (14%). Characteristics of the foster children, and in particular absence of problem behaviour, were associated mainly with a return home. This may indicate that too much attention is paid to the functioning of the foster child and too little to improving the competencies of the parents and the (future) home environment.
    January 25, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12269   open full text
  • What factors may assist social workers to promote life satisfaction and personal growth among first‐time grandfathers?
    Shirley Ben Shlomo, Orit Taubman ‐ Ben‐Ari.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 18, 2016
    Drawing on positive psychology and the perception of families as systems, the current study examined the contribution of variables regarding first‐time grandfathers and their sons, who have become first‐time fathers, to grandfathers' life satisfaction and personal growth. In addition, the association between the frequency of meetings between grandfather and grandchild to grandfathers' life satisfaction and personal growth was examined. The sample consisted of 106 pairs of first‐time Jewish Israeli grandfathers and their sons (n = 212). The grandfathers completed questionnaires relating to personal variables such as narcissism, family relations and frequency of meetings with the grandchild, and reported on their sense of life satisfaction and personal growth. The fathers completed questionnaires relating to personal variables, narcissism and family relations. Higher levels of grandfathers' life satisfaction were associated with their own perception of good family relations; higher levels of grandfathers' personal growth were related to their narcissism. The grandfather's perception of the frequency of meetings with the grandchild was found to moderate between the father's narcissism and the grandfather's life satisfaction and personal growth. The findings point to the crucial role social workers may play in enhancing life satisfaction and enabling personal growth through dedicated intergenerational interventions.
    January 18, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12267   open full text
  • In whose words? Struggles and strategies of service providers working with immigrant clients with limited language abilities in the violence against women sector and child protection services.
    Ramona Alaggia, Sarah Maiter, Angelique Jenney.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 15, 2016
    Newcomer and immigrant clients with limited language abilities face communication barriers that can compromise their capacity to make informed decisions about themselves and their children with serious implications for their families. These clients most likely had high proficiency of language in their country of origin but are learning the language of the new host country. Using a phenomenological design to elicit descriptions from and interpret experiences of Canadian‐helping professionals, we conducted four focus groups first with child protection workers, and second with violence against women service providers. Analyses of these data uncovered five themes: (1) enhancing client engagement and self‐agency; (2) advantages and drawbacks in use of interpreters; (3) creative and intensive translation strategies; (4) structural challenges and (5) gender and cultural considerations. Results are organized into an ecological framework in putting forward implications for policy and practice. The over‐arching finding supports that important training and preparation are necessary for service providers to deliver language‐sensitive services. As well, funding levels need to be increased to better match service delivery goals. Newcomer and immigrant clients whose language needs are not adequately met potentially face safety issues and/or fragmentation of their families.
    January 15, 2016   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12266   open full text
  • Trajectory of problem behaviours of Korean adopted children: using piecewise hierarchical linear growth modelling.
    Jaejin Ahn, Mi‐hee Byun, Ji‐sung Kwon.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 09, 2015
    This study examined the trajectory of problem behaviours in domestically adopted children in South Korea as they aged. This study used the Panel Study on Korean Adopted Children's longitudinal, three‐wave data (2006, 2008 and 2010). Although data were collected at three time points, our data consisted of six time points, which covered the 5–10 years age range of the adopted children at the time of survey. One hundred sixty‐four children were included in the analysis, 75 of whom contributed to one time point, 74 to two time points and 15 to three time points. The trajectory of the problem behaviours of adopted children was examined using a piecewise hierarchical linear growth model. Because the initial exploration of the data suggested non‐linear changes in behaviour problems over time, we split the growth trajectory into two time periods: Time 1 (5–7 years) and Time 2 (7–10 years). A two‐rate model was used to estimate separate slopes for the two time periods. Results showed that the externalizing and internalizing problems of adopted children have different trajectories. Internalizing problems did not show significant changes after 5 years of age, while externalizing problems increased until 7 years of age and decreased significantly thereafter.
    December 09, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12264   open full text
  • Instability and caregiving in the lives of street‐involved youth from foster care.
    Doug Magnuson, Mikael Jansson, Cecilia Benoit, Mary Clare Kennedy.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 27, 2015
    A large proportion of youth who become street‐involved have experience in foster care, and our sample of 92 street‐involved youth, aged 14–18 years, all had foster care experience. We report on (i) instability of guardians and home from birth to street involvement; (ii) the connection between perceptions about foster care and measures of well‐being; and (iii) the implications of these findings for understanding street‐involved youth and the role of foster care in their life. The average number of transitions per youth from birth to mid‐teens was nine. Youth with experience in permanent care first lived away from biological parents at age 8.5 years, and for those with temporary care experience, it was age 10 years. Foster care was one of many living situations and one of several sources of caregivers. If participants were satisfied with foster care, they were more likely to be currently hopeful and happy. Participants who experienced positive influences from at least one long‐term caregiver tended to have other positive caregiver experiences, and those with negative influences were more likely to also have a positive relationship with a female caregiver. Foster care was one of several ‘way stations’ in their lives, one whose meaning needs further study.
    November 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12262   open full text
  • Transforming child and family services in urban communities in South Africa: lessons from the South.
    Leila Patel, Jeanette Elizabeth Schmid, Hendrik Jacobus Venter.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 27, 2015
    Post‐apartheid, South African agencies have been required to shift their services in fundamental ways, including offering services in previously un‐resourced areas, honouring the rights of children and families, ensuring that users, staff and governing bodies are representative of the population and providing developmental social welfare services in place of child protection‐oriented interventions only. A study of urban South African child welfare agencies provides insight into the complex task of managing and leading change. In view of overloaded change agenda and resource constraints, managers focused on effecting incremental change and prioritized the most ‘rewarding’ change efforts. Transforming practice towards a developmental approach was less successful. Structural interventions were also not prioritized. Child welfare agencies internationally face demands to transform in response to the effects of local change and globalization. The study's insights might resonate with agencies working for change in other societal contexts.
    November 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12263   open full text
  • Evaluation of a national reform in the Israeli child protection practice designed to improve children's participation in decision‐making.
    Ravit Alfandari.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 16, 2015
    A national reform of child protection practice in Israel includes the ambition of strengthening children's participation in intervention decisions carried out in formal committees, called planning, intervention and evaluation committees. A qualitative study was conducted of how well this was being achieved by following 21 case studies of families referred to the committees over 6 months. Data were collected from interviews with social workers, field observations of the committees and a document review. A systems approach was undertaken as a conceptual framework in order to allow a whole‐organizational understanding of what is happening in the field, and why. The key finding was a very limited realization of the reform's aim. Only seven children attended the committees, and they had little influence on decisions, which appears to have made them less co‐operative in implementing them. Those who did not attend rarely had their views conveyed to the committee by their social workers. The reform's lack of success is explained by being ill suited to the organizational working environment and culture. The analysis identified a number of systemic factors influencing the failure to give greater priority to children's views, including lack of skill and time, organizational messages about practice priorities and paternalistic ideology.
    November 16, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12261   open full text
  • Out of time: theorizing family in social work practice.
    Kate Morris, Sue White, Paula Doherty, Lisa Warwick.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 07, 2015
    This paper draws on a British Academy (BA) funded study exploring social workers' conceptions of family using a vignette and focus groups. The policy context is discussed and the data from the BA study are then compared and contrasted with families' accounts of their own situations using the data from a separate qualitative study about child protection social work. The paper discusses the themes emerging and argues for a renewed focus on theorizing family in children's social work and the implications for practice.
    October 07, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12257   open full text
  • Gender‐sensitive intervention to improve work with fathers in child welfare services.
    Nehami Baum.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 21, 2015
    Although the importance of including fathers in child welfare services has been increasingly recognized, social workers' engagement with fathers is still limited and sometimes fraught with negative bias. This paper attempts to lay some needed foundation to meet the challenge of working with fathers. It presents in succinct form the existing knowledge on how fathers experience and manifest their distress and on how they view the social services and social workers. It discusses, in some detail, three main issues – power relations, mutual fear and communication differences – in the interactions between female social workers and the fathers in the social welfare services. And it emphasizes the need for social workers to be aware of how their experiences with their own fathers may affect their interventions with men. It ends with observations and recommendations for developing the gender awareness that is necessary for effective practice with fathers.
    September 21, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12259   open full text
  • Hard to reach and easy to ignore: the drinking careers of young people not in education, employment or training.
    Peter Nelson, Sharon Taberrer.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 11, 2015
    Young people's drinking in the UK remains a matter of medical, social, media and political concern. The notion of transition and drinking styles in the move from childhood to adulthood and from education to employment has been central to understanding young people's drinking behaviour, but little is known about how the drinking patterns of those not in education or employment, both men and women, develop over time. This paper reports on research which aimed to examine the current drinking habits and drinking careers of young people not in education employment and training who are traditionally described as hard to reach. In‐depth qualitative interviews were undertaken with 23 young people: 15 women and 8 men aged between 14 and 23. The findings are presented with respect to three stages of drinking: starting, continuing or increasing, and decreasing or stopping. The conclusions indicate that for the majority of these young people, alcohol is a significant factor in their lives and that peers, gender, time and place combine to structure both their current alcohol use and drinking career. The paper argues that an understanding of young people's drinking career development and current alcohol use will help target effective social work and multi‐agency intervention.
    September 11, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12260   open full text
  • Foster carers' experiences of a paired reading literacy intervention with looked‐after children.
    Hilma Forsman.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 08, 2015
    Previous studies have shown that paired reading, a structured literacy intervention, is a promising method for improving looked‐after children's literacy skills. The aim of this study was to explore variations in foster carers' experiences of conducting the intervention. Interviews were carried out with 15 Swedish foster carers with varying experiences in programme compliance and of practicing the method. Findings suggest that the intervention process starts with getting carers involved, which seems to be dependent on a positive carer attitude. Integrating the reading training in the everyday life is another important aspect, which evolves around motivating the child and prioritizing the reading sessions. Furthermore, the results emphasize the need of having a flexible approach when delivering the intervention. The results suggest that it is possible to engage foster carers in literacy training for looked‐after children and that paired reading can provide a model for competent reading and also result in improved child/carer relations. However, participants need support, and in some cases adjustments in the day‐to‐day delivery of the intervention are required.
    September 08, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12258   open full text
  • Adoptive family experiences of post‐adoption contact in an Internet era.
    Sarah Greenhow, Simon Hackett, Christine Jones, Elizabeth Meins.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 27, 2015
    In the UK, post‐adoption contact between adoptive and birth families traditionally includes letterbox and/or face‐to‐face methods of communication. Because of the emphasis in the UK of adoption from the public care system, post‐adoption contact is often supported and mediated by social work professionals. The growth in the use of e‐communication, through for example social media, has created concerns regarding the use of such technologies for the purposes of ‘virtual contact’ following adoption. This paper reports the findings of a study of this emerging practice. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 11 adoptive parents and six adopted young people. Findings suggest that virtual contact presents both challenges and opportunities for adoptive families. We conclude that virtual contact is complex, but with appropriate boundaries and consideration of different interests, can work well in some cases.
    August 27, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12256   open full text
  • Caseworkers' perceptions of the strengths of the child family and community.
    Nevenka Zegarac, Anita Burgund.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 26, 2015
    The 2002–2011 reforms of the social welfare system in Serbia produced changes to the assessment model in the field of child welfare. In addition to risks and needs, the new model considers the strengths of the child, family and community, marking a significant innovation for social welfare services. This paper aims to examine the perceptions of caseworkers regarding the strengths of the new assessment model that is used in social welfare centres in Serbia. Based upon a representative, stratified and random sample of 347 records of children who were referred to alternative care during a period of intense reform (2006–2011), notes taken by caseworkers were collected and analysed. The results indicate that strengths were poorly identified at the onset of work with the children, but improvement followed later in the process. This finding leads us to the conclusion that there are serious challenges and difficulties in transitioning from the problem‐oriented model to the new strengths‐oriented approach in the Serbian social welfare system.
    August 26, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12252   open full text
  • Searching for the right track – managing care trajectories in child welfare.
    Sofia Enell, Verner Denvall.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 26, 2015
    This paper examines caseworkers' efforts to plan and find appropriate interventions for troublesome young people. Strauss's concept of trajectory is applied to analyse how Swedish caseworkers shape and manage the evolving care trajectories using assessments for young people in secure accommodation, i.e. institutional youth assessments. The empirical material consists of surveys to 82 caseworkers concerning 85 institutional youth assessments and interviews with 16 of these caseworkers. The findings reveal ongoing care trajectories that are out of control where the assessments are seen as an opportunity of change for the youths. Diagnoses, confirmations and plans for action are provided through the assessments and used by the caseworkers in negotiations for resources. Three orientations of contributions to the caseworkers' management of care trajectories were found, all reflecting the many uncertainties of child welfare work: child centred, professional and discharge of liability. In conclusion, the caseworkers searched for the right measures to manage change and achieve youth compliance, but it was also a matter of managing professional and organizational contingencies and passing on responsibility.
    August 26, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12255   open full text
  • The tipping point: fateful moments in child protection.
    Martin Kettle.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 24, 2015
    Social workers working to protect children face the prospect of making very finely balanced judgements, often on the basis of incomplete information. Based on doctoral research into sense‐making by social workers, this paper explores aspects of the tipping point, i.e. where the categorization of a child's situation changes, potentially leading to a very different response to their needs. Those aspects include identifying the triggers for, and consequences of, the tipping point, and being aware that the tipping point being reached may have to do with changes in the internal world of the worker as well as changes in the circumstances of the family. This paper stresses the need for a more nuanced understanding of the tipping point, and emphasizes the need to take account of the processes of decision‐making, and of looking at both inter‐ and intra‐personal components of those processes. Further, it is argued that a cautious attitude requires to be taken towards technical–rational solutions and that there is a real need to place professional judgement and consideration of the tacit dimension at the heart of the child protection process.
    August 24, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12253   open full text
  • The challenges presented by parental mental illness and the potential of a whole‐family intervention to improve outcomes for families.
    Lina Gatsou, Scott Yates, Nigel Goodrich, Dan Pearson.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 18, 2015
    Parental mental illness (PMI) can negatively affect the lives of all family members, and there is acknowledged need to work with family and social contexts to promote recovery. However, programmes undertaking such work remain rare and knowledge concerning mechanisms through which PMI impacts families and through which recovery might be achieved is underdeveloped. This paper outlines a new family intervention programme and presents evidence from focus groups with 16 professionals into their experiences of work with families with PMI. Evidence suggests that interactional effects of PMI, family communication and family relationships are key to understanding its impacts, but professionals are liable to struggle to engage with these due to concerns over stigma, lack of skills and low confidence. Positive impacts on practice were achieved through raising awareness of the whole‐family context in relation to PMI, building confidence to raise and engage with PMI and the provision of structured tools for use with families. Positive impacts on the lives of family members were then achieved by professionals in relation to symptoms for the ill parent, the burden on children and overall family well‐being, strongly mediated through improved family communication, understanding and relationships. Implications for policy and practice are considered.
    August 18, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12254   open full text
  • An overview of programmes offered by shelters for street children in South Africa.
    Zitha Mokomane, Mokhantšo Makoae.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 06, 2015
    This paper reports part of the findings from a 2014 audit of shelters for street children conducted in four provinces of South Africa. The paper focuses on the assessment of the types, structure and implementation of the programmes, as well as on the adequacy of resources necessary for implementing the programmes. The overall picture that emerged from the assessment was that all shelters draw on a comprehensive and enabling legislative and policy framework to offer some elements of developmental, therapeutic and recreational programmes at the early intervention level. Overall, however, the implementation of the programmes does not effectively take into consideration the varied and interconnected factors that, within and across multiple social systems, impel children to the streets. It was thus apparent that the programmes do not adequately address the risks and opportunities of street children in South Africa, specifically within the eco‐developmental framework. Recommendations are offered for social work policy and practice to further enhance the quality and impact of programmes offered in the shelters.
    August 06, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12251   open full text
  • Care leavers on social work courses: a study of identity management.
    Simon Ward, Rose Devereux, Helen Mayall, Teresa O'Neill, Aidan Worsley.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 30, 2015
    Care leavers constitute a small but important minority of social work students. Their dual role as previous ‘consumers’ of care and students is of inherent interest to both those involved in social work education and providers of social work services. This paper discusses a small research project that explored the experiences of such students through semi‐structured interviews. One theme that reoccurred in the analyses of the interview transcripts was how the students managed their identities, through the time that they were in care, in the period having left care and having been accepted on a social work course. What the interviewees had to say about their care and subsequent life experiences is worthy of consideration in terms of its implications for the delivery of social work education generally and how care leavers on social work courses should be treated by academics and on placement particularly.
    July 30, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12244   open full text
  • Adult children of parents with mental illness: navigating stigma.
    Gillian Murphy, Kath Peters, Lesley Wilkes, Debra Jackson.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 24, 2015
    The experiences of children who live with parental mental illness are becoming increasingly recognized. However, there remains a limited body of knowledge in relation to an individual's longer term experiences. This study sought adult children's experiences of childhood parental mental illness. It generated reflections of 13 adult children who had lived with parents with mental illness during their childhood. The narrative design of the study facilitated a voice for participants. The paper presents one main theme of the findings. The findings offer a unique insight into childhood awareness of social stigmas and children's behavioural changes to avoid disclosure of parental mental illness. Participants noted that they were aware of social stigmas associated with mental illness during their childhood. This contributed to their fear of disclosure to others that fuelled a culture of familial secrecy, reinforcing the children's own sense of difference. Further work is required to enhance community understanding about the familial journeys of parental mental illness and the impact of negative‐natured stigmas.
    July 24, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12246   open full text
  • The process of disclosing child abuse: a study of Swedish Social Services protection in child abuse cases.
    Hanna Linell.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 14, 2015
    This paper presents findings from a study of judgements concerning 137 children (13–18 years) where protection by the Swedish Social Services was applied for. The paper explores the disclosure of physical, sexual and emotional child abuse including experiences of domestic violence and the process following a disclosure. A central finding is that the majority of children (71%) could be described as having intentionally disclosed the abuse. The findings also suggest that many of the children had come a long way in an emotional and cognitive process before the decision to disclose, and that disclosure was often made in conjunction with a decision to leave the alleged abusers. These findings support previous research suggesting children's intentional disclosure as an important predictor of decisions regarding alternative care. Another finding is that the process following the disclosure was described by the children as intensely challenging with active pressure and threats from relatives and feelings of fear, guilt and ambivalence. These findings have implications for both practice and research on how the safeguarding system can help children in the process of disclosure and protect those who do disclose.
    July 14, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12245   open full text
  • ‘A picture of who we are as a family’: conceptualizing post‐adoption contact as practices of family display.
    Mandi MacDonald.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 14, 2015
    Social work has a central role in negotiating and supporting birth family contact following adoption from care. This paper argues that family display (Finch) offers a useful conceptual resource for understanding relationships in the adoptive kinship network as they are enacted through contact. It reports on an interpretative phenomenological analysis of adoptive parents' accounts of open adoption from care that revealed direct and indirect contact to be contexts in which they and birth relatives performed family display practices: communicating the meaning of their respective relationships with the adopted child and seeking recognition that this was a legitimate family relationship. The analysis explores how family display was performed, and the impact of validating or invalidating responses. It aims to illuminate these social and interpretive processes involved in adoptive kinship in order to inform social work support for contact. The findings suggest that successful contact may be promoted by helping adoptive and birth relatives validate the legitimacy of the other's kin connection with the child, and through arrangements that facilitate family‐like interactions.
    July 14, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12248   open full text
  • Mentors' attachment dimensions, the quality of mentoring relationship and protégés' adjustment: a moderated mediation model.
    Limor Goldner.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 14, 2015
    The relationships between mentors' (n = 168) attachment dimensions, the quality of mentoring relationship and protégés' (n = 187) level of adjustment after 8 months of mentoring intervention were explored. Unexpectedly, protégés of mentors with moderately negative childhood experiences and an insecure state of mind had higher levels of adjustment at the end of mentoring, whereas mentors' positive emotional childhood experiences contributed negatively to levels of adjustment. Furthermore, a dependent mother–protégé relationship moderated the relationship between mentors' attachment anxiety or avoidance and the quality of the relationship, such that it mediated the relationship between mentors' attachment anxiety and avoidance and led to a decrease in protégés' level of adjustment at the end of the intervention. The findings suggest that the disadvantages of a dependent mother–protégé relationship as regard protégés' level of adjustment interact with mentors' avoidance or anxiety, and that there may be an advantage in a mentor–protégé mismatch in terms of an anxious/dependent relational history.
    July 14, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12249   open full text
  • Maternal depression and risk for antisocial behaviour in children.
    Jamie M. Gajos, Kevin M. Beaver.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 06, 2015
    Maternal depression has consistently been found to be associated with child problem behaviours. In the current study, we examine the possibility of whether the association between maternal depression and child antisocial behaviour may be due to confounding. Data from waves 2, 5 and 7 of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study‐Kindergarten Cohort were analysed. Our analysis revealed a significant association between maternal depression and child antisocial behaviour prior to matching. After successfully matching the mothers on 29 key covariates, one of the cross‐sectional associations and the longitudinal association between maternal depression and child antisocial behaviour was no longer statistically significant. However, two cross‐sectional associations between maternal depression and child antisocial behaviour remained statistically significant. The results of the study are discussed in relation to the importance of the timing of maternal depression within different developmental time periods.
    July 06, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12247   open full text
  • Service user participation in interprofessional teams in child welfare in Norway: vulnerable adolescents' perceptions.
    Siv Elin Nord Sæbjørnsen, Elisabeth Willumsen.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 23, 2015
    Children's participation has been a requirement in the Norwegian child welfare system for decades and children's effective participation has the potential to benefit children's outcomes. However, research suggests that effective user participation is still relatively rare and that user participation is seen as ‘difficult’ by both service users and professionals. One way to ensure children's rights to participation in Norway is to include adolescent service users in the interprofessional team formed around the child. Knowledge about experiences of adolescents in this kind of participation may provide important insights. This study explores five adolescents' perceptions about participating in such teams. Qualitative interviews and qualitative content analysis was used. We found that adolescents' participation in interprofessional teams may constitute one way to achieve effective participation. Both facilitating factors and impediments to effective user participation were found. The study suggests new ways to facilitate positive circles of participation and to increase the likelihood of improved child welfare outcomes from processes which secure more effective interprofessional help and support.
    June 23, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12242   open full text
  • Child welfare clients and educational transitions.
    Marianne Dæhlen.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 19, 2015
    Despite long‐standing knowledge about child welfare clients' educational disadvantage, we know less about the individuals' progress through the educational system. Based on Norwegian data, this study examined educational transitions following compulsory school and the first 3 years of upper secondary school, which correspond approximately to the transition following middle school/junior high school to the first years of high school in the USA. It is argued that in examining educational success in the child welfare population it is necessary to analyse whether child welfare clients follow the academic or vocational track. In addition, the degree to which educational transitions are related to gender, school performance and parental education was examined. Child welfare clients' educational transitions were compared with those of a comparison sample from the general population. The analyses show that after completing compulsory school, child welfare clients most often begin in the vocational track and that they often drop out of school. This tendency is largely related to low school performance and low parental education. In addition, child welfare clients' successful transitions are somewhat lower in the vocational than in the academic track and decrease during upper secondary school.
    June 19, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12243   open full text
  • Being counted? Examining the prevalence of looked‐after disabled children and young people across the UK.
    Louise Hill, Claire Baker, Bernadette Kelly, Sandra Dowling.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 19, 2015
    Since the 1970s, there has been growing academic interest in children and young people living in state care and, more recently, in the lives of disabled children. However, there has been little attention on the lives of disabled children who are looked after by the state. This paper compares and critiques what is known about the numbers of disabled children who are looked after in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We discuss the conceptual and methodological limitations of systematically collecting data on disabled children in state care across the UK. We argue that to ensure that the rights of disabled children in state care are identified, acknowledged and upheld, ‘being counted’ is a fundamental first step.
    June 19, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12239   open full text
  • Working with families with parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues where there are child protection concerns: inter‐agency collaboration.
    Dominiek Coates.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 16, 2015
    Child abuse commonly occurs within the context of multiple risk factors, in particular parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol problems. As no one agency can address all these factors, inter‐agency collaboration is paramount to the protection of vulnerable children, especially in families with a complex array of problems. This paper outlines a range of recommendations to improve collaboration between child protection workers and mental health/drug & alcohol (MH/D&A) clinicians from the perspective of Keep Them Safe‐Whole Family Team (KTS‐WFT) clinicians. Taking referrals from child protection, the KTS‐WFT offers interventions to families with parental MH/D&A problems where there are child protection concerns. As part of a larger evaluation of a KTS‐WFT site, 10 KTS‐WFT clinicians participated in in‐depth interviews. Analysis of the interviews identified collaboration with child protection as a primary theme. Participants reported a number of barriers to effective collaboration; in particular, participants reported challenges with information sharing and confidentiality, inconsistency in terms of the level and style of collaboration, tensions between the different theoretical paradigms that underpin practice for MH/D&A clinicians vs. child protection workers, and insufficient clarity around processes and expectations. Consistent with the identified barriers, primary recommendations to improve collaboration were to improve information sharing, overcome silo ways of thinking, manage risk together more consistently, and develop consistent processes and expectations.
    June 16, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12238   open full text
  • Parents in high‐conflict custodial cases: negotiating shared care across households.
    Kari Sjøhelle Jevne, Agnes Andenæs.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 10, 2015
    Understanding the dynamics of custodial conflicts is important for reducing the level of such conflicts and improving the upbringing conditions for the children involved. The parents in these cases care for children living in two households, and our approach therefore draws on the knowledge of how ‘ordinary’ parents proceed in sharing care within and between locations. The paper is based on qualitative interviews with 15 Norwegian parents who were in contact with the child protection service during their custodial disagreements, indicating a high level of conflict and concerns about inadequate care. When describing and reflecting upon their practices of care, the parents speak from two main positions: as a concerned parent or an accused parent. These positions imply different approaches on how to share care, which offer insight into the mechanisms of getting stuck. Although the concerned parent worries about the child's well‐being while staying with the other parent and thereby aims to take a continuous responsibility across households, the accused parent perceives the co‐parent's involvement as undue and negotiates increased distance in parenting. Focusing on practices of care may contribute to turning the attention away from conflicts between former partners and towards the child's situation.
    June 10, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12240   open full text
  • Hope and subjective well‐being among parents of children with special needs.
    Vered Shenaar‐Golan.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 09, 2015
    The current study examined subjective well‐being (SWB) in parents who raise children with special needs. Previous studies that focused on parenting children with special needs stressed increased risk of depression. This study examined parental level of hope, the significance of being involved in a partner relationship and parental perception of the seriousness of their child's disability, each a factor that may influence parental SWB. A random sample of 92 parents raising children with special needs in Israel participated in the study. They completed three questionnaires, examining parent's perception of the severity of their child's disability, parental SWB and parents' level of hope. Results revealed that a high level of hope, being in a partnered relationship, and perception of the child's disability as having some positive influence on central aspects of the parents' life, are all significant contributors to raising parental SWB. Study findings show that ‘agency’, a component of the concept of ‘hope’, is a significant factor in predicting SWB in parents of a child with special needs. Perhaps awareness of how they can improve their SWB by using certain aspects of their lifestyle to their advantage can help improve quality of life for parents of children with special needs.
    June 09, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12241   open full text
  • ‘What is the impact of birth family contact on children in adoption and long‐term foster care?’ A systematic review.
    Caroline Boyle.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 26, 2015
    Contact plans for children in adoption and long‐term foster care are decided on a case‐by‐case basis, as directed by the paramountcy principle in the Children Act (1989). The idea that birth family contact helps children resolve issues around attachment, separation and loss, and identity is prevalent in social work practice. However, evidence revealing the detrimental impact of contact has been used to support increasingly restrictive legislation. The current review aims to provide policy‐makers and social workers with a resource to guide decisions in permanency planning by evaluating this evidence and reported outcomes for children. The research question and exclusion/inclusion criteria were formulated and used to develop a search strategy. Of the 412 potential titles returned, 11 were of sufficient quality to include in the thematic synthesis. Results were mixed and significantly influenced by moderator variables such as the pre‐existing relationship between children and their birth families. Outcomes were particularly positive when there was a collaborative approach between birth families and adoptive parents or foster carers. Outcomes tended to be poorest for children who had ongoing contact with maltreating birth parents. The review findings support current policy and previous research in recommending a more reflexive approach to assessing and planning contact.
    May 26, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12236   open full text
  • ‘We were not planning on this, but …’: Adoptive parents' reactions and adaptations to unmet expectations.
    April M. Moyer, Abbie E. Goldberg.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 05, 2015
    This study explored adoptive parents' responses to unexpected characteristics of their children with a lens of family stress theory. Ninety individuals in 45 couples, 30 of whom adopted via child welfare and 15 of whom adopted via private domestic adoption, were interviewed 3 months post‐adoptive placement regarding unfulfilled expectations about their child's age, gender, race and special needs. Unmet expectations were especially stressful when parents lacked support and when they perceived themselves as having little power to ‘mould’ their children. In contrast, perceptions of adequate support and cognitive flexibility appeared to facilitate positive experiences during parents' transition to adoptive parenthood. Implications for professionals are discussed, including suggestions for pre‐adoption training and provision of post‐adoption support.
    March 05, 2015   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12219   open full text
  • Children's journeys through organizations: how inspectors evaluate coordination of care.
    Suzanne I. Rutz, Antoinette A. Bont, Paul B. M. Robben, Simone E. Buitendijk.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 13, 2014
    Inspectorates have been criticized for assessing compliance with the rules rather than outcomes for children. In the Netherlands, inspectorates have developed a ‘journey tool’ to reconstruct children's travels through all the organizations providing care. Using document analysis and semi‐structured interviews, we evaluated how inspectors use this tool in practice. We applied an ontological theoretical framework to the coordination of care to analyse 24 journeys through care organizations, including a selection of six journeys in further detail. Our analysis shows that up until now, inspectors used only one form of coordination, the creation of a hierarchy, resulting in one problem definition. However, in complex care practices, children have multiple and often incompatible problems so that one coherent problem definition cannot be made. We show that ‘patchwork’, a form of coordination that allows discrepancies enables inspectors to reflect on complex care practices and evaluate options to improve outcomes for children.
    October 13, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12187   open full text
  • The well‐being of children of parents with a mental illness: the responsiveness of crisis mental health services in Wellington, New Zealand.
    Ari S. Pfeiffenberger, Amanda J. D'Souza, Mark A. Huthwaite, Sarah E. Romans.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 09, 2014
    Little is known about how mental health services consider the parenting role and the well‐being of children when assessing parents with acute mental illness. This paper investigated how crisis mental health services addressed child well‐being in the Wellington region, New Zealand. This mixed‐method case study included: (i) an audit of the electronic clinical records of all adults presenting to the crisis assessment team; (ii) interviews with 22 key informants; and (iii) a documentary review. We found that data about children were not systematically collected. Less than half of (49 of the 104) the records of patients who were parents included information on their child's well‐being; only six (6%) contained a specified plan for action. The focus for services was the adult patient. Key informants were unclear about their role. They identified inadequate training and institutional support, inflexible funding models and limited availability or inappropriateness of referral services as problems. They saw a need for children to become more visible, for collaborative working to improve the use of existing services and for new funding models, resources and roles. Existing national policy documents contained little guidance and no practice guidelines were in use. These were lost opportunities to improve support for the parenting role and promote child well‐being.
    October 09, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12186   open full text
  • Home sweet home? Professionals' understanding of ‘home’ within residential care for unaccompanied youths in Sweden.
    Åsa Söderqvist, Yvonne Sjöblom, Pia Bülow.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 28, 2014
    The number of unaccompanied minors arriving in Sweden continues to rise. The majority are placed in residential care units. This qualitative study aims to increase the understanding given by the professionals to the concept of ‘home’ within the framework of residential care for unaccompanied young people. Data are based on participatory observations at two residential care units, followed up by individual interviews with staff. The findings confirm that the concept of home has a complex meaning involving both objective aspects such as physical buildings, and more subjective components that can be seen as state of mind. The staff's desire to offer an ‘ordinary home’ fails because of the surveillance, their dominant positions and especially due to the legal restrictions that were not initially meant for this target group. Unaccompanied young people have to be considered based on their own specific needs in order to make it possible for society to offer the most suitable care.
    September 28, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12183   open full text
  • Social functioning and mental health among children who have been living in kinship and non‐kinship foster care: results from an 8‐year follow‐up with a Norwegian sample.
    Svein Arild Vis, Bjørn Helge Handegård, Amy Holtan, Sturla Fossum, Renee Thørnblad.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 28, 2014
    Studies have shown relatively high rates of emotional and behavioural problems among children living in out‐of‐home care. This study reports the prevalence of social problems at an 8‐year follow‐up for a group of children/young adults. Predictors for prevalence and change in emotional and behavioural problems at the follow‐up are examined. A prospective cohort design with 233 children who had been living in foster care was used. Forty‐eight per cent (n = 111) of those interviewed at baseline were located and interviewed at follow‐up. Mean age was 17.4 (standard deviation = 2.9) years. Mental health symptomatology was measured with Child Behaviour Checklist and Adult Self‐Report. Linear and generalized mixed model analyses were used. Changes in internalizing and externalizing problems from baseline to follow‐up was associated with gender. Boys showed more problems at a young age, whereas girls developed more problems later. Predictors for social problems at follow‐up were mental health at baseline, kinship care and care placement away from the local community.
    September 28, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12180   open full text
  • The social support in kinship foster care: a way to enhance resilience.
    Nuria Fuentes‐Peláez, Mª Àngels Balsells, Josefina Fernández, Eduard Vaquero, Pere Amorós.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 25, 2014
    This paper analyses how social support enhances family resilience in kinship foster families by involving the families in an educational group programme. Sixty‐two kinship foster families from Spain participated in the research. The data were collected before the programme (interviews) and after the programme (interviews and focus groups), and these were analysed by content analysis with the programme Atlas.ti. The results show that the factors that contribute most to the development of family resilience are as follows: (i) feeling able to look for solutions when facing problems; (ii) an increase of their network of formal support; (iii) being able to offer support to other foster families; and (iv) feeling that the support they give to parents' foster children is socially recognized.
    September 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12182   open full text
  • Household stress and adolescent behaviours in urban families: the mediating roles of parent mental health and social supports.
    Andrew D. Reynolds, Thomas M. Crea.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 25, 2014
    Using exploratory data analysis techniques, we propose a model of parent psychosocial well‐being that links financial strains and household stressors to adolescents' pro‐social behaviours and vulnerability through parent mental health and social supports. Parents of urban youth (n = 781) who planned to attend a summer camp for at‐risk youth responded to questions surveying household, parent and child factors related to early adolescent development. We expected that the relationship of household stressors – including financial strain and household difficulties – with adolescent behaviours would be mediated by parent depression and anxiety. We also anticipated that parent social supports would have both direct and indirect effects (via parent mental health) on adolescents' pro‐social behaviours. Study findings are consistent with our hypotheses and the model performed similarly for both adolescent males and females. Implications for practice and policy in the context of programmes for urban youth are discussed.
    September 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12181   open full text
  • Critical reflection workshops and knowledge exchange: findings from a Scottish project.
    Viviene E. Cree, Rhoda Macrae, Mark Smith, Nancy Knowles, Susan O'Halloran, Douglas Sharp, Elaine Wallace.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 25, 2014
    In 2013, academics from a Scottish university came together with social work managers and practitioners from two local authorities (LAs) in Scotland to run a knowledge exchange (KE) project co‐sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council and the LAs. The project's aim was an ambitious one: to contribute to culture change in the children and families' departments in the two partner agencies. The project grew out of an earlier KE venture that had explored ways of engaging better with involuntary service users in social work; it thus both anticipated and reflected wider concerns about services for children that were also demonstrated in Munro's Review of Child Protection. The KE project had three components: training for managers, practitioner research projects and critical reflection workshops. Whether, and to what degree, the KE project changed culture is not the focus of this paper, which is written jointly by academic researchers and practitioners. Instead, one element of the KE project, namely the critical reflection workshops, is discussed. Findings provide strong evidence of the pressures currently experienced by children and families' services in the UK public sector. They also indicate how important good relationships are in building meaningful KE.
    September 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12177   open full text
  • The Common Assessment Framework: the impact of the lead professional on families and professionals as part of a continuum of care in England.
    Lisa Holmes, Samantha McDermid.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 15, 2014
    This paper utilizes data gathered as part of an exploratory study to assess the costs and impact of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), to examine the impact that the lead professional role had on families and workers. The study found that both families and workers believed the lead professional to be central to the CAF process, providing a range of support, coordinating multi‐agency responses to need and acting as a single point of contact between families and workers. The paper highlights the need for consideration to be given to inter‐agency working, data sharing, training for workers and the capacity implications for those taking on the role. The extent to which the lead professional might be more integrated into the continuum of support for vulnerable children and families is also examined. The paper highlights the need to consider the lead professional's role in not only preventing the need for more intensive services, such as those provided by statutory social work, but also maintaining outcomes achieved once a child protection plan is closed, or a child is reunified with his or her birth family after a period of being in care. The implications of the findings for policy and practice are discussed.
    September 15, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12174   open full text
  • Adoption disclosure: experiences of Indian domestic adoptive parents.
    Jayashree Mohanty, Jaejin Ahn, Srinivasan Chokkanathan.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 10, 2014
    Adoption disclosure is an important indicator of the healthy development and psychological well‐being of adopted children. However, findings from studies conducted among Asian domestic adoptive parents have highlighted some concerns. Using Kirk's theoretical proposition, a study was conducted among 86 Indian domestic adoptive parents to determine the societal and familial factors related to adoption disclosure. The results showed that while many of the parents had talked openly about their adoption to their immediate families (95.3%) and others of their social network (88.4%), they were hesitant in telling the child. Only 12.8% of the Indian parents had told their child about adoption, and 31.4% were planning to tell. The results of the logistic regression analysis revealed that children who were above 6 months at adoption were more likely to have had disclosures from their parents about their adoption. Further, adoptive parents who had told or were planning to tell their child about adoption perceived less about the loss of the biological parenthood and were more likely to perceive the beneficial effects of adoption disclosure to the child. These findings have implications for the provision of appropriate strategies, resources and support to adoptive families seeking to deal with adoption disclosure.
    September 10, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12175   open full text
  • Re B‐S: a glass half full? An exploration of the implications of the Re B‐S judgment on practice in the family courts.
    Anna Gupta, Edward Lloyd‐Jones.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 28, 2014
    The family courts in England and Wales are being significantly reformed in line with the coalition government's aim to speed up the process and increase the numbers of children being adopted from care. In September 2013, the Court of Appeal handed down a judgment, Re B‐S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146, that has wide‐ranging implications for professional practice and decision making in care proceedings. The judgment challenges the policy direction and provides guidance about what is required before courts can make orders separating children from their birth families, particularly in cases of non‐consensual adoption. In this paper, we outline the changes occurring in the family justice system, some key elements of Re B‐S, and examine the challenges for implementing practice consistent with the requirements of Re B‐S. It is argued that the standards set by Re B‐S are unlikely to be fully implemented without much further attention to the complexities posed by the policy and practice context of social work with children and their families involved in care proceedings.
    August 28, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12176   open full text
  • Weighing it up: family maintenance discourses in NGO child protection decision‐making in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
    Emily Keddell.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 07, 2014
    Examining the concepts underpinning the reasoning processes of social worker's decision‐making provides important insights into how social work practice is undertaken. This paper examines one of the major discourses used by social workers in decision reasoning in a non‐governmental organization child protection context in Aotearoa/New Zealand: family maintenance. This study found that family maintenance as a concept was strongly privileged by social workers. This resulted in attempts to preserve families and created a hierarchy of preferred decision outcomes. A preference for family maintenance was supported by legal, moral, psychological and Māori cultural concepts. This pattern of constructs underpinned the ‘weighing up of harms’ when considering removal, and generally reflected a child welfare orientation. In addition to this, it was found that ‘family’ was broadly defined, and could include people who had a relationship with the children, or Māori definitions of extended family, in addition to legal ones.
    August 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12168   open full text
  • The bumpy road to ‘becoming’: capturing the stories that teenage mothers told about their journey into motherhood.
    Maggie Leese.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 06, 2014
    Understanding the experience of women who become mothers during their teenage years is central to ensuring that the support that is offered is appropriate to meet their needs. This paper reports on a small part of a larger ethnographic study that captured the lived experience of young mothers who were between the ages of 16 and 19 years that potentially typifies and illuminates the experiences of young women who become mothers in their teenage years. By collecting data from narrative interviews as well as participant and non‐participant observations over an extended period of time it was possible to identify how the young women experienced a range of difficulties as they made their transition into motherhood. Drawing on the findings, this paper argues that this transition for teenage mothers can be significantly different from the experience of older mothers, and it identifies the importance of appropriate support to mediate the challenges that they face. Understanding the young women's journey to ‘becoming’ is critical when planning services because if their experience of support is negative, it can lead to increased levels of maternal stress and reluctance to engage with support services.
    August 06, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12169   open full text
  • Children's agency in interprofessional collaborative meetings in child welfare work.
    Anette Bolin.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 25, 2014
    The concept of children's agency can be used to understand how children actively shape their lives. While in social work there is a growing body of research on how children experience meetings that involve collaborating professionals, little is known about the ways in which they exert an influence. The purpose of the study is, in a Swedish context, to investigate children's perceptions of their agentic capacity in regulating participation and exerting an influence on outcomes in interprofessional collaborative meetings. Interviews were carried out with 28 children in receipt of social services support. Findings revealed that children perceive professionals' talk as restricting opportunities for input. They also perceive that they have the capacity to exercise agency by (i) conforming to expectations by feigning boredom and seeming disengaged, but at the same time paying close attention; (ii) by using exit strategies; and (iii) by developing ‘in‐situ’ strategies to end meetings. Rather than, as previously suggested, being powerless in such circumstances, the children tell how they carefully assess situations, and, from a position of apparent subordination, talk of ways of acting that reveal their agentic capacity. These insights are of importance for practitioners who are encouraged to look beyond behaviours that first meet the eye.
    July 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12167   open full text
  • Challenges in recruiting parents to participate in child welfare research: implications for study design and research practice.
    Rebecca G. Mirick.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 25, 2014
    Although research with hard‐to‐reach populations is necessary to deepen the social work knowledge base and improve services to these groups, recruiting members of hard‐to‐reach populations for research projects is often a challenging process. Frequently, non‐probability sampling is used to obtain participants. However, the difficulties and limitations associated with this process in quantitative research are rarely discussed in depth in the literature. Sampling issues can significantly impact a research project, delaying it, extending it or even causing the premature termination of a project. Challenges to recruitment can limit the type of research that is completed, impact the knowledge base or introduce threats to validity through sampling bias. Using a preliminary quantitative study on parental engagement with child protective services as an illustration for the discussion, the challenges of non‐probability sampling with a hard‐to‐reach population and the implications for research practice are explored and discussed. Implications for future research practice are considered.
    July 25, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12165   open full text
  • (In)Sufficient?: ethnicity and foster care in English local authorities.
    Derek Kirton.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 22, 2014
    This paper examines the place of ethnicity in local authority foster care in the context of the sufficiency duty to secure adequate local placements for looked after children. The analysis draws on two main sources, namely Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED's) annual survey of fostering agencies and inspection reports for around half the local authority fostering services in England. Sufficiency is gauged in two main ways, comparing numbers of black and minority ethnic (BME) foster carers first with numbers of BME looked after children and second, with local adult (age 25–64) populations. Statistical analysis shows very wide variation on both measures and a significant minority of authorities that perform poorly in terms of the ethnic diversity of their foster carers. Inspection reports also vary widely in the degree and nature of attention given to issues of ethnicity with many offering limited (and sometimes no) challenge to poor performance. These findings are discussed within the broader context of recent trends towards de‐emphasizing the significance of ethnicity in child welfare.
    July 22, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12166   open full text
  • Contact visits between foster children and their birth family: the views of foster children, foster parents and social workers.
    María D. Salas Martínez, María J. Fuentes, Isabel M. Bernedo, Miguel A. García‐Martín.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 21, 2014
    It has been argued that contact visits between foster children and birth parents can help maintain attachment bonds and support the child's development. However, some research suggests that such visits can be detrimental. This study analyses the characteristics of contact visits and examines children's perceptions of the emotional relationship they have with foster carers and their biological parents. Participants were 104 non‐kinship foster children and their respective foster carers and social workers. Fifty‐six of these foster children had contact visits with their birth parents. Foster children rated the quality of their relationship with foster carers and birth parents using the Affect Scale. Foster children, foster carers and social workers all completed the Evaluation of Contact Visits Questionnaire. Results showed that (i) a high proportion of children had no contact visits; (ii) the contact agreement was often not fulfilled; (iii) many visits were rated as poor quality; (iv) foster carers' evaluation of visits was more negative than that of both foster children and social workers; and (v) children who experienced poor‐quality visits and perceived less warmth and more criticism/rejection from their parents. These results highlight the need to improve contact visits by developing intervention strategies targeted at all those involved.
    July 21, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12163   open full text
  • ‘Sex is violence’: African‐American parents' perceptions of the link between exposure to community violence and youth sexual behaviours.
    Dexter Voisin, Lois Takahashi, Kathryn Berringer, Sean Burr, Jessica Kuhnen.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 21, 2014
    In Chicago, African‐American youth experience disproportionately high rates of exposure to community violence. Growing evidence documents that such exposures are related to youth sexual behaviours. This qualitative study seeks to illuminate the various ways in which violence and sex are intertwined in the lives of African‐American youth. Analysing data from four focus groups (N = 54), major themes indicated that parents linked community violence with: (i) influencing youth sexual interests and opportunities for having sex; (ii) specific notions of youth sexual identities and social status; (iii) increased gang involvement and sexual initiations; and (iv) girls' grudges and their sexual concurrency with boys. These findings suggest that addressing these specific issues is important in parent‐centred and community‐grounded interventions aimed at reducing risky sexual behaviours among African‐American youth.
    July 21, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12162   open full text
  • Inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: the intersection of deprivation and identity.
    Paul Bywaters, Geraldine Brady, Tim Sparks, Elizabeth Bos.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 21, 2014
    Child welfare systems internationally exhibit very large inequalities in a variety of dimensions of practice, for example, in rates of child protection plans or registrations and out‐of‐home care. Previous research in the midlands region of England (Bywaters; Bywaters et al.) has detailed key aspects of the relationship between levels of neighbourhood deprivation and intervention rates. This paper reports further evidence from the study examining the intersection of deprivation with aspects of identity: gender, disability, ethnicity and age. Key findings include a decreasing gender gap and a decreasing proportion of children in need reported to be disabled as deprivation increases. The data challenge the perception that black children are more likely than white to be in out‐of‐home care, a finding that only holds if the much higher level of deprivation among black children is not taken into account. Similarly, after controlling for deprivation and age, Asian children were found to be up to six times less likely to be in out‐of‐home care. The study requires replication and extension in order that observed inequalities are tested and explained. Urgent ethical, research, policy and practice issues are raised about child welfare systems.
    July 21, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12161   open full text
  • Navigating family roles and relationships: system youth in the transition years.
    Bethany R. Lee, Andrea R. Cole, Michelle R. Munson.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 17, 2014
    During young adulthood, many transitions occur in family relationships. This paper explores family roles for young adults in the transition years who have been in the custody of the child welfare system and have mood challenges. To capture the voices of this less studied subpopulation, we conducted in‐depth qualitative interviews with 44 young adults in a Midwestern state. Through coding interview transcripts, we identified how these young people defined family and issues they were navigating in family relationships. These young people were commonly resolving family history issues especially related to ambiguous and actual losses, as well as the legacy of this history in their present‐day family relationships. Professionals who intervene with this population should be prepared to help young people as they navigate these family transitions and change the future by rewriting family narratives.
    June 17, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12160   open full text
  • Discourses about children's mental health and developmental disorders in North American women's magazines 1990–2012.
    Juanne Clarke, Donya Mosleh, Natasa Janketic.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 09, 2014
    This paper describes and analyses the portrayal of children's mental health and developmental issues (CMHI) in articles located in a random sample of a selection of available high‐circulating English language North American ‘women's magazines’ indexed in the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature from 1990 to 2012. It is based upon a qualitative discourse analysis. CMHI are portrayed as materially, biologically real, prevalent and growing in incidence, and severity. They are also portrayed as located in the ‘non‐normal’, ‘non‐nice’, ‘disliked’ and ‘non‐successful’ individual child. Neither the facticity nor the biomedicalization of CMHI is questioned. The psy‐scientists and practitioners cited as experts for the ‘disorders’ offer contradictory and confusing information and advice. The possible theoretical and pragmatic explanations and consequences of this portrayal are discussed.
    June 09, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12155   open full text
  • Parental military service and adolescent well‐being: mental health, social connections and coping among youth in the USA.
    Mallory Lucier‐Greer, Amy Laura Arnold, Rebecca Neilann Grimsley, James L. Ford, Chalandra Bryant, Jay A. Mancini.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 01, 2014
    The association between parental military work factors and adolescent's well‐being was examined. Data were collected from 1036 military youth. Using a within‐group design, we examined adolescent's well‐being related to parental absence, school and neighbourhood transitions, paygrade/rank and participation in military‐sponsored activities, and differentiated outcomes by sex and age. Two parental work factors primarily influenced adolescent's well‐being, parental paygrade/rank and engagement in military‐sponsored activities. Parental paygrade/rank was the only factor uniformly related to poorer well‐being, and this variable likely represents a more complex set of family circumstances. Engaging in military‐sponsored activities served as a resource and was related to enhanced well‐being. Individual‐level differences and implications for social workers are discussed.
    June 01, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12158   open full text
  • Psychometric properties of an adapted version of the parental sense of competence (PSOC) scale for Portuguese at‐risk parents.
    Cristina Nunes, Lucía Jiménez, Susana Menéndez, Lara Ayala‐Nunes, Victoria Hidalgo.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 01, 2014
    Parental sense of competence is one of the central dimensions targeted on psychosocial interventions aimed at supporting at‐risk families. Researchers and practitioners need reliable instruments to assess the parental role adapted for these families. Although the parental sense of competence (PSOC) scale has been frequently used to assess this construct, there is still no adapted version for Portuguese parents. In this study, the reliability, validity and factor structure of the PSOC scale is examined with a clinical sample of 146 mothers from at‐risk families receiving psychosocial interventions for family preservation from Child Protective Services. Results show that the Portuguese version of the PSOC measures three distinct constructs with acceptable psychometric properties: efficacy, dissatisfaction and controllability. As expected, the obtained factors were significantly and positively related to parenting alliance and family cohesion, and negatively associated with parenting stress. In sum, the proposed Portuguese version shows reliability and validity evidences to measure three relevant dimensions of parental self‐evaluation, and it constitutes a cost‐ and time‐effective instrument suited for at‐risk mothers.
    June 01, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12159   open full text
  • The story of the PPO queen: the development and acceptance of a spoiled identity in child protection social work.
    Jadwiga Leigh.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 26, 2014
    The efficacy of child protection social work is regularly being questioned in the media as vociferous critics deride the profession for the apparent failings of its practitioners. This paper aims to examine the impact this hostility can have on practice and the relationship practitioners develop with their organization and subsequently the families they work with. By using autoethnography, a personal experience I encountered whilst working as a statutory social worker for an Emergency Duty Team will be explored in detail in order to analyse how discursive regimes can endorse and encourage particular ways of thinking and doing for social workers. I also intend to demonstrate that when workers operate in a risk averse environment, oppressive practices can develop subconsciously. These not only affect professionals’ values and assumptions but also fortify distance between the social worker and the client. If social work is to facilitate positive change in the current climate of uncertainty, then it is hoped that this story may enable both practitioners, and their critics, to recognize that being open to different forms of knowledge could lead to better outcomes for all involved.
    May 26, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12157   open full text
  • Life satisfaction in the transition from care to adulthood: the contribution of readiness to leave care and social support.
    Tamar Dinisman.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 23, 2014
    This research explores whether readiness to leave care mediates the association between social support – from peers, staff and biological parents – on the verge of leaving care and life satisfaction a year after among young people ageing out of care in Israel. The results represent two waves of a longitudinal study. Two hundred seventy‐two adolescents from residential settings in Israel completed a self‐administered questionnaire shortly before they left care, and one year later, 234 of them were interviewed to assess their life satisfaction. Readiness to leave care was found to mediate the relationship between most social support measurements and life satisfaction. At the same time, the findings also suggest that this mediating effect varies for different types of support and has a lesser amount of influence for profound emotional support than other types of support. These findings highlight the need to include both the preparation to leave care and the reinforcement of emotional support available to young people who aged out of care, before and throughout the transition from care to adulthood.
    May 23, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12156   open full text
  • Child welfare inequalities: new evidence, further questions.
    Paul Bywaters, Geraldine Brady, Tim Sparks, Elizabeth Bos.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 08, 2014
    Research internationally has identified large differences in rates of child safeguarding interventions, recently characterized as child welfare inequalities, markers of social inequalities in childhood with parallels to inequalities in health and education. This paper reports a Nuffield Foundation‐funded study to examine the role of deprivation in explaining differences in key children's services interventions between and within local authorities (LAs). The study involved an analysis of descriptive data on over 10% of children on child protection plans or in out‐of‐home care in 14 English LAs at 31 March 2012. The data demonstrate very large inequalities in rates of child welfare interventions within and between LAs, systematically related to levels of deprivation. There is evidence of a gradient in child welfare inequalities across the whole of society. There also appears to be an equivalent of the inverse care law for health: For any given level of deprivation in local neighbourhoods, LAs with lower overall levels of deprivation were intervening more often. The findings raise fundamental questions for research, policy and practice including whether the allocation of children's service resources sufficiently recognize the impact of deprivation on demand and how we judge whether a safeguarding system is effective at the population level.
    May 08, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12154   open full text
  • We're GRAND: a qualitative design and development pilot project addressing the needs and strengths of grandparents raising grandchildren.
    Youjung Lee, Lisa V. Blitz.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 05, 2014
    Custodial grandparents play a significant role in sustaining healthy families, but the caregiving is demanding. A social research design and development process informed a school district‐university partnership project responding to the needs of a group of custodial grandparents. Three phases of the project are described: (i) needs assessment; (ii) design and implementation of a psychoeducational group facilitated by social work faculty and a school district administrator; and (iii) evaluation of programme impact. Major themes from the needs assessment and evaluation are presented. Discussion highlights the need for school and family engagement, recognition of the significant changes in family role required for grandparents, and viewing custodial grandparents as leaders and engaged caregivers. The meaning of diversity in group intervention for this population is also explored.
    May 05, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12153   open full text
  • Foster care assessment: an exploratory study of the placement assessment process in Flanders and the Netherlands.
    Johan Vanderfaeillie, Harm Damen, Huub Pijnenburg, Peter Bergh, Frank Van Holen.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 22, 2014
    Family foster care placement decision‐making has a weak scientific underpinning. The identification of clusters of foster children (groups of foster children with similar characteristics) can help improve decision quality. In this study, we investigated if foster children could indeed be clustered, which problems were identified at the time of placement and what might be the influence of placement history. Two clusters of foster children were found: (i) young children with coinciding parental child‐rearing incapacity and familial problems, and (ii) older children with child problems. At the time of placement, familial problems were more often identified in younger children with a placement history. These findings stress the importance of approaching foster care assessment as part of a dynamic decision‐making process. It is key to finding the most appropriate situation for the child. At the same time, it must be decided how the desired situation can be realized, wherein placement decisions are based on an appraisal of whether or not a foster placement is an appropriate solution. In conjunction with this, it needs to be decided how the parents can be supported towards reunification, or whether or not long‐term foster care is the best option for the child, and if so what conditions need to be met.
    April 22, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12152   open full text
  • Assessing parenting capacity in child protection: towards a knowledge‐based model.
    Stan Houston.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 13, 2014
    The assessment of parenting capacity continues to engender public concern in cases of suspected harm to children. This paper outlines a model for approaching this task based on the application of three key domains of knowledge in social work relating to facts, theory and practice wisdom. The McMaster Model of Family Assessment is identified out of this process and reworked to give it a sharper focus on parenting roles and responsibilities. Seven formative dimensions of parenting are then elicited and combined with an analytical process of identifying strengths, concerns, prospects for growth and impact on child outcomes. The resulting assessment framework, it is argued, adds rigour to professional judgements about parenting capacity and enhances formulations on risk in child protection.
    April 13, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12151   open full text
  • An exploratory study of family‐centred help‐giving practices in early intervention: families of young children with autism spectrum disorder.
    Christan Grygas Coogle, Mary Frances Hanline.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 10, 2014
    The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to investigate the early intervention (EI) experiences of mothers who have a young child at risk for autism spectrum disorder. Data were collected through observations, interviews and document analyses. Results of the study suggest (i) interpersonal skills of practitioners and provisions for family choice and collaboration lead to positive experiences for mothers; (ii) asset‐based attitudes lead to family progress and competence; (iii) effective partnerships are developed through supportive provider communication techniques; and (iv) satisfaction with EI services results from practitioner responsiveness to help families access resources and facilitate child development.
    April 10, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12148   open full text
  • Achieving high quality and long‐lasting matches in youth mentoring programmes: a case study of 4Results mentoring.
    Elizabeth Higley, Sarah C. Walker, Asia S. Bishop, Cindy Fritz.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 07, 2014
    Mentoring programmes show significant promise for enhancing the well‐being of youth with complex needs. Research indicates that high quality mentoring, although difficult to achieve, positively impacts youth development across behavioural, social, emotional and academic domains. The difficulty of sustaining long‐term matches between mentors and youth, however, remains an important concern for the field of mentoring, as foreshortened matches can be harmful to youth. The 4Results mentoring programme has been identified as a Promising Practice through the Washington State Inventory of child‐serving behavioural and mental health programmes and has developed a unique infrastructure to support critical programme values such as match longevity. In 7 years, the programme has successfully retained 98% of mentors for at least 1 year with an average match length of 3.7 years. The following article describes the programme's guiding philosophy and approach to recruiting and training mentors in the context of existing best practices research.
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12141   open full text
  • Collaborating with families in differential responses: practitioners' views.
    Karen Healy, Gai Harrison, Jemma Venables, Fiona Bosly.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 04, 2014
    Child protection authorities in many countries are concerned with reducing the rates of investigations and with diverting at‐risk families from the child protection service system. In several countries, differential responses have been introduced into child protection law providing service providers with some choice between investigative or family support pathways, depending upon the level of risk posed in the circumstance. In this paper, we report on a study into a form of differential response known as Intervention with Parents' Agreement introduced in Queensland, Australia, in 2005. A unique feature of this differential response is that it occurs after an initial child protection investigation, although it does provide child protection services with options for providing supportive interventions to at‐risk families to prevent the further escalation of concerns. In this paper, we analyse practitioners' perceptions of factors that inhibit and promote implementation of the Intervention with Parents' Agreement. Drawing upon interviews with 25 practitioners, we identify factors that become important for securing participation after an initial investigation has occurred. We discuss the implications for the development of differential responses in child protection service systems.
    April 04, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12149   open full text
  • The experience of gender dysphoria for pre‐pubescent children and their families: a review of the literature.
    Claire Gregor, Sarah Davidson, Helen Hingley‐Jones.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 03, 2014
    In recent years, the experience of gender dysphoria has gained public prominence through an explosion of sensationalized interest in the popular media. However, childhood gender dysphoria remains poorly understood and both parents and children often find themselves having to educate professionals around them. This not only creates a sense of disconnect between family and professionals, but also means that social workers can often be unaware of the myriad of competing perspectives that seek to explain gender variance. This review of the literature seeks to provide interested social workers with an overview of gender dysphoria, current research in the field and theoretical paradigms, with a view to promoting understanding and better practice with families in this little understood field.
    April 03, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12150   open full text
  • Matching children and substitute homes: some theoretical and empirical notions.
    Tarja Pösö, Riitta Laakso.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2014
    Matching describes the process of selecting the substitute home for a child who needs to be placed away from the care of his/her birth parents. However, very little theorizing is done about matching and there is also a lack of systematic investigation into models of practice currently in use. Most importantly, very little is known about front‐line matching practices in different socio‐historical child welfare contexts. This paper aims to explore the concept of matching by addressing it theoretically and empirically as a decision‐making practice in social work. Based on the analysis of phone interviews (49) and focus group interviews (five groups with 18 child welfare practitioners) in Finland, we claim that matching includes a high degree of navigation: decision‐making balances between professional discretion, legal norms and principles, subjective views of the children and their parents as well as the economic and bureaucratic conditions of the service provision administration in the municipality. Navigation is shadowed by uncertainty and compromises. The analysis suggests that the notion of matching needs further analysis as it plays an important role in child welfare decision‐making. The interplay between front‐line practice and the socio‐historical context needs to be further addressed.
    March 30, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12144   open full text
  • What social workers do in performing child protection work: evidence from research into face‐to‐face practice.
    Harry Ferguson.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 21, 2014
    Little research has been done into what social workers do in everyday child protection practice. This paper outlines the broad findings from an ethnographic study of face‐to‐face encounters between social workers, children and families, especially on home visits. The social work practice was found to be deeply investigative. Children's bedrooms were routinely inspected and were the most common place where they were seen alone. A high proportion of children were not seen on their own because they were too young and the majority of the time was spent working with parents and children together. Small amounts of time were spent with children on their own and some first encounters were so rushed that social workers did not even introduce themselves to the child. This arose from two key factors: firstly, organisational pressures from high workloads and the short timescales that social workers were expected to adhere to by managers and Government; secondly, practitioners had varying levels of communication skills, playfulness and comfort with getting close to children and skills at family work. Where these skills and relational capacities were present, social workers were found to have developed deep and meaningful relationships with some children and families, for whom it was apparent that therapeutic change had occurred.
    March 21, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12142   open full text
  • Are foster children's schools of origin always best? School quality in birth vs. foster parent neighbourhoods.
    Lauren Fries, Sacha Klein, Molly Ballantyne.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 20, 2014
    Research has documented that foster children have high rates of school mobility, and it is widely believed that this contributes to their poor educational outcomes. Recent US policies address this by attempting to minimize schools transfers for foster children; however, these policies have largely ignored the issue of school quality. The current study uses descriptive statistics and mixed factor analysis of variance to assess (i) the quality of schools attended by elementary‐aged US foster children living in a large, urban school district (n = 683); (ii) their rates of school mobility; and (iii) differences between the quality of schools located in their birth parent vs. foster placement neighbourhoods. Results indicate that these foster children were attending poor performing schools and had high rates of school transfers. For the sample as a whole and specifically for African‐Americans and Hispanics, schools located in placement neighbourhoods were higher performing than schools in birth parent neighbourhoods. For white children, however, birth parent schools outperformed placement schools. These findings highlight the importance of considering school quality, not just continuity, when making educational decisions for children in out‐of‐home care.
    March 20, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12145   open full text
  • Outcomes of the ON FIRE peer support programme for children and adolescents in families with mental health problems.
    Kim Foster, Ingrid McPhee, Judith Fethney, Andrea McCloughen.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 20, 2014
    Children in families with mental health problems may encounter multiple risks to their well‐being. General aims of peer support programmes for these children include fostering resilience and effective coping strategies, and enhancing self‐esteem and social skills. This study aimed to evaluate outcomes from a pilot multi‐site implementation of the ON FIRE peer support programme. The purpose of ON FIRE is to cultivate hope, resilience and well‐being in children and adolescents aged 8–17 years living in families affected by sibling or parental mental health problems. We employed a pre‐post test (baseline and 4 months) evaluation using a suite of outcome measures. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), Children's Hope Scale, Kids Connections Scale and Positive and Negative Affect Scale for Children (PANAS‐C) were completed for 64 child/adolescent participants. At baseline, participants had significantly greater difficulties compared with Australian norms. At 4 months, there were significant differences in children's hope and in connections outside the family. There were no significant differences in the SDQ or the PANAS‐C.
    March 20, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12143   open full text
  • Post‐adoption reunion sibling relationships: factors facilitating and hindering the development of sensitive relationships following reunion in adulthood.
    Denise O'Neill, Colette McAuley, Hilda Loughran.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 20, 2014
    This paper explores findings from an exploratory study on sibling relationships following adoption reunion in adulthood. The qualitative data was gathered through in‐depth interviews with 33 adopted adults who were reunited with their birth sibling(s) through an adoption agency in the Republic of Ireland. The findings throw light upon the development of the emotional, often complex, relationships which may emerge when siblings meet for the first time in adult life. Factors influential in facilitating or hindering these post‐reunion relationships are discussed. The important insights are then considered in the context of the wider international literature on adoption, search and reunion.
    February 20, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12139   open full text
  • ‘It's about the whole family’: family contact for children in kinship care.
    Meredith Kiraly, Cathy Humphreys.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 20, 2014
    Contact with family for children in care is identified as a right under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, such contact often presents challenges because of the protective concerns that have led to care arrangements being made. The Family Links: Kinship Care and Family Contact research study explored the nature and extent of family contact in kinship care, with a particular focus on the circumstances that create positive contact and foster family relationships. Findings included evidence of a large proportion of parental contact that was negatively affecting children's well‐being, and was sometimes unsafe. By contrast, the frequent contact that children were enjoying with their siblings and wider family was reported to be mostly positive and supportive. Kinship carers described a range of services needed to facilitate more positive parental contact and to enable children to keep contact with significant family members.
    February 20, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12140   open full text
  • Why parents matter: exploring the impact of a hegemonic concern with the timetable for the child.
    Kim Holt, Nancy Kelly.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 17, 2014
    In a climate of austerity, timescales and targets, this paper probes whether parents matter sufficiently within the current child protection system in England. Evidence suggests that achieving partnership working in the context of child protection has become increasingly illusive, particularly when parents are notified that the local authority is considering compulsory intervention to remove their children under the Children Act 1989. Recent changes to legislation, policy and practice ushered in with the aim of achieving earlier decisions within the time frame for the child are laudable, but there are consequences for both children and their parents. The aspirations of the Public Law Outline (2008) are well rehearsed, but the changes being introduced with the recent reform of the family justice system, alongside particular constructions of parenting, may be failing to recognize the potential of many parents, if offered appropriate support, to care safely for their children.
    February 17, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12125   open full text
  • Open spaces, supple bodies? Considering the impact of agile working on social work office practices.
    Dharman Jeyasingham.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 17, 2014
    There has been a shift towards social workers in many areas of the UK being based in large open plan offices and working more flexibly and remotely in space. This approach is commonly referred to as ‘agile working’. The paper explores the impact of agile working on social workers' practices and experiences in office spaces. It discusses data from an ethnographic study of children's safeguarding social work teams in two locations. One team was based in a large open plan office and was engaged in agile working, the other team was located in a much smaller office and was not using this approach. Data from observations of practice, analysis of material spaces, and interviews with social workers and those responsible for planning office space are examined. The paper concludes that there are qualitative differences between such spaces which are due to agile working arrangements and which are likely to impact significantly on social workers' experiences of practice, interactions with colleagues and development of practice knowledge. The data also suggest a lack of understanding in social work of the spatial requirements of practitioners and the significance that private and open space has for children's social work in the current UK context.
    February 17, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12130   open full text
  • Webster‐Stratton Incredible Years Basic Parent Programme (IY) in child care placements: residential staff carers' satisfaction results.
    Isabel Simões Silva, Maria Filomena da Fonseca Gaspar, James P. Anglin.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 04, 2014
    The aim of the present study was to investigate residential child care staff satisfaction with their involvement in the Webster‐Stratton Incredible Years Basic Parent Programme (IY). In an exploratory, not randomized study, 27 professionals from two different short‐term Portuguese residential child care centres (IG1, n = 15; IG2; n = 12) completed weekly IY evaluations and an overall satisfaction questionnaire at the end of their participation in the IY intervention. The weekly level of satisfaction was assessed with regard to each of the programme's components (content, DVDs, group leaders, group discussion). At the last session, they filled out a questionnaire aimed to evaluate the levels of satisfaction regarding the programme overall, the teaching format, the group leader(s) and the usefulness of specific educational techniques they learned. Data indicated that residential staff carers were highly satisfied with the weekly sessions and with the overall usefulness of the intervention programme. Results are discussed in terms of implications and future research directions.
    February 04, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12129   open full text
  • Children's accounts of moving to a foster home.
    Annabel Goodyer.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 27, 2014
    Little is known about how children themselves understand their moves to and between foster homes. The data presented in this paper come from a study that sought children's views on becoming and being a foster child. A key finding of that study was how children's accounts of being fostered illustrated a high level of anxiety and concern about their moving to live with a foster family. This paper firstly explores the key issues about looked‐after children's moves. It then describes the research study undertaken, before exploring the data generated from children's accounts of their moves to a new foster home. Lastly, there is a discussion of the implications for social work practice in this area.
    January 27, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12128   open full text
  • Impact of child care arrangements on Australian children's cognitive outcome: moderation effects of parental factors.
    Kyunghee Lee.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 22, 2014
    This study examines the effects of child care arrangements on children's cognitive outcomes. It is a secondary analysis, using data on 5107 children born in 2004 and their families from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Data were collected in 2004 (Wave One), in 2006 (Wave Two) and in 2008 (Wave Three). This study asks (i) Do children receiving non‐parental child care have different cognitive developmental outcomes at ages 4–5, compared with those who never had non‐parental child care during the first 3 years of life? Do parental factors affect these associations?; and (ii) among children with non‐parental child care, do child care characteristics such as types of care, quantity, entry age and stability of child care affect child outcomes? Do parental factors affect child outcomes? The study's findings suggest that children in non‐parental child care had higher Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores at age 5. Among children in non‐parental child care arrangements, quantity and entry age of non‐parental child care affected children's cognitive developmental outcomes. Along with child care arrangements, parental mental health was associated with children's cognitive outcomes.
    January 22, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12127   open full text
  • Suicidal ideation and self‐harm among youths in Norway: associations with verbal, physical and sexual abuse.
    Svein Mossige, Lihong Huang, Malanie Straiton, Katrina Roen.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 22, 2014
    Using data from a national survey (n = 6979) of young people in their last year in Norwegian secondary schools in 2007 (aged 18–19), this paper explores the relationship between sexual abuse and experiences of violence among young people in Norway and their reporting of suicidal ideation and self‐harm. This investigation includes three types of abuse experienced by young people: non‐physical, physical and sexual. We investigate suicidal ideation and two types of self‐harming behaviour: non‐suicidal self‐injury and suicidal self‐injury. The analyses that are reported involve descriptive analysis, chi‐square and t‐tests, and logistic regression. The hypothesis that was confirmed by the analysis was that being subject to sexual abuse or other violence was associated with increased risk of self‐harm. The hypothesis that was partially supported by the analysis was that violence experienced during childhood would have more effect on suicidal ideation and self‐harm than violence experienced at a later age. Contrary to our expectations, it was found that peer bullying has a stronger effect on young people's suicidal ideation and self‐harming behaviours than sexual abuse or physical violence. The implications of these findings for practitioners working with children and youth involve raising awareness about the long‐term effects of verbal, physical, sexual and witnessed abuse.
    January 22, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12126   open full text
  • How professionals talk about complex cases: a critical discourse analysis.
    Rick Hood.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 09, 2014
    This paper reports on a qualitative study of child protection in the UK. The research involved children's practitioners from a range of agencies, including social care, education, health and youth offending, who were asked about working together on complex child protection cases. The aim was to explore how participants talked about complexity in these cases, in order to deconstruct influential perspectives on interprofessional working. Interview transcripts were analysed using critical discourse analysis, a qualitative method that examines patterns of language use in relation to social structures of power and control. The findings identified three overall perspectives: clinical, expert system and relation‐centred approaches, which practitioners combined in various ways. These perspectives have a bearing on how the ‘team around the child’ is conceptualized in discourse about child protection. The paper links these findings to the assumptions of predictability and control currently embedded in policy and practice guidance, and explores their implications for social workers and other children's practitioners.
    January 09, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12122   open full text
  • Predictors of behavioural problems in foster children: the key role of impulsivity.
    Maria D. Salas, Maria J. Fuentes, Isabel M. Bernedo, Miguel A. García‐Martín.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 08, 2014
    Although several variables have been reported to be associated with behavioural problems in foster children, few studies have sought to establish more precisely the extent to which these variables may explain problematic behaviour. The main aim of this study is to determine the extent to which certain variables may predict behavioural problems shown by foster children. Participants included 104 foster children and their respective foster families. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the following variables predict behavioural problems in foster children: impulsivity/attention deficit in the child, level of burden in the foster carers, rigid or authoritarian parental discipline, and criticism/rejection by the foster parents. The model explained 46% of the variance in behaviour problems, with the greatest predictive power (29%) corresponding to the variable ‘impulsivity/attention deficit’. The results show that impulsivity/attention deficit is the most powerful predictor of behavioural problems in foster children. This is consistent with the findings of various studies that have reported an association between a lack of inhibitory control and problematic behaviour.
    January 08, 2014   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12124   open full text
  • Being there for my grandchild – grandparents' responses to their grandchildren's exposure to domestic violence.
    Linn Sandberg.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 23, 2013
    Grandparents whose grandchildren are exposed to domestic violence are faced with some unique challenges in their grandparenting, which have thus far been little discussed in research. This paper discusses the narratives of 10 Swedish grandparents whose grandchildren have been exposed to violence towards their mother. The aim was to explore grandparents' narrations of their responses in the face of violence, and their understanding of the role they play in their grandchildren's social networks. Two significant responses are discussed: ‘being there’ and ‘acknowledging the independence and self‐determination of the adult children’. Grandparents experienced these responses as contradictory and felt powerless when it came to their possibilities to protect their grandchildren. The paper suggests that grandparents could be a resource for domestic violence services, and social work practice needs to assess the roles of grandparents of children exposed to domestic violence. Social workers should consider the challenges these grandparents are facing and what support they may need in order to support their grandchildren.
    December 23, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12123   open full text
  • Child‐led research in the context of Australian social welfare practice.
    Samia Michail, Mary Kellett.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 11, 2013
    This paper details the first child‐led research programme to be implemented in Australia in which children design and lead their own research about issues they identify. The programme was specifically adapted for children who were service users of a nongovernment organization that provides social welfare and support services to vulnerable children and their families, living in communities of the disadvantaged. The practitioner – researchers faced the expected challenges of power in child–adult relations pertinent to the status of children in a genuinely child‐led research endeavour. However, the paper details the additional challenges and responses required when conducting research in a practice environment and the successful adaptations that were used to meet these challenges. The positive findings of an independently commissioned programme evaluation raise important questions about the place and purpose of child‐led research within the field of children's social welfare practice.
    August 11, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12087   open full text
  • How effective do families of non–English‐speaking background (NESB) and child protection caseworkers in Australia see the use of interpreters? A qualitative study to help inform good practice principles.
    Pooja Sawrikar.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 05, 2013
    Little empirical research has been conducted in Australia on what constitutes as effective practice with interpreters in child protection matters. This study aimed to address this gap. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 29 non–English‐speaking background (NESB) client families and 17 child protection caseworkers (as part of a larger study). Four examples of good practice (e.g. accurate translation) and 14 examples of ineffective practice emerged. The examples of poor practice were consequently grouped as issues with: (i) interpreters (e.g. inaccurate translation); (ii) caseworkers (e.g. insufficient time); (iii) NESB families (e.g. refusing to use an interpreter); and (iv) resources (e.g. insufficient face‐to‐face interpreters). As expected, the results largely replicate the (scant) national and international literature, indicating that features of good practice, and barriers to them, are similar across multicultural countries. This paper does however argue that training for interpreters dealing in such sensitive matters and training for caseworkers on working effectively with interpreters seem to be at the heart of good practice. This study is significant because it draws on the richness of data that qualitative methods offer to identify the full range of relevant variables and provide empirical support for principles of good practice.
    August 05, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12088   open full text
  • Gaining knowledge about parental mental illness: how does it empower children?
    Christine Grove, Andrea Reupert, Darryl Maybery.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 25, 2013
    This study examined the utility of a digital video disc (DVD) intervention, designed to educate children, whose parents have depression and/or anxiety. Twenty‐nine children completed pre‐ and post‐DVD exposure questionnaires, on mental health knowledge and help seeking, and 18 were interviewed about their experiences and use of the DVD. Post‐DVD, children's knowledge of mental illness improved. The DVD also challenged mental illness misconceptions. Most children preferred watching the DVD with a parent. The study explains how children utilize information about mental illness.
    July 25, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12086   open full text
  • Goal setting in recovery: families where a parent has a mental illness or a dual diagnosis.
    Darryl Maybery, Andrea Reupert, Melinda Goodyear.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 23, 2013
    Goal setting is an important element within mental health recovery models; however, parenting and children are rarely recognized in such approaches. This study outlines a family recovery planning model where a parent has a mental health or dual substance and mental health problem. The differences between family types (parent with a mental illness or parent with dual diagnosis) and family members (parent and children) are illustrated in terms of goals across 11 domains. There were a total of 33 parents and 50 children from 10 mental illness and 10 dual diagnosis families. Education and specifically mental health knowledge are important goals across all families and appear especially important for children whose parent has a dual diagnosis. Specific goals and achievement levels for each type of family and parents and children are also outlined. Clear areas for action by clinicians and family members are indicated by this study.
    July 23, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12084   open full text
  • Managing behaviour in child residential group care: unique tensions.
    Sara McLean.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 15, 2013
    Residential group care workers are frequently required to support children with extremely challenging and aggressive behaviour. Our knowledge about the tensions that may exist for workers that manage difficult behaviour is theoretically and empirically underdeveloped. The aim of this exploratory study was to contribute to our understanding of the dynamics of behaviour management in the residential environment by identifying the worker‐reported tensions involved in the management of challenging and disruptive behaviour. Seventeen South Australian residential group care workers participated in semi‐structured interviews in which they were asked to describe their management of behaviour. These interviews were subjected to thematic analysis. The analysis revealed several dynamics that influence workers' management of challenging behaviour: the sense of parenting at a distance, the pressure for consistency, the desire for balance between control and connection, the desire for normality and the inconsistent nature of relationships. These findings contribute to our knowledge about the interpersonal context in which behaviour is addressed in the residential group home and enhance our understanding of the unique tensions that workers' experience in managing behaviour in the residential environment. The findings have implications for the development of staff training and the support of residential care workers managing challenging behaviour.
    July 15, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12083   open full text
  • Physical needs of Aboriginal foster parents.
    Jason D. Brown, Donna Skrodzki, Julie Gerritts, Viktoria Ivanova, Nisha Mehta.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 15, 2013
    Aboriginal foster parents were surveyed about their physical needs. Each was asked ‘What do you need physically to be a good foster parent?’ A total of 39 unique responses were made. They were grouped together by participants and the grouping data were analysed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. Five concepts resulted from the analysis. The concepts included physical, financial and emotional resources, supplies and equipment, community, fitness and wellness. Results were compared and contrasted with the fostering literature.
    July 15, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12085   open full text
  • Shame and guilt in child protection social work: new interpretations and opportunities for practice.
    Matthew Gibson.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 04, 2013
    Shame is an underexplored and misunderstood emotion. It can be described as an acute awareness of one's flawed and unworthy self. It is the primary social emotion and one of our most intimate feelings developed within the context of our family of origin, which can have a devastating effect on an individual and their relationships. Social workers are routinely faced with issues of shame as an intrinsic consequence of the matters with which social work deals and also as a result of how both families and workers experience the child protection process. This paper outlines the research on shame and guilt to argue for a re‐evaluation of the key challenges faced by child protection social workers. It is argued that shame experienced by parents and carers potentially plays a significant role in these challenges, while it may be argued that ‘guilt’ has had a bad press and may potentially play an important role in the successes. An argument is made for a shame‐reducing child protection social work practice with some key themes for practitioners to consider in their attempt to improve the accuracy of assessments and intervention.
    July 04, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12081   open full text
  • Children's narratives of sexual abuse.
    Sharon Jackson, Elinor Newall, Kathryn Backett‐Milburn.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 28, 2013
    Children rarely disclose sexual abuse. Hence, studies of children's abuse experiences are relatively rare. This paper reports on a qualitative analysis of 2986 cases of self‐disclosure of sexual abuse from children, aged 5–18 years, who contacted ChildLine Scotland, a free, confidential telephone counselling service. Children discussed their feelings regarding the abuse, the impact of abuse on their health and well‐being, sources of support, disclosure, coping strategies, the context in which abuse occurs and the various ways in which they were groomed or their compliance in abuse was gained. Children's narratives contained detailed contextual information on their experiences of sexual abuse, perpetrators of sexual abuse and the circumstances in which sexual abuse occurs. The way in which children communicated about sexual abuse was found to differ quite considerably, and the terminology they employed was often markedly different from adult constructs. Nonetheless, children of all ages were able to describe their experiences and their feelings around the abuse in considerable detail. This study provides a rare insight into children's accounts of sexual abuse. The findings illustrate the profound impact that sexual abuse has on the lives of children and their understandings of the circumstances in which abuse occurs.
    May 28, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12080   open full text
  • Organizational factors and child participation in decision‐making: differences between two child welfare organizations.
    Svein Arild Vis, Sturla Fossum.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 20, 2013
    Children in residential care tend to be less content with the quality of care arrangements and participation opportunities compared to children in foster care. This study explored possible differences in social workers' views about child participation and service quality. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to test if any differences may be explained by collaboration between professionals' and social workers' work engagement. We found that social workers from residential care services seem more prudent in letting children participate in case planning compared to social workers planning for foster care. Social workers' judgements of service quality were also highly affected by their organizational affiliation, but personal factors such as work engagement may also play a part. The differences we found regarding social workers' attitudes towards participation and their rating of service quality are associated with organizational culture. Understanding how organizations shape social workers' decisions to include or exclude children in care planning may help gain a more comprehensive understanding of what is needed to take the participation agenda forward.
    May 20, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12076   open full text
  • Understanding and working with adolescent neglect: perspectives from research, young people and professionals.
    Leslie Hicks, Mike Stein.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 13, 2013
    This paper provides an overview of research about adolescent neglect funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families (now the Department for Education) and the Department of Health. The paper examines what is known from literature about the causes of adolescent neglect, together with its potential consequences for well‐being. Drawing on qualitative data, the concept of neglect is explored from the perspectives of young people themselves and the professionals who work with them. Consideration is given to examples of interventions and preventative models geared towards addressing adolescent neglect. Key findings indicate that there is a need for both a re‐examination of current definitions of neglect in the light of age‐related distinctions and perspectives, and a fuller understanding of the particular needs of adolescents who are experiencing neglect. Additionally, the research highlights that there is a lack of research knowledge about neglectful parenting and the behaviour of young people, as well as limited understanding of interventions with neglected adolescents. Key themes from the research are discussed in terms of their implications for future practice, policy and research in relation to working to improve the welfare of neglected young people.
    May 13, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12072   open full text
  • Mapping the journey: outcome‐focused practice and the role of interim outcomes in family support services.
    Jane Tunstill, James Blewett.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 13, 2013
    Longitudinal costly evaluations will always be important in order to understand the factors that impact on child, family and community well‐being over the long and medium term. However, in a policy era that accords major importance to the achievement of outcomes, e.g. payment by results, ‘outcome theology’ can pose threats to service access and professional morale in family support. It is essential therefore, to ascertain the short‐term outcomes of services in order to capture the trajectory of progress by families under stress. This paper critiques the concept of ‘the outcome’. It traces the development of this trend in policy and describes an alternative but complementary approach, which is based on capturing interim outcomes in family support services.
    May 13, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12073   open full text
  • The paradox of parental participation and legal representation in ‘edge of care’ meetings.
    Jonathan Dickens, Judith Masson, Julie Young, Kay Bader.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 13, 2013
    This paper assesses the nature of parental participation and legal representation in pre‐proceedings meetings in England and Wales. These are called when a local authority is considering care proceedings on a child. The parent(s) are invited to a meeting to discuss the concerns, and are entitled to attend with a lawyer. The paper draws on findings from a study of the process which included a file survey of over 200 cases, observations of 36 meetings and interviews with more than 90 key informants, including parents. The aim of the process is (usually) to reach an agreement to prevent the case going to court, but the families are usually well known to children's services, and have been through many meetings and agreements before. What then are the possibilities for parental participation and legal representation in the meetings? The study shows that they may help bring a greater degree of clarity to the local authority's proposals, but are not expected to challenge them. Paradoxically, they serve to reinforce the authority's position. The meetings can help divert cases, but it is important to be realistic about the chances of change in these often long‐standing ‘edge of care’ cases.
    May 13, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12075   open full text
  • Advice to mothers about managing children's behaviours in Canada's premier woman's magazine: a comparison of 1945–1956 with 1990–2010.
    Juanne N. Clarke.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 13, 2013
    Recent research and theorizing has characterized contemporary mothering as medicalized, intensive and risky. The rate of diagnosis of children's mental health issues has grown rapidly, particularly since the 90s. This paper examines the construction of mothering in regard to children's behaviours and mental health through an exploratory and qualitative content analysis of the portrayal of advice to mothers in Chatelaine Magazine, the premier women's magazine published in Canada. The time periods chosen for comparison were 1945–1956 and 1990–2010. The first period was selected because it was a time of dramatic changes that occurred in family, occupational and domestic life for women immediately after World War II. The second represents the modern period. The findings of the paper suggest that mothering was intensive, medicalized and risky in both periods although the conceptualizations of problems differed.
    May 13, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12079   open full text
  • Predictors of mental health literacy among parents of youth diagnosed with mood disorders.
    Amy N. Mendenhall, Susan Frauenholtz.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 13, 2013
    Research reveals limited knowledge of children's mental health among caregivers. This paper identifies predictors of mental health literacy among parents of children diagnosed with mood disorders that are seeking or already receiving help. Secondary data analysis using multivariate regression was conducted on data from a randomized, controlled efficacy trial with a sample of 165 children. Mental health literacy was higher for parents who were female, white, higher educated and had children who were older, had a bipolar diagnosis or received more services. Lifetime experience with mental health disorders also predicted literacy. Public mental health efforts are needed to raise caregiver mental health literacy.
    May 13, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12078   open full text
  • Preventive therapy and resilience promotion: an evaluation of social work led skills development group work.
    Michael Sheppard, John Clibbens.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 07, 2013
    Concerns have been expressed for some time about a decline in emphasis on therapeutic work in social work, notably articulated in the Munro Review. Further concerns have been expressed in child care that social workers have increasingly had to focus on child protection work rather than earlier stages of prevention. However, there remain opportunities for social workers through the development of new programmes. One development has been that of Behaviour and Education Support Teams: multi‐professional teams, containing as a key element social workers, and encouraging novel practices designed to help emotional stability and improved behaviour and education performance. This study reports on an evaluation of a social worker delivered school‐based social skills programme, which can contribute to the important area of resilience. This showed significant and sustained improvements in pro‐social behaviour and friendships. The implications of this for the therapeutic potential and professional role of social work are discussed.
    May 07, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12077   open full text
  • Practitioner–mother relationships and the processes that bind them.
    Lorraine Waterhouse, Janice McGhee.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 30, 2013
    This paper outlines a theoretical contribution to conceptualizing practitioner–mother relationships in child protection social work. It examines what is represented when these face‐to‐face encounters takes place. It suggests an intersubjective dimension where mothers are in effect asked to give an account of themselves. Drawing on humanities and social science writing, practitioner–mother relations are examined to analyse their symbolic and literal significance and the underlying purposes and assumptions that bind them. Butler's theory of recognition is utilized to alert us to the importance of supporting the narrative capacity of women caught up in child protection processes and of allowing the mother to give an account of herself as a woman and as a mother.
    April 30, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12074   open full text
  • Integrating the teaching, learning and assessment of communication with children within the qualifying social work curriculum.
    Michelle Lefevre.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 30, 2013
    Qualifying social work education must provide students with a variety of experiential, personalized, participatory, didactic and critically reflective learning opportunities across both the taught curriculum and in practice placements if deep learning of the capabilities needed for effective communication with children and young people is to be ensured. At present, programmes in England are not consistent in the curriculum structures, content and pedagogical approaches they are employing to teach and assess this topic. This paper discusses first how current proposals for the reform of qualifying education in England do not address the ambiguities and discretion in regulatory guidance, which have meant that the place and relevance of this topic within the curriculum remain uncertain and contested. It then draws on a model of the sequencing of students' learning and development in qualifying training, developed through the author's recent empirical research, to present an integrated and coherent approach to the teaching, learning and assessment of this topic. It is proposed that this strategy will enable students to develop the generic, ‘child‐focused’ and ‘applied child‐specialist’ capabilities they need for the ‘knowing’, ‘being’ and ‘doing’ of effective communication with children.
    April 30, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12071   open full text
  • Factors associated with placement breakdown initiated by foster parents – empirical findings from Germany.
    Eric Santen.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 19, 2013
    This study investigates the effects of covariates on the probability of placement breakdown in non‐kinship family foster care. Breakdowns are distinguished according to the initiator: children, carers, foster parents and the local child welfare authorities. The children concerned had entered foster care at ages ranging from 0 to a maximum of 17 years (n = 14 171). A significantly higher risk of breakdown on the initiative of the foster parents is found in male children, children whose parents receive financial support, children whose parents were removed from the register of carers, children who were between 6 and 15 years old when they joined the foster family, children who had earlier lived in a different foster family or residential care, children from patchwork families and children whose joining of a foster family was the result of disruptive social behaviour. Two‐thirds of the children from non‐kinship family foster care who stay in the foster family was ended on the initiative of the foster parents are subsequently looked after in residential care. That is three times the rate for all terminated foster relationships. Breakdowns on the initiative of the foster parents thus indicate a high risk of unstable care history developing and accordingly necessitate prevention strategies.
    April 19, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12068   open full text
  • Five years in care: documented lives and time trajectories in child welfare.
    Tarja Pösö, Tuija Eronen.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 19, 2013
    Child welfare practice is temporally structured and includes a variety of follow‐up activities. Practice‐based follow‐up has not, however, been much explored when studying children's paths in the child welfare system. This paper is based on a study of children (103) who were taken into care in 2006 in 10 Finnish municipalities and their paths in care until 2011. The social workers' institutional knowledge of their ‘own’ clients comprises the core of the research design. The paper reflects on the nature of this data from the point of view of the notions of temporality. The analysis highlights four temporal trajectories used in retrospective analysis of children's paths in care: the linear time trajectory of the decisions and changes in the institutional positions, the temporally fragmentary trajectory of childhood and youth, the circular time trajectory of professional understanding of the child's path and the silent time trajectory. Each one documents the children's paths differently; the linear one tends to be the ‘natural’ and most easily available trajectory and consequently, the children's paths are documented via decisions and institutional positions. The analysis suggests that more attention should be given to the complexity of time and temporality when studying children's paths in child welfare.
    April 19, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12069   open full text
  • From ‘Rights to Action’: practitioners' perceptions of the needs of children experiencing domestic violence.
    Alan Clarke, Sarah Wydall.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 21, 2013
    Not only has research over the past decade documented the emotional and behavioural consequences for children who witness domestic violence, but a number of studies have used children as participants thus, giving them an opportunity to describe their experiences in their own words. In policy terms, there has been a growing emphasis on children's rights and the importance and understanding of children's perspectives on their own lives. Consequently, children can no longer be perceived as forgotten victims where domestic violence is concerned. This paper explores practitioners' awareness of the needs of children and young people living with, and fleeing from, domestic violence. The research, conducted in a rural area in Wales, reveals that although the views of practitioners reflect the concerns reported by young people in other studies, there can be barriers to meeting these needs. While policy prescribes engaging with children, at the institutional level, operational priorities and increasing administrative demands can actually reduce opportunities for working directly with children. These demands may hamper the development of multi‐agency practice.
    March 21, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12066   open full text
  • Professionals' understanding of partnership with parents in the context of family support programmes.
    Sabine Houte, Lieve Bradt, Michel Vandenbroeck, Maria Bouverne‐De Bie.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 21, 2013
    Partnership has become a dominant concept in current thinking about the parent–professional relationship within a variety of interventions aimed at child welfare, including family support practice. However, despite the burgeoning policy and research attention, the meaning of partnership in practice remains unclear. Based on interviews with professionals in a family support intervention in Flanders (the Dutch‐speaking part of Belgium), this paper offers an insight into professionals' daily interactions with parents. The analysis reveals a tension between professionals' commitment towards parents on the one hand, and the way professionals take up this commitment in an expert role on the other. Consequences for professionals' relationships in child and family welfare interventions are discussed, as well as some implications for the realization of proper partnerships that acknowledge the power imbalances that exist in such partnerships.
    March 21, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12067   open full text
  • Resisting your good intentions: substance‐misusing parents and early intervention to support and monitor children in need.
    Marina Barnard, Carole Bain.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 06, 2013
    Children from substance‐misusing families face elevated risks in growing up well and safe. Early intervention is an opportunity for local authorities to offer support and keep a watching brief on children's welfare. However, the basis upon which agencies voluntarily engage with families in advance of major problems becoming evident is far from straightforward. This qualitative pilot study in Scotland followed professional decision‐making over 6 months (n = 20 professionals) with a small number of families (n = 6) defined as in need of supportive intervention. This support was allied with an intention to monitor the family situation, which, in these data, appeared to affect the willingness of families to engage with services. As services sought to increase their voluntary oversight, sometimes by threatening escalating involvement, so families by various means appeared to resist it. Successful early intervention is reliant on voluntary family participation and thus requires close attention to means of positive and motivated parental engagement to disarm resistance.
    March 06, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12064   open full text
  • Effective services for improving education and employment outcomes for children and alumni of foster care service: correlates and educational and employment outcomes.
    Burt S. Barnow, Amy Buck, Kirk O'Brien, Peter Pecora, Mei Ling Ellis, Eric Steiner.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 05, 2013
    Outcomes for youth from foster care have been found to be poor. The education and employment outcomes of youth and alumni of foster care served by transition programmes located in five major US cities were examined. Data were collected by case managers and reported to evaluators quarterly on 1058 youth from foster care for over 2 years. Job preparation, transportation, child care, education support services and life skills were the most common services provided to youth. During the 2‐year study period, 35% of participants obtained employment, 23% obtained a General Education Development or diploma, and 17% enrolled in post‐secondary education. It was found that the longer the youth were enrolled, the more education and employment outcomes they achieved. Further, job preparation and income support services were associated significantly with achieving any positive education or employment outcome. Results indicated that certain services provided over an extended period of time can improve outcomes for youth placed in foster care. For youth to achieve positive outcomes as they transition to adulthood, additional services are necessary. Other implications are discussed.
    March 05, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12063   open full text
  • Contested attachments: rethinking adoptive kinship in the era of open adoption.
    Sally Sales.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 05, 2013
    Since its legal inception in 1926, adoption work has been centrally concerned with the matter of the adopted child's ‘first’ or prior life, whilst also focussed on achieving a new and secure substitute family for that child. Adoptive kinship has been formed through this dual and contradictory concern, a concern that has produced diverse policies and practices over the last 90 years. Drawing on Foucault's concept of technologies of the subject, this paper is an exploration of adoptive kinship within the new context of open adoption, a set of practices that more actively promotes the involvements of the adopted child's former family. These practices both promote a radical reworking of adoptive kinship, as well as confirming its more orthodox moorings. Drawing on an adoption archive study, the paper concludes with an analysis of letterbox contact to explore how far this form of open practice transforms adoptive kinship in the contemporary era.
    March 05, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12062   open full text
  • Early intervention and holistic, relationship‐based practice with fathers: evidence from the work of the Family Nurse Partnership.
    Harry Ferguson, Peter Gates.
    Child & Family Social Work. February 06, 2013
    This paper seeks to add to the literature on working with fathers by focusing on early intervention. It draws on research into fathers involved in a home visitation service delivered by the Family Nurse Partnership in England and evaluates the men's experiences of the intervention. The vulnerability of fathers was striking and many were helped to develop their practical skills and confidence in caring for their babies. The intervention was effective because of the quality time that was invested in developing relationships with fathers (as well as mothers), the focus on their strengths as well as areas for improvement and the skilled, therapeutically oriented, holistic approach through which the service was delivered. The ‘early’ nature of the help was crucial to its success because of how it so effectively tapped into the men's redefinition of themselves as caring fathers during pregnancy and following the birth. We argue that there is important learning here for social care and health services in general about how to engage men and promote fathers' capacities to care for their children.
    February 06, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12059   open full text
  • Does differential response make a difference: examining domestic violence cases in child protection services.
    Ramona Alaggia, Tahany M. Gadalla, Aron Shlonsky, Angelique Jenney, Joanne Daciuk.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 16, 2013
    Large numbers of domestic violence (DV) cases on child protection caseloads have necessitated the development of practices that address both DV and child safety. The first step in this process is to gain an understanding of the differences between DV‐involved cases and other forms of maltreatment. The implementation of a differential response service model in Ontario offered an opportunity to compare risk assessment ratings, service outcomes and recurrence and to identify pathways of DV cases through child protection services (CPS). A sample (n = 785) of child protection investigations over a 4‐month period was examined. Of these investigations, 26% cases were DV referred; 87% of the DV victims were mothers; perpetrating partners were mostly absent from investigations; non‐white families were more often investigated for DV than white families; and DV cases were more likely to remain open for ongoing CPS. Only one‐third of DV‐exposed children were assessed as having been harmed and most community referrals were made for the victim parent. Mothers were the primary target of investigation, remaining in CPS for extended service provision although recurrence rates were lower than found in other investigations. Results are discussed to inform investigative procedures, assessment and service response to more adequately respond to children and families when DV is present.
    January 16, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12058   open full text
  • Development of an evidence‐informed in‐home family services model for families and children at risk of abuse and neglect.
    Stephanie D. Ingram, Scottye J. Cash, Robert G. Oats, Amy Simpson, Ronald W. Thompson.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 16, 2013
    This paper describes the components of a programme designed to prevent child maltreatment which includes the promising practices of a continuous engagement process, cognitive‐behavioural parent and skill teaching, and development of formal and informal supports for families. The programme was also designed to be implemented wide scale. Methods for assessment of strengths and needs, individualization of goals and intervention strategies, and assessment of goal achievement are also described. Finally, preliminary results of a programme implementation fidelity and outcome evaluation are summarized. The authors conclude that this programme is ready for a more rigorous efficacy trial to continue to build the evidence base for this promising intervention addressing a prevalent social problem.
    January 16, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12061   open full text
  • Intergenerational pathways leading to foster care placement of foster care alumni's children.
    Lovie J. Jackson Foster, Blair Beadnell, Peter J. Pecora.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 16, 2013
    This study examined a path model that postulated intergenerational relationships between biological parent psychosocial functioning and foster care alumni mental health, economic status and social support; and from these to the likelihood of children of foster care alumni being placed in foster care. The sample included 742 adults who spent time in foster care as children with a private foster care agency and who reported having at least one biological child. A full pathway was found between poorer father's functioning to greater alumni depression, which was in turn associated with negative social support, and then a greater likelihood of child out‐of‐home placement. Other parent to alumni paths were that poorer father functioning was associated with alumni anxiety and post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and poorer mother's mental health was associated with PTSD; however, anxiety and PTSD were not implicated as precursors of foster care placement of the child. Findings support the need for increased practice and policy support to address the mental health needs of parents of children in or at risk of foster care, as well as the children themselves, as family history may have a lasting influence on quality of life, even when children are raised apart from biological parents.
    January 16, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12057   open full text
  • A tangled web: parental contact with children in kinship care.
    Meredith Kiraly, Cathy Humphreys.
    Child & Family Social Work. January 11, 2013
    Contact between parents and children in care is a contested area. Parental contact is recognized to be important, yet may present protective issues; in the kinship care environment, it brings the particular challenges of complex family relationships. Seeking the parents' perspective in a child protection context is difficult and therefore under‐researched. This paper describes a nested study within an Australian research project on family contact in kinship care in which the perspectives of 18 mothers and 2 fathers were sought via in‐depth interviews. Mothers and fathers described strong feelings of disempowerment in the context both of their family and the child protection system. The relationship between parent and caregiver emerged as a significant issue. All of the parents wished to remain in contact with their children in a meaningful way, whether or not they were likely to resume their children's care; however, contact arrangements presented many difficulties for them. Mothers articulated the need for services that are more empowering and respectful, rather than oriented towards them as failed parents. In order to build appropriate models of support and intervention, we argue for a more inclusive conceptual frame for family life that gives greater recognition to the role of non‐custodial parents in the lives of their children.
    January 11, 2013   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12060   open full text
  • Strengthening kinship families: scoping the provision of respite care in Australia.
    Juliette Borenstein, Patricia McNamara,.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 26, 2012
    Kinship care is the fastest growing form of out‐of‐home care in Australia, as it is in many other countries. The Victorian Government's response has been to establish 18 programmes across the state to provide support to kinship families. The scoping project described here, based on interviews with key programme staff, explores the experiences of the new programmes in providing support, specifically respite care, to kinship families. It has produced a picture, based on qualitative and quantitative data, of how respite care is understood, the perceived respite needs of kinship families, how services are organized and provided, identified barriers to families accessing support, the effect of respite provision and what constitutes optimal practice. The findings establish a basis for a best practice model of service provision for this increasingly significant family type.
    December 26, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12055   open full text
  • Intimate partner violence and women's experiences of grief.
    Jill Theresa Messing, Rebeca Mohr, Alesha Durfee.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 14, 2012
    A greater understanding of women's emotional and behavioural responses to intimate partner violence (IPV) may be aided by an examination of the grief course. Women going through the process of leaving their abusers, like women leaving non‐violent partners, experience grief during and at the termination of their relationship, even if they feel relief at the cessation of violence. Through qualitative interviews with 14 female survivors of IPV, we critically examine the utility of Kubler‐Ross' grief model to understand how women come to terms with their experiences of violence and the end of their violent relationships. Results suggest that Kubler‐Ross' model helps explain the emotional reactions and decision‐making of IPV survivors in regard to staying, leaving and returning to their partners. While a model developed to explain grief due to death may not entirely explain the reactions of IPV survivors going through the process of leaving abusive partners, and does not account for psychological reactions to trauma, social workers and mental‐health professionals can use this grief model as a framework to better tailor services to survivors of IPV.
    December 14, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12051   open full text
  • Origins and rationale of centres for parents and young children together.
    Miwako Hoshi‐Watanabe, Tullia Musatti, Sylvie Rayna, Michel Vandenbroeck.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 14, 2012
    The range of centres where parents and children come together has mushroomed in different parts of the world, as new social work practices address the emerging non‐material needs of parents in changing demographic contexts. In this paper, we explore the origins and modi operandi of these centres in Belgium, France, Italy and Japan. Analysis of previous studies and policy documents reveal diverse political rationales, including addressing declining birth rates, preventing psychosocial problems and social isolation of mothers and promoting social cohesion and equality of educational opportunities. Remarkably, despite the diverse cultural and socio‐political contexts and rationales, these centres also share very similar ways of functioning and provide an informal type of social support to parents with young children. As these recently emerged centres are seldom studied, further research is welcomed to explore parents' and professionals' perspectives.
    December 14, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12056   open full text
  • Family group conferences: context, process and ways forward.
    Nick Frost, Fiona Abram, Hannah Burgess.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 11, 2012
    This is the first part of a two‐part review of the literature, policy and practice relating to family group conferences (FGCs). This first paper explores the background, the global policy context, the theoretical foundations and the process of undertaking FGCs. The literature is extensive in relation to these elements of FGCs, unlike the limited literature relating to outcomes, which is examined in the second part of this review. In the subsequent review, we examine the issue of outcomes, research findings and explore future challenges in implementing FGCs.
    December 11, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12047   open full text
  • Family group conferences: evidence, outcomes and future research.
    Nick Frost, Fiona Abram, Hannah Burgess.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 11, 2012
    This is the second article of a two‐part review of the literature relating to family group conferences (FGCs); it explores outcomes and challenges in implementing FGCs. The complex data relating to outcomes, drawing on a range of national contexts, is presented. The challenges of researching outcomes and the role of longitudinal and randomized, controlled trials are considered. The article concludes with a discussion of the implementation of FGC policy and practice in the contemporary context.
    December 11, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12049   open full text
  • Developmental markers of risk or vulnerability? Young females who sexually abuse – characteristics, backgrounds, behaviours and outcomes.
    Helen Masson, Simon Hackett, Josie Phillips, Myles Balfe.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 11, 2012
    This paper presents findings from a subsample of 24 young females aged 8–16 years who were referred to specialist services in England during the 1990s because of their abusive sexual behaviours. The characteristics, backgrounds and behaviours of the sample are summarized and compared both with the males in the total population studied and with findings from the limited international literature on young female sexual abusers. Key findings include the higher rates of sexual victimization amongst females, their lack of prior criminal convictions, their somewhat younger ages at referral and their fewer victims. A smaller selection of case studies is used to illustrate the range of circumstances and behaviours leading to referral. Follow‐up interviews with two female ex service users, who are now in young adulthood, indicate that their childhood sexually abusive behaviour is more a marker of vulnerability than of risk of abusive behaviour in adulthood. Their struggles now as parents, in adult relationships and their ongoing health difficulties are outlined.
    December 11, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12050   open full text
  • Poverty, caregiver depression and stress as predictors of children's externalizing behaviours in a low‐income sample.
    William R. Henninger, Gayle Luze.
    Child & Family Social Work. December 10, 2012
    Previous research suggests a relationship between poverty, caregiver depression, caregiver stress and children's externalizing behaviour. However, little research exists to suggest the manner in which these concepts are interrelated. Latent growth curve analyses were conducted on caregiver–child dyads data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project to identify the path through which poverty, caregiver depression, caregiver stress and child externalizing behaviours were related. Analyses identified a path through which caregiver stress and depression mediated the effect of poverty on child externalizing behaviours. In addition, the influence of caregiver depression on child externalizing behaviours was mediated by caregiver stress. Implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.
    December 10, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12046   open full text
  • Engaging in cyberspace: seeking help for sexual assault.
    Ruth Webber, Rosetta Moors.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 26, 2012
    Many young people who have been sexually assaulted are accessing the Internet through question and answer (Q&A) social networking sites in order to obtain information, advice and counselling on sexual assault. This paper reports on a study that was conducted on the Q&As on sexual assault that were posted on Yahoo! Answers. It focuses on comparing answers supplied by counsellors who work at a sexual assault centre with those posted by other Yahoo members. It reports on an analysis of content, tone and ‘best’ answer. Sixty‐five questions and 392 answers were analysed using interpretive description which is an inductive analytic approach. The responses by counsellors were voted ‘best’ by posters of questions (Askers) in the majority of cases. Their responses were dispassionate, accurate and systematic and contained information about how and where Askers could access help. In contrast, the answers by general Yahoo members were inconsistent and lacked specificity. While most of their responses contained supportive comments, many contained condemnatory remarks about perpetrators and Askers, which were potentially damaging to both Askers and other Yahoo members who were accessing the site.
    November 26, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12052   open full text
  • Between the maternal and the professional: the impact of being a child welfare officer on motherhood.
    Ayelet Menashe, Chaya Possick, Eli Buchbinder.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 19, 2012
    Child welfare officers experience stress from exposure to child neglect and abuse and the burden of responsibility for children's well‐being. This qualitative study addresses the question: How do social workers who are child welfare officers perceive and cope with the influence of their professional occupation on their relationships with their own children? The research is based on in‐depth interviews with a purposive sample of 10 child welfare workers who are mothers (of 2–4 children aged 2–23 years). The data analysis illustrates how the professional identity and the maternal identity of the child welfare officer fluctuate between two positions. The first is ‘anxious motherhood’ in which anxiety is the prism through which the welfare officer views the world as dangerous for her children, stimulating protective, control‐enhancing actions. The second position is reflective motherhood in which the welfare worker struggles with her own stresses and conflicts as a mother and searches for an experience of meaningful, positive motherhood. The findings reinforce the need to raise the consciousness of child welfare officers regarding the impact of encountering distress and trauma on their own well‐being as parents. In this way, they can prevent secondary traumatization and enhance professional and maternal growth.
    November 19, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12029   open full text
  • Domestic violence and child protection: towards a collaborative approach across the two service sectors.
    Lana Zannettino, Helen McLaren.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 19, 2012
    Domestic violence continues to be one of the most significant aspects of child abuse and neglect in Australia. However, the children are not well served by either child protection or domestic violence service sectors, which continue to operate as segregated, tertiary response systems. This paper reports on research that examined bridges and barriers to effective collaboration between child protection and domestic violence services in responding to children affected by domestic violence. The differing conceptions and responses of the workers from each service sector, in relation to children and families affected by domestic violence, is discussed in the light of gaps in service provision in both sectors. In doing so, areas of common ground for more effective collaboration between these service sectors are identified, including the prioritizing of emotional and psychological abuse, supporting and empowering abused mothers, strengthening the mother–child relationship, and supporting children and families across a continuum of service provision, particularly in the medium‐ to long‐term. Understanding each other and finding common ground across the two service sectors is paramount to improving how each responds to children and families affected by domestic violence.
    November 19, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12037   open full text
  • The impact of kin support on urban American Indian families.
    Gordon E. Limb, Kevin Shafer, Katrina Sandoval.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 19, 2012
    Scholars believe that family ties extending out to previous generations, called kin support, may have allowed American Indians to withstand traumatic events. Although a series of traumatic and historical events disrupted the social structures of family life, kin support was found to be a major factor in the survival of American Indians. This study utilized the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to compare American Indians and whites (n = 1227) in factors that impact kin support. While urban American Indian mothers were similar to whites in a number of elements, American Indian mothers that were not married, fell below the poverty threshold, were younger in age and co‐resided with kin were more likely than their white counterparts to receive kin support. Implications for urban American Indian mothers suggest that maintaining their role as kin keeper may serve as an intrinsic reward and motivation for caring for kin. The role of a kin keeper may also promote the unique contribution in their families and the preservation of their culture. Given the minimal research in this area, results of this study can be used to guide future research and the development of intervention strategies for practitioners working with American Indian families.
    November 19, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12041   open full text
  • Ascertaining the wishes and feelings of young children: social workers' perspectives on skills and training.
    Gill Handley, Celia Doyle.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 19, 2012
    The research was undertaken in the context of the ongoing debate about child care social work training and children's participation. Its aim was to explore the views of qualified child care social workers about their skills in eliciting the wishes and feelings of younger children and the relevance of social work training for this task. Questionnaires, focusing on their skills and training, were completed by 70 UK child care practitioners from the Children and Families Court Advisory and Support Service, voluntary agencies and local authorities. On average, practitioners felt able to ascertain the feelings and wishes of children as young as 4 years old. Nevertheless, at qualifying level, only 30% had training in communicating with young children, 16% in ascertaining children's feelings and wishes, and 66% in child development. Many had subsequently relied on in‐service training and their own initiatives to acquire further skills and understanding. In conclusion, most participants were experienced practitioners working in supportive organizations and had developed considerable communication skills. However, concerns remain because they identified deficits in child care social work qualifying and post‐qualifying training. Consequently, more effective training at all levels is required if social workers are to engage younger children successfully and facilitate their participation.
    November 19, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12043   open full text
  • The (ab)sense of a concept of social support in parenting research: a social work perspective.
    Naomi Geens, Michel Vandenbroeck.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 19, 2012
    Social support, as a complex, dynamic and multidimensional concept, has been studied extensively. However, a review of research publications on social support and parenting reveals that social work perspectives on social support are underdeveloped in the Social Sciences Citation Index. Social support is predominantly studied in relation to parental health, considering social support as a buffer against potential negative outcomes for children. This, in turn, legitimates extensive research on parents ‘at risk’. Specific target groups have been questioned abundantly using social support measures, mainly consisting of self‐reports. We conclude that social support is studied as a predefined concept, lacking conceptualizations that encompass the actual enacted support in relation to the perspectives of both givers and receivers of support. Moreover, the focus on targeted groups ignores the experience of social support in more diverse populations in general services and in everyday life. Issues of reciprocity, diversity and multivocality are central to our appeal for social work perspectives truly encompassing the relational aspect of social support. The question whether, and to what extent, social workers (including practitioners, policy‐makers and researchers) should give attention to this relational aspect is discussed.
    November 19, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12048   open full text
  • Making a connection: school engagement of young people in care.
    Clare Tilbury, Peter Creed, Nicholas Buys, Jennifer Osmond, Meegan Crawford.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 19, 2012
    Intervention to improve educational attainment for children in out‐of‐home care is increasingly being recognized as important for their well‐being and future opportunities. This paper reports on a mixed method study of the school engagement or connectedness of young people in care. The study comprised a survey of 202 young people in care in Queensland, Australia, and a matched comparison group of young people not in care, plus interviews with a subset of 65 young people in care who were surveyed. Both the school environment and the perceived levels of support influenced school engagement, with those who were assisted by carers and caseworkers more likely to be positively connected with school. These young people perceived education as a pathway to achieving work and life goals. The findings suggest that active and focused attention on young people's school engagement should be part of case planning and monitoring as it offers an additional strategy for improving their educational experience.
    November 19, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12045   open full text
  • Emotion in responses to the child with ‘additional needs’.
    Tish Marrable.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 07, 2012
    The work that is done with children and young people by the practitioners of health, education or social care forms part of their experience of growing up, and can have a profound impact on their future outcomes. Children may find themselves ‘impotent at the hands of powerful others’, particularly where their behaviour causes concern. This paper reports on a key theme from the author's doctoral research, demonstrating the ways that the emotion‐laden interactions between practitioners in multi‐agency children's services, children and parents, affected the diagnosis, treatment, communication and outcomes for children's well‐being, as defined within Every Child Matters. Exploring the emotion within interactions permits a different perspective on ‘need’, and finally, the paper argues for a more careful and emotionally reflective practice from those who work with children.
    November 07, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12035   open full text
  • An investigation of the needs of grandparents who are raising grandchildren.
    Paul H. Harnett, Sharon Dawe, Melissa Russell.
    Child & Family Social Work. November 06, 2012
    Evidence suggests that children in out‐of‐home care function better when placed in kinship compared with foster care. Less is known about the functioning of children in the unique form of kinship care where grandparents are caring full‐time for their grandchildren in informal care arrangements. As grandparent carers are increasingly taking on this role, it is timely to investigate the functioning of the children in this form of care and the characteristics of the grandparents themselves. We compared the functioning of children in the two types of care. We also investigated carer characteristics, including the relationship between child functioning, social support and daily hassles on carer stress. One hundred fourteen cares and 180 children were assessed on a range of demographic and clinical measures. Children in grandparent care were displaying better behavioural and adaptive functioning than children living with foster carers. Grandparent carers reported higher levels of distress in the carer role. Predictors of carer stress included severity of child behaviour problems and daily hassles. Both group of carers and the children in their care would benefit from increased support from treatment services.
    November 06, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12036   open full text
  • Responding to the call: a conceptual model for kinship care assessment.
    Valerie O'Brien.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 25, 2012
    Kinship care has become an important care option worldwide. However, in many jurisdictions, child welfare services use traditional foster care assessment systems. The assessment of the kinship home poses particular challenges. The initial assessment of the kinship home, enabling emergency placements, provides a child‐centred perspective. However, agencies frequently fail to meet the designated time frame for completion of the assessment/approval process. Such failures require the development of different conceptual models for kinship care service delivery, especially for assessments. This paper builds on earlier work on assessment models, drawing on the international literature and the author's involvement and research on kinship care in Ireland. The usability of the proposed model needs to be evaluated across different legislative, policy and practice contexts internationally.
    October 25, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12025   open full text
  • The impact of ‘being assessed’ by a disabled children's team: a personal reflective account.
    David Wilkins.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 25, 2012
    The body of ‘service user’ literature confirms the value of parental perceptions of child and family social work and the insight parents and others can offer. This paper lends my voice to the literature regarding parental perceptions, inspired by the work of Pamela Davies, who provided a personal account of the impact of a child protection investigation. This paper draws upon my experiences of being a father of two ‘disabled children’ and undergoing an assessment of need. This paper seeks to draw attention to issues of choice, power imbalances and the role of expertise. My personal experience of undergoing an assessment was that it was an emotionally fraught process, for the duration of the assessment, our family stress increased and we had a sense of having to ‘battle’ for the support we needed. As such, my personal experience fits well with the wider body of literature, which highlights the increased stress of caring for children with additional needs, the challenges of ‘fitting’ disabled children into the frameworks used to assess all children and the difficulty for parents and professionals in distinguishing between ‘normal’ parenting responsibilities and the additional responsibilities of caring for a disabled child.
    October 25, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12026   open full text
  • Kinship care in Spain: messages from research.
    Carme Montserrat.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 25, 2012
    Kinship foster care has experienced significant growth within the Spanish child protection system and now carries considerable weight. Over 40% of children in the public care system are formally fostered by relatives, equalling, and in some areas exceeding, the percentage of those in residential homes. This increase is not the result of a pre‐designed global programme or clearly pre‐established objectives in the system itself. Its current weight within the system has made it the focus of attention of researchers, politicians and protection system practitioners alike. The results of research carried out in Spain have revealed more positives than negatives in this type of fostering, giving rise to an in‐depth reflection on care systems, questioning the determinism of theories anchored in the intergenerational repetition of abuse and making room for perspectives more associated with resilience and children's rights. Positive results are related to fewer breakdowns, more stability, permanency beyond the age of 18, children agreeing with their placement, academic results similar to those with non‐relatives and better results after leaving care. The negatives relate to the lack of economic, educational and psychosocial support, which generally goes with this type of fostering. The experience of support programmes for these placements contributes to the debate.
    October 25, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12028   open full text
  • Multiple assessors of child welfare youths' mental‐health functioning: comparing perceptions of adolescents, caregivers and teachers.
    Cassandra Simmel, Inseon Lee, Soyoun Kim, Jonathan Miles.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 24, 2012
    For youth involved with the child welfare system, accurate assessment of mental‐health functioning is a critical factor in case planning. To assess correspondence among multiple reporters of child welfare youths' mental‐health difficulties, this study, using data drawn from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well‐being dataset, examined the caregiver, teacher and youth (aged 11–16 years) reports on the Child Behavior Checklist (n = 464). Perceptions about symptomatology on a variety of externalizing and internalizing behaviour problem scales were measured with a correlation analysis. Subsequently, logistic regression models were created, which explored how each reporter category matched a fourth reporter category: the child welfare investigation caseworkers' identification of youths' mental‐health needs. Results show that in several models, the odds of matching caseworkers' determination of youths' mental‐health needs significantly increased as youths' perceptions of psychopathology increased. A similar pattern was found for caregivers' perceptions in some of the models, across both internalizing and externalizing domains. Implications for child welfare practice and research with child welfare youth are discussed.
    October 24, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12024   open full text
  • The relationship between reactance and engagement in a child welfare sample.
    Rebecca G. Mirick.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 19, 2012
    Parents frequently do not engage in child welfare services. A lack of engagement can lead to significant negative consequences for families. A relationship between psychological reactance and engagement in the context of child welfare work has been theorized but not examined empirically. This paper presents the results of a preliminary descriptive study (N = 43) which found a significant negative relationship (r = −0.277, P < 0.05) between individual reactance levels and levels of engagement in child welfare services. A four‐dimension measure of engagement was used. Significant relationships were found between reactance and the dimensions of working relationship (r = −0.260, P < −0.05) and mistrust (r = 0.340, P < 0.05) and a similar trend was seen with a third dimension, receptivity (r = −0.245, P = 0.056). There was no significant relationship between reactance and the fourth dimension, buy‐in. The implications of these findings for child welfare work are explored.
    October 19, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12022   open full text
  • Addressing common forms of child maltreatment: evidence‐informed interventions and gaps in current knowledge.
    Peter J. Pecora, David Sanders, Dee Wilson, Diana English, Alan Puckett, Kristen Rudlang‐Perman.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 16, 2012
    This paper reviews interventions for preventing the occurrence and recurrence of major types of child maltreatment. We begin with an overview of the challenges of establishing evidence‐based interventions to prevent child abuse and neglect in many countries, and underscore the importance of this need with child maltreatment incidence rates in the USA, and how much each type and subtype contribute to child out‐of‐home placement. Next, we identify the well‐supported, supported and promising interventions for each child maltreatment type and subtype, according to their level of research evidence using an evidence‐based clearing house. The paper closes with a discussion of the implications for practice, evaluation, policy and agency management, including intervention knowledge gaps that showcase areas that need additional practice research.
    October 16, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12021   open full text
  • Adolescents and their networks of social support: real connections in real lives?
    Brian McGrath, M. A. Brennan, Pat Dolan, Rosemary Barnett.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 16, 2012
    Social support is widely seen as an integral component for coping with the stresses of everyday life. While there are various sources and types of support potentially available to young people, it is perhaps less obvious the extent to which young people differentially experience these sources and types. Anecdotal evidence suggests that context, culture and other factors unique to local life shape the many dimensions of social support for youth. In this paper, we seek to examine this research need in more detail by focusing on a broad range of factors shaping youth social support and youth well‐being. Drawing on mixed methods research, we examine social support evidence for adolescents in Florida, USA, and Offaly, Ireland. Through this research, we investigate how the connection between social support and well‐being bears out in these two different socio‐cultural contexts; second, we seek to understand whether types and sources of social support differ among youth in both countries; and what relationship exists between well‐being and types and sources of support. Comparing similar measures of social support across two distinct societal contexts allows us to determine similarities and differences, while also providing suggestions for application that can shape future programmes and policy.
    October 16, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00899.x   open full text
  • Residential care: an effective response to out‐of‐home children and young people?
    Elisabetta Carrà.
    Child & Family Social Work. October 09, 2012
    The ever‐growing number of out‐of‐home children in Italy over the last decade has urged an assessment of the available care services. Although foster care is spreading rapidly, many young people are still housed in residential facilities. Reflection on residential care quality has intensified at both a national and an international level. This paper presents the results of a study on residential care facilities for children and young people in the region of Northern Italy (Lombardy). Four dimensions of ‘quality’ are considered: efficiency, effectiveness, participation in planning and intervention, and empowerment of children and their family relationships. The combined effects of these dimensions are defined as ‘relational quality’. The results show that residential care facilities are generally good, while Social Services resources often appear inadequate for interventions aimed at birth families (efficiency). The well‐being of children in residential care facilities is high, even if they tend to move from one facility to another, rarely returning to their birth family (effectiveness). The involvement of children and their families at different stages of the care path is limited (participative approach). Finally, the most critical element is the failure to properly involve birth families (empowerment).
    October 09, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12020   open full text
  • Stability and change – a 7‐ to 8‐year follow‐up study of mental health problems in Norwegian children in long‐term out‐of‐home care.
    Karen Skaale Havnen, Kyrre Breivik, Reidar Jakobsen.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 17, 2012
    The aim of the study was to explore stability and change in mental health problems in Norwegian children aged 6–12 years old (n = 70) in long‐term out‐of‐home care. The children's mental health problems were assessed shortly after the placement and 7–8 years later by the caregivers and the teachers on the Revised Rutter Scales. Information on pre‐placement and placement factors were collected from the child welfare workers. At a group level the children's mental health problems had improved significantly over time according to the teachers' reports. According to the caregivers' reports, however, the children's problems were high and stable across time. Analyses aimed at detecting individual changes revealed a great variability in development according to both informants, indicating that treating the placed children as a homogenous group could be misleading. Several pre‐placement and placement variables were associated with the change in the children's mental health problems from the time of placement to the follow‐up time according to both informants' reports. However, all the predictors were accounted for by the strong effect of the children's problem scores when entering care.
    September 17, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12001   open full text
  • Parents' perceptions of contact with the Norwegian Child Welfare Services.
    Ingunn Studsrød, Elisabeth Willumsen, Ingunn T. Ellingsen.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 07, 2012
    Listening to the opinions of service users is important in research. This study explored how parents cognitively and emotionally perceive contact with the Norwegian Child Welfare Services (CWS). It also compared the reports of parents recently referred to the CWS with reports of more experienced users. A content analysis was conducted on open‐ended survey responses from parents (n = 697). This study fills a gap in the literature on how parents perceive contact with the CWS and what they see as important factors when judging this contact. The findings showed that 40.6% of the parents reported exclusively positive experiences, 30.7% of the parents reported solely negative experiences, while 24% of the parents described both positive and negative experiences. The content of the positive and negative experiences were related to characteristics of the child welfare workers, the quality of the relationship, the help offered and the parent's feelings of insecurity and fear. New CWS users tended to view the contact as more positive than the more experienced ones. Practical implications are presented.
    September 07, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12004   open full text
  • How to support families of children with disabilities? An exploratory study of social support services.
    Sylvie Tétreault, Sophie Blais‐Michaud, Pascale Marier Deschênes, Pauline Beaupré, Hubert Gascon, Normand Boucher, Monique Carrière.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 07, 2012
    Support services to families of children with disabilities have previously been documented. While the effectiveness and consequences of some support strategies have been defined, their comparison remains problematic primarily because of the diversified existing definitions. The present study aimed to elaborate and validate a typology to describe different types of support that can be offered to families of children with disabilities. A review of literature highlighted a variety of support services and allowed a categorical grouping. Content analysis ensured that each category was defined distinctively. Afterwards, a panel of experts and representatives of organizations from seven developed countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Sweden and Switzerland) validated the typology. A database of services offered in these countries was created. The resulting typology was divided into four categories related to the family needs: support, respite, child minding and emergency support. Each type of support can be illustrated within organizations in the database. As such, social workers can use the defined typology to identify the needs of families of children with disabilities and suggest alternatives when services are not available. Overall, the described typology should facilitate discussion between stakeholders and families by providing a common communication system.
    September 07, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00898.x   open full text
  • Three measures of non‐resident fathers' involvement, maternal parenting and child development in low‐income single‐mother families.
    Jeong‐Kyun Choi, Robert J. Palmer, Ho‐Soon Pyun.
    Child & Family Social Work. September 07, 2012
    This study examined the relationships among non‐resident fathers' involvement, mothers' parenting and parenting stress, and children's behavioural and cognitive development in low‐income single‐mother families. Based on the theoretical concepts of father involvement in terms of accessibility, responsibility and interaction, this study operationalizes fathers' involvement with three different measures: (i) fathers' frequency of contact with their children; (ii) fathers' amount of child support payment; and (iii) fathers' quality of parenting. Analyses used the first three waves of longitudinal data from a subsample of single and non‐cohabiting mothers with low income in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Results suggest that non‐resident fathers' child support payment is indirectly associated with both children's behaviour problems and cognitive development. Fathers' parenting is also found to be indirectly associated with children's behaviour problems. The findings further suggest that those estimated associations are transmitted through mothers' parenting. The expected associations between fathers' contact and child outcomes are not found in this sample. The study also discusses the policy and practice implications of its findings.
    September 07, 2012   doi: 10.1111/cfs.12000   open full text
  • The task of taking care of children: methodological perspectives and empirical implications.
    Agnes Andenaes.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 28, 2012
    Methods are not neutral instruments but construct the phenomena under investigation and convey meaning about what is important. This paper explores a methodological framework to investigate parental care for children. As part of the results, the following characteristics of how parents take care of their children are presented: continuous responsibility; predictable routines that are adjusted to the child; and interpretations and negotiations about developmental goals. The argument is that methodological approaches that analyse larger temporal units of contextualized practices as presented by the participants themselves open up for more context‐sensitive knowledge about the task of taking care of children. Thus, the understanding of the process of development is widened and specified in a way that may be useful for fields of practice where developmental psychology is ‘at work’.
    August 28, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00897.x   open full text
  • ‘My life's been a total disaster but I feel privileged’: care‐leavers’ access to personal records and their implications for social work practice.
    Suellen Murray, Cathy Humphreys.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 16, 2012
    In Australia, there is no binding protocol that proscribes the processes by which the release of personal records of adults who grew up in care occurs. Individual agencies that hold the records – both government and non‐government organizations – have their own policy and practice guidelines. While not specific to care‐leavers, the existence of freedom of information and privacy legislation means that the subject of the records is entitled to access information about themselves, but this is not unproblematic. Drawing on qualitative in‐depth interviews with a group of Australian care‐leavers, this paper discusses their experiences of accessing personal records. Accessing these records was often highly significant to identity formation, but could produce both positive and negative effects. The negative aspects of the records were that, typically, at least in part, they were incomplete, insulting, incorrect and/or incomprehensible. Currently, the range of support provided to those accessing their records varies significantly across agencies. The findings of this research suggest the need for the greater provision of supported release and the implications for social work practice are discussed.
    August 16, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00895.x   open full text
  • Longing to belong: children in residential care and their experiences of peer relationships at school and in the children's home.
    Ruth Emond.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 13, 2012
    Resilience literature has stressed the potential of both children's educational experiences and their friendships to act as protective factors against adversity. However, less is known about how children living with adversity navigate these ‘everyday’ aspects of social terrain and the particular challenges that they face. This paper explores the meaning and experience of peer relationships to one group of children living in residential care in Ireland. Drawing on a larger study of school and care, it explores data gathered from 16 children, aged 8 to 18, who were living in eight different children's homes on the east coast of Ireland. The findings suggest that the children were acutely aware of their ‘care’ status and developed a number of strategies to manage this identity in school. It appears that more often than not, children described being left to their own devises to manage friendships and peer relationships. Thus, despite being a crucial source of both stress and support, peer relationships did not appear to be regarded as an issue that adults should be involved with. This raises questions for practice about what children should be supported with and the way in which peer relationships are potentially overlooked by social work, residential and school staff.
    August 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00893.x   open full text
  • Two‐generation preschool programme: immediate and 7‐year‐old outcomes for low‐income children and their parents.
    Karen Benzies, Richelle Mychasiuk, Jana Kurilova, Suzanne Tough, Nancy Edwards, Carlene Donnelly.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 13, 2012
    Preschool children living in low‐income families are at increased risk for poor outcomes; early intervention programmes mitigate these risks. While there is considerable evidence of the effectiveness of centre‐based programmes in other jurisdictions, there is limited research about Canadian programmes, specifically programmes that include children and parents. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a single‐site, two‐generation preschool demonstration programme for low‐income families in Canada. A single group, pre‐test (programme intake) /post‐test (programme exit) design with a 7‐year‐old follow‐up was used. Between intake and exit, significant improvements in receptive language and global development were found among the children, and significant improvements in self‐esteem, use of community resources, parenting stress and risk for child maltreatment were found among the parents. These positive improvements were sustained until the children were 7 years old. Public investment in two‐generation preschool programmes may mitigate risks for suboptimal child development and improve parental psychosocial outcomes.
    August 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00894.x   open full text
  • A programme evaluation of the Family Crisis Intervention Program (FCIP): relating programme characteristics to change.
    Channa M. W. Al, Geert Jan J. M. Stams, Jessica J. Asscher, Peter H. Laan.
    Child & Family Social Work. August 13, 2012
    This study evaluated the Family Crisis Intervention Program (FCIP), focusing on crisis, child safety, family functioning and child behaviour problems. Questionnaires were completed by 183 families in crisis and their FCIP worker. After FCIP, the crisis had decreased and child safety had increased. Although problematic family functioning persisted after intervention, improvements were found in parent–child interaction, parenting stress, parental competence and child behaviour problems. Crisis change, safety change and improved family functioning were associated with programme characteristics, especially the therapeutic relationship, analysis of the crisis situation, duration of the intervention and the solution‐focused approach. The discussion addressed implications of this study with regard to outcome measures in the evaluation of family crisis intervention and the importance of particular programme characteristics.
    August 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00896.x   open full text
  • Post‐secondary transitions of youth emancipated from foster care.
    Catherine Batsche, Sarah Hart, Rhonda Ort, Mary Armstrong, Anne Strozier, Victoria Hummer.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 27, 2012
    This study investigated the extent to which KnowHow2Go (KH2Go), a national college access campaign developed for first‐generation students in the USA, would resonate with youth who had aged out of foster care. Interviews were conducted with 27 youth who were enrolled in a post‐secondary programme following emancipation from foster care. We found KH2Go to have a close fit with the experiences of youth who had been in foster care. Four topics emerged as particularly important for youth in our study: money management, work, parenting and transportation. Finally, the study identified attributes these youth demonstrated that contributed to their resilience during the transition process. This study and the data presented pertain to youth living in the south‐eastern USA.
    July 27, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00891.x   open full text
  • Descriptions of fathers’ care by children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) – relative neglect and children's needs.
    Åsa Cater, Anna M. Forssell.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 26, 2012
    The situation of children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) raises certain issues related to child neglect. Little is known about how children exposed to IPV perceive and describe their living conditions. This paper addresses this lack by analysing aspects of fathers’ care in descriptions given by children whose fathers have subjected the mothers to IPV. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with 10 children aged 8–12 years. Three themes constitute the results. First, the fathers are not described by the children as engaged and responsible care providers. Second, in their general descriptions of how mothers and fathers fill complementary roles for the child, parenthood seems to mean in practice that the mother is the provider of (almost) everything the child may need. Third, the mere absence of violence seems to be judged ‘good‐enough’ fathering in the children's descriptions. Altogether, this leads to the conclusion that being exposed to IPV and believing that mothers are responsible for their welfare precludes children from viewing their fathers as responsible for their well‐being. The limited utility for child welfare practice of a ‘child‐based’ definition of neglect in cases of IPV is discussed, and alternatives are suggested.
    July 26, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00892.x   open full text
  • Sex worker and mother: managing dual and threatened identities.
    Jane Dodsworth.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 13, 2012
    This paper draws on a qualitative study that sought to understand and develop theory based upon 24 women's subjective accounts of their childhood and adult experiences and involvement in sex work in the UK. It specifically examines the management of dual and threatened identities for the 17 women who were also mothers. To ensure the centrality of the women's voices in the analysis and theory generation, a grounded theory approach was taken using a psychosocial framework that drew on concepts of resilience to explore how the meanings of those experiences were reflectively appraised by participants. The findings indicate that there is a need to cope with the threat to identity inherent in society's diametrically opposed perceptions of sex worker and ‘good mother’ and simultaneously to manage the coexistence of the roles and identities of mother and sex worker. What appear significant in determining how these tensions are managed are the accumulated risk factors of early childhood, and the resources available to individuals in adulthood to manage both identities. Services must recognize not only individual but wider environmental and familial factors impacting on women with the dual identity of sex worker and mother in order to promote their resilience as mothers, whether living with or apart from their children.
    July 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00889.x   open full text
  • ‘He didn't mean to hit mom, I think’: positioning, agency and point in adolescents' narratives about domestic violence.
    Carolina Øverlien.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 13, 2012
    This paper analyses the narratives of adolescents who have experienced domestic violence. It focuses on what we can learn about being an adolescent who experiences domestic violence, using a narrative approach. Attentive to both form and content, the paper sheds light on why the narrative is being told, who the actors in the narratives are, who are positioned in the forefront/background and what the point of the narrative is. The analysis shows that through the storytelling, the father's position as the reluctant/dangerous/weak aggressor is negotiated, the mother is positioned both in the background as a victim and in the forefront as an actor resisting his violent behaviour. The children position themselves as actors with power to alter the progress, to protect and stop the violence. The point of the narratives is to describe the father as the aggressor, and to describe the important role of the children. This picture of the father, mother and child questions the traditional understanding of the father as the aggressor, the mother as the victim and the child as a powerless bystander being exposed to the violence, and underlines the complexities of the dynamics in families living with domestic violence.
    July 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00886.x   open full text
  • A sense of belonging in a changeable everyday life – a follow‐up study of young people in kinship, network, and traditional foster families.
    Lena Hedin.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 13, 2012
    This in‐depth follow‐up study of 15 foster youth shows the importance of an ‘open foster family’, open to letting the foster youth into the family life and to cooperating with the adolescent's birth family. Previous findings about the importance of negotiations, mutual rituals, and having fun together in foster families for the creation of social bonds and belonging are strengthened in the follow‐up interview. A lack of these mutual practices is observed prior to disruptions. Most adolescents still living with the same foster family feel a sense of belonging to both their foster and birth families, especially when both families cooperate. This is most evident in kinship families. Over time, adolescents in traditional foster families have also strengthened their social bonds to the foster family, which makes the difference to youth in network foster families less pronounced than in the previous study. Despite life changes, above all changing schools and peers, most adolescents reveal personal agency by still coping with their situation. However, therapeutic support is now more common than 1 year ago, for girls in particular. Methods used are interviews, network maps and text responses (‘beepers’).
    July 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00887.x   open full text
  • The cost‐effectiveness of UK parenting programmes for preventing children's behaviour problems – a review of the evidence.
    Madeleine Stevens.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 13, 2012
    Parenting programmes are widely used in the UK, promoted in policy documents as a cost‐effective way for children's services to address behaviour problems and thereby the longer‐term costs associated with conduct disorders, particularly antisocial behaviour and criminality. To explore whether these programmes are a cost‐effective component of family intervention, this paper examines evidence from cost‐effectiveness studies based on randomized controlled trials, modelling studies estimating longer‐term costs and outcomes, and studies estimating costs of UK parenting programmes, including evidence from routine practice. Findings indicate that parenting programmes have the potential to be cost‐saving in the long term; however, gaps in the evidence include: lack of follow‐up of families who drop out of programmes, absence of control groups in longer‐term follow‐ups, and little information about costs and effects of programmes in routine practice. The size of savings resulting from implementation of effective parenting programmes will depend on the extent to which families likely to be most costly to society attend and experience lasting benefit.
    July 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00888.x   open full text
  • Divorced mothers' self‐perception of their divorce‐related communication with their children.
    Orna Cohen, Ronit Dina Leichtentritt, Netta Volpin.
    Child & Family Social Work. July 13, 2012
    This is a qualitative study of divorce‐related communication between mothers and children, as recounted by 20 Jewish Israeli mothers. We adopt the communication privacy management theory, focusing on mothers' subjective experiences of communication, their management of dialectic tension between concealment and disclosure – namely, not only what mothers choose to disclose to and hide from their children, but also the feelings, concerns and perceptions that drove their communication. The mothers' reports convey the challenges and dilemmas they faced when communicating with their children about their divorce and its repercussions; the main one being their obligation to maintain a good father image and their wish to preserve a strong maternal figure. The ‘child's well‐being’ was the dominant criterion in the mothers' decision to reveal or conceal divorce‐related information. Clinical suggestions are made.
    July 13, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00878.x   open full text
  • Kinship care in the UK: using census data to estimate the extent of formal and informal care by relatives.
    Julie Selwyn, Shailen Nandy.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 12, 2012
    Until recently, little was known about kinship care in the UK. Research has begun to illuminate the circumstances which lead to children being cared for by relatives, and the stresses and strains experienced by carers. However, most UK research has only considered ‘looked‐after’ children placed with formal approved kinship foster carers, although this group forms the smallest proportion of children in kinship arrangements. In this paper, we use microdata from the 2001 UK Population Census to examine the characteristics of kinship carers and children, and demonstrate that most children in kinship care are growing up in informal unregulated arrangements. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
    June 12, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00879.x   open full text
  • (Un)‐blaming mothers whose partners sexually abuse children: in view of heteronormative myths, pressures and authorities.
    Helen Jaqueline McLaren.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 06, 2012
    Mothers of children who have been sexually abused are often shamed, blamed and held guilty for their male partners' sexual perpetrations. These feelings are constrained by the dominant heteronormative discourses, institutions and systems that devalue women, that silence them and which subsequently blame women for the abuse as well as their silence. Paradoxically, the risks for mothers speaking out are reinforced by social criticism and professional response that draw on heteronormative discourses that accuse women for ‘failing to protect’ their children, for being ‘bad’ mothers or for making poor choices in their lovers. With these issues at the forefront, this paper illuminates how heteronormative discourses may operate to not only shame and blame women unable to leave their adult relationships and protect their children, but they also strengthen the perpetrator's power as strategic actors in concealing child sexual abuse. It is argued that the heteronormative discourses that reinforce women's sense of guilt obstruct professional intervention and make service engagement of these women difficult. In light of the power of discourse, the importance of combining an overlapping systems approach in which individualized client‐centred support is provided to each family member involved in child sexual abuse matters, including for the mothers in their own right, is discussed.
    June 06, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00863.x   open full text
  • Sinking, swimming and sailing: experiences of job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion in child welfare employees.
    Deena Mandell, Carol Stalker, Margriet de Zeeuw Wright, Karen Frensch, Cheryl Harvey.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 06, 2012
    The authors conducted a mixed‐method study after a previous study of child welfare employees revealed a subgroup exhibiting surprisingly high levels of both emotional exhaustion (EE) and job satisfaction (JS). This subgroup included direct service workers, supervisors and managers. As these findings appeared to conflict with previous studies, we re‐reviewed the literature and undertook the current study to account for the co‐existence of EE and JS. We explored and compared this subgroup with two others: workers who found their work satisfying without experiencing high levels of EE and those whose high levels of EE were associated with low JS. Using a survey that included several standardized measures with 226 employees and semi‐structured interviews with a criteria‐based subsample of 25, we explored the role that personality, career expectations, coping styles, stage of life, education, gender and social networks play in outcomes for individual employees. Analyses of quantitative and qualitative data yielded a profile for each subgroup, offering insights into the subjective experiences of workers within individual, social and organizational contexts. These findings have implications for recruitment, training and support of child welfare workers.
    June 06, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00857.x   open full text
  • Understanding looked‐after childhoods.
    Annabel Goodyer.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 06, 2012
    The absence of a sociological discourse about children in the past meant that child and family social work has largely relied on psychological interpretations of children and their behaviour. However, since the 1990s, the sociology of childhood has been developed in the UK. The aim of this paper is to explore the relevance of the sociology of childhood in understanding looked‐after childhoods and in informing contemporary social work practice with looked‐after children and young people. The central argument of this paper is that, in order to fulfil professional responsibilities and to implement current and forthcoming UK social policies for looked‐after children, social work needs to employ broad understandings of children, young people and looked‐after childhoods. The paper goes on to discuss the ways in which a social work approach drawing on the sociology of childhood can offer such a conceptualization.
    June 06, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00858.x   open full text
  • Towards a second‐order view of child protection placement‐related decision‐making.
    Shannon O'Gorman.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 06, 2012
    Child protection workers are tasked with prioritizing and facilitating safe, secure and preferably, long‐term care arrangements for children and adolescents living within the child protection system. Recognizing the complexities associated with this task, this paper will propose that the application of theory – namely attachment theory and family systems theory – may aid in the conceptualization of placement decision‐making within the context of child protection practice. In particular, this paper will describe a framework entitled: Towards a second‐order view of child protection placement‐related decision‐making. This framework assumes the position that the ideals of relationship security and permanency of placement are more accessible in instances in which practitioners are able to locate themselves within temporary, stabilized but ultimately evolving systems. Specifically, the practitioner is encouraged to conceptualize where their individual selves, the broader child protection system and family system are located at any one point in time, whilst also identifying the direction in which these systems should be moving.
    June 06, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00859.x   open full text
  • Practitioner accounts of responding to parent abuse – a case study in ad hoc delivery, perverse outcomes and a policy silence.
    Amanda Holt, Simon Retford.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 30, 2012
    Parent abuse is becoming recognized as a serious problem in some families. It can have a damaging impact on physical and mental health, family relationships and employment and has been found to be implicated in other past, current and future forms of family abuse and violence. For this reason, many frontline practitioners who work with troubled families frequently find incidents of parent abuse in their caseloads, but we know little of how they respond to it. This study used in‐depth interviews with nine practitioners who work in a range of agencies in one large county in England and explored how they each identify, conceptualize, explain and respond to parent abuse. In a context where there is no national guidance regarding how agencies should respond to this problem, this study finds that practitioners must ‘make do’ without appropriate resources or policy guidance to help them. The study concludes with suggestions for change for the benefit of families who seek support but who currently find little effective response.
    May 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00860.x   open full text
  • Applying critical social work in direct practice with families.
    Idit Weiss‐Gal, Lia Levin, Michal Krumer‐Nevo.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 30, 2012
    This paper seeks to further discourse concerning the implications of critical social work for direct practice with families and children. It presents and discusses a hypothetical example of how a social worker in a social care agency in Israel can incorporate critical social work notions into an official social work report. The paper begins by presenting key concepts in critical social work, their manifestations in practice and their implications for official social work reports. It then presents a mock report informed by critical social work ideas and discusses its structure and contents. The mock report provides an example of how abstract notions central to critical social work can be actualized. The paper thus offers practitioners the opportunity for a richer discourse on the contribution of critical social work to direct practice with families and children.
    May 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00880.x   open full text
  • Attachment and adaptive skills in children of international adoption.
    Natàlia Barcons, Neus Abrines, Carme Brun, Claudio Sartini, Victoria Fumadó, Diana Marre.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 30, 2012
    The attachment pattern of a sample of 168 internationally adopted children was explored in this study using the semi‐structured Friends and Family Interview. The pattern was analysed in relation to the development of adaptive skills as an expression of the children's resilience.The secure attachment pattern rates were slightly lower and the insecure attachment patterns were considerably higher than those of normative samples from the previous studies. The children from Eastern Europe demonstrated a more insecure attachment pattern (odds ratio [OR]= 2.46; confidence interval [CI]= 1.23–3.94), and their scores on the adaptive skills scales were lower than the scores of children from other countries (OR = 2.62; 95% CI = 1.02–6.72). These results help to identify the groups at risk of failing to develop secure attachment patterns and appropriate adaptive skills, and should provide valuable information for designing effective interventions.
    May 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00883.x   open full text
  • Supporting families living with parental substance misuse: the M‐PACT (Moving Parents and Children Together) programme.
    Lorna Templeton.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 30, 2012
    The Moving Parents and Children Together (M‐PACT) programme is one of the growing number of interventions tailored to meet the multiple and complex needs of children and families affected by parental substance misuse. This paper pulls together the qualitative findings from 13 evaluated M‐PACT programmes in England. Sixty‐four families attended an M‐PACT programme, including 82 children and 75 adults. Qualitative data were collected from 37 children, 36 adults and over 30 group facilitators. Six themes are discussed: engaging with M‐PACT, shared experiences, understanding addiction, changes in communication, healthier and united families, and ending M‐PACT. The majority of families benefitted in a range of ways from the programme: meeting others who were experiencing similar problems, greater understanding about addiction and its impact on children and families improving communication within the family. In many families there was more openness and honesty, stronger relationships and more time as families, and a reduction in arguments and conflict. The key findings are discussed in terms of the potential for interventions of this kind to reduce family‐related harm from parental substance misuse.
    May 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00882.x   open full text
  • Searching for effective interventions for foster children under stress: a meta‐analysis.
    Hans W. H. Van Andel, Hans Grietens, Johan Strijker, Rutger J. Van der Gaag, Erik J. Knorth.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 30, 2012
    Foster children experience a lot of stress because of their life histories and changes in their family circumstances, such as foster care placement. It is important that foster parents recognize the early signs of stress in foster children and learn how to act in a non‐threatening and understanding manner. Family‐based interventions may help in this. In this paper, we report on a meta‐analysis of studies (n= 19) of the effectiveness of such interventions. All studies used a pre‐test/post‐test design. Both problem behaviour in foster children and the parenting skills of foster parents improved by 30%; however, none of the interventions were specifically intended to help young children (<4 years) to cope with stress. The importance of interventions for young foster children is discussed, as well as the necessary elements these interventions should include.
    May 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00885.x   open full text
  • The social networks of young people in Ireland with experience of long‐term foster care: some lessons for policy and practice.
    Conor Mc Mahon, Chris Curtin.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 09, 2012
    This paper presents findings from the first study of the social networks of a group of young people in Ireland who have experienced long‐term foster care. The study group was composed of two groups of young people, a group who were currently in care and a group who had left the care system. The central focus was to examine the impact of foster care on the social network experience of the young people. Findings indicated that foster care impacts on the young people's social network experience in the following ways: losing contact with extended family; a greater challenge in making and sustaining friendships; an impact on education; and an inability to maintain contact with groups and activities that are of significance. This paper also presents recommendations in relation to policy and practice, including the raising of awareness of the importance of a social network approach in working with young people with care experience.
    May 09, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00849.x   open full text
  • Synergies and tensions in child protection and parent support: policy lines and practitioners cultures1.
    Silvia Fargion.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 09, 2012
    Social workers' interventions in support of children and their families have often proved a minefield of sort, filled up with conflicting demands, expectations and tasks. This paper sets the resulting debate in the context of both social policy orientations and social work cultures. It argues that partnerships between families and practitioners have to be understood as the result of a complex set of factors. Data from a qualitative study of social work professional cultures suggest that among practitioners, policy orientations intertwine with different styles of conceiving social work; accordingly, professional cultures play an important part in connecting, or failing to connect, child protection and family support.
    May 09, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00877.x   open full text
  • The science of attracting foster carers.
    Melanie Randle, Leonie Miller, Sara Dolnicar, Joseph Ciarrochi.
    Child & Family Social Work. May 09, 2012
    Across the world the number of children needing a foster home is increasing; however, the number of individuals willing to foster a child is decreasing. It is therefore critical to gain insight into the barriers preventing people from fostering a child. Using data from a 2009 survey of 756 Australians, combinations of barriers are investigated by conducting a posteriori segmentation analysis within the market of potential foster carers. Four segments are identified and profiled to determined significant differences in terms of psychological and socio‐demographic characteristics. Findings, including the fact that almost one‐third of respondents indicated that they had not considered foster caring before because no one had ever asked them to, have practical implications. Improved marketing strategies tailored to the characteristics of each segment are required to harvest the full potential of individuals willing to foster a child and thus contribute to solving one of the most difficult social challenges facing developed nations.
    May 09, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00881.x   open full text
  • A systematic review of interventions to support looked‐after children in school.
    Kristin Liabo, Kerry Gray, David Mulcahy.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 30, 2012
    A systematic review of interventions to support looked‐after children in school included interventions that aimed to improve attainment, or prevent drop‐out or exclusions, and those that aimed to reduce absenteeism in the care population. Studies were critically appraised and their results were considered. No study was found robust enough to provide evidence on effectiveness, but promising interventions were identified. The review highlights the lack of evidence in an area that has received a lot of policy attention in the past few years. Future evaluations need to be underpinned by lessons learned from existing evaluations, clearly defined theories and definitions, and by the views of professionals, researchers, policy‐makers and young people in care.
    April 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00850.x   open full text
  • Emotion and relatedness as aspects of the identities of adolescents with severe learning disabilities: contributions from ‘practice‐near’ social work research.
    Helen Hingley‐Jones.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 30, 2012
    This paper considers social and personal/individual approaches to researching identities of adolescents with severe learning disabilities; suggesting that vital components of emotionality and relatedness are largely missing from research and consequently from literature informing social care professionals. This leaves untapped, rich information and communication resources for research which may improve understandings of the experiences of a socially excluded group of young people. A psychosocial view of adolescent identity development, ‘subjectivation’, offers a way forward and a case study on ‘Billy’, drawn from a ‘practice‐near’ observational study, helps to illustrate this. Observation allows the researcher to be sensitive to the subtle ways in which identities of young people with severe learning disabilities are constructed, often with a sense of fragility and uncertainty. Continuities of experience between the young people and the rest of the adolescent community may be seen, but also the impact of living with impairment can be thought about in relation to the particular psychosocial circumstances of each young person. Knowledge of these processes enhances social work practice by encouraging workers to be sensitive to, and healthily curious about, the multiple ways in which identities of young people with severe learning disabilities are shaped in relationship with those around them and the wider social field.
    April 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00865.x   open full text
  • Perspectives on being a father from men involved with child welfare services.
    Gary Cameron, Nick Coady, Sandy Hoy.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 30, 2012
    Fathers can make positive contributions to their children's well‐being. However, involving the literature and this research indicate that fathers are much less likely to be engaged with child welfare services than mothers. This paper reports the findings of life story research with 18 fathers involved with child welfare. It focuses on these men's perspectives of fatherhood and their relationships with their children. Also, reactions to these fatherhood stories from father and service provider focus groups are examined. The findings challenge common perceptions of these fathers and highlight similarities and differences in perspectives between fathers and service providers. Implications for engaging fathers in child welfare practice are discussed.
    April 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00876.x   open full text
  • ‘If kids don't feel safe they don't do anything’: young people's views on seeking and receiving help from Children's Social Care Services in England.
    Alison Jobe, Sarah Gorin.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 27, 2012
    This paper presents findings from qualitative interviews with 24 young people (11–17 years) who have been referred to Children's Social Care Services in England. The paper explores young people's experiences of help seeking and their experiences of receiving help for maltreatment through statutory agencies. A central finding is the importance of relationships for young people when seeking and receiving help. It is through trusting relationships with professionals that young people are most likely to disclose maltreatment and/or engage with services. The paper concludes that young people's expectations and needs are not always met by the current safeguarding system and that the system needs to become more child‐centred if it is to address the concerns maltreated young people have consistently voiced through research.
    April 27, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00862.x   open full text
  • From parental engagement to the engagement of social work services: discussing reductionist and democratic forms of partnership with families.
    Rudi Roose, Griet Roets, Sabine Van Houte, Wouter Vandenhole, Didier Reynaert.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 27, 2012
    Social work has moved from a child protection discourse towards a child welfare discourse that views the relationship between social workers and families as a partnership. Partnership with families in the field of child protection and child welfare, however, mirrors diverse ideological motives of social policy, civil society and practice. We engage in a theoretical discussion of different interpretations of partnership. We draw a primary distinction between reductionist and democratic forms of partnership with families. In a reductionist approach, social workers activate parents in order to realize the goals set by social work. A democratic approach to partnership refers to a shared responsibility between social workers, parents and children. In this approach, effective partnership is not something to be realized as an outcome, but a point of departure that implies a joint search for meaning and an experiment with which social workers engage. This engagement presents ‘non‐participation’ not as problematic but as an essential element of participation. The focus then shifts from a methodical approach to partnership – how to activate people to participate in the care process – to the question of how the engagement of social workers can be constructed together with families.
    April 27, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00864.x   open full text
  • Young people's perspectives of being parented in critical situations: teenage non‐offenders and desisters speak out.
    Cathy Murray.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 27, 2012
    This paper considers young people's perspectives of being parented and draws on a study that comprised secondary analysis of 112 qualitative interviews with teenagers who had either never offended or who had ceased to offend for at least a year. Young people's offending behaviour has traditionally been linked to parenting styles, but it is parenting practices that proved central to parental responses to revelations about their offspring's offending. During the interviews, desisters gave accounts of their upbringing and, in particular, the parenting they experienced in one critical situation, namely when their offending came to light. At this point, parents of desisters were reported to be more punitive, more emotional and less measured than they were customarily, and non‐offenders anticipated similar reactions from their parents if they were to offend in the future. The relevance of the findings for professional interventions, especially parenting programmes, and for social workers in child protection is discussed, and suggestions for further research is made.
    April 27, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00866.x   open full text
  • Shared decision‐making: a voice for the Lakota people.
    Linda Herzberg.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 27, 2012
    Child welfare has long been a concern for American Indians, so much so that Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in 1978. The ICWA was intended to address was the large number of children placed out of home as a result of abuse and/or neglect, and the corresponding lack of tribal and community input regarding their removal and placement. This paper focuses on one group of American Indian people, the Lakota, whose children are overrepresented in the child welfare system. As a promising practice, shared decision‐making will be offered as a culturally appropriate model to build dialogue and cooperation between social workers and their Lakota clients. Shared decision‐making holds promise to help address the important social justice issues identified by Congress and by the Lakota people in the 1970s and which remain largely unresolved some 40 years later.
    April 27, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00867.x   open full text
  • Education and employment opportunities among staff in Aboriginal family service agencies.
    Jason Brown, Cheryl Fraehlich.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 27, 2012
    The purpose of the study was to describe ways that successful culture‐based Aboriginal preventive family service agencies offer employment and education opportunities for staff. Staff in three inner‐city, culture‐based Aboriginal family agencies were asked about their employment and educational opportunities. Forty‐four individuals were asked the question: ‘what employment and education opportunities have you had while in this job?’ A total of 81 unique responses were received. Participants grouped the responses into eight themes including: planning for services, promotion within the agency, specific skill development, enhanced self‐confidence, cultural awareness, teaching others, workshops as well as certified training. Differences between the experiences of study participants and the existing literature indicate that practices within culture‐based Aboriginal family agencies are distinct in relation to funding, staff mobility, strengths‐base, practical training and cultural knowledge, and that these should be understood and recognized formally in funding decisions and in future research.
    April 27, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00875.x   open full text
  • The impacts of accessible service delivery on front‐line helping relationships in child welfare.
    Gary Cameron, Ian DeGeer, Lirondel Hazineh, Karen Frensch, Trudy Smit Quosai, Nancy Freymond.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 23, 2012
    This paper presents the results of a study comparing the impacts on helping relationships of locating front‐line child protection service providers in central locations or in accessible school and neighbourhood service delivery sites. Creating easier access to front‐line child protection service providers, fostering more positive community perceptions of child welfare services, improving client and service provider satisfaction with helping relationships and services, and increasing families' willingness to ask for help were core objectives at the accessible sites. Using a quasi‐experimental outcome design, file reviews and qualitative interviews with service providers and parents, this study presents evidence that accessible sites had substantial success in achieving these objectives when compared with central service delivery locations.
    April 23, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00840.x   open full text
  • Parenting style, competence, social network and attachment in mothers with mental illness.
    Marc Gelkopf, Suzy Ella Jabotaro.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 23, 2012
    Severe mental illnesses (SMIs) can affect parents' ability to provide an adequate environment for their children. Little has been written about the different factors that affect these abilities in individuals with SMI. In this study, we explored a number of relationships that have been found in the literature to be related to parenting styles. Our main hypotheses were that the participants' secure attachment with their parents is positively correlated with high levels of social support; social support is positively correlated with the experience of having good parental competency; lack of parental competency is negatively correlated with problematic parenting styles. This correlational and cross‐sectional study was conducted with 60 mothers with SMI. Results suggest a strong relationship between parental style, sense of parental competency, social support and attachment style of the parent. Negative parental styles were found to be negatively correlated with parental competence. Overactive and hostile parenting styles were found to be correlated with the interviewees' parental overprotecting attachment style. Positive correlations were found between parental competence and high social support. The results of the study may help in developing future multidimensional interventions for parents with SMI, to improve their parenting skills and reduce any negative influence on their offspring.
    April 23, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00874.x   open full text
  • Engagement strategies and change: an intentional practice response for the child welfare worker in cases of domestic violence.
    Rylee Melchiorre, Jo‐Ann Vis.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 16, 2012
    In order to engage mothers who are victims of domestic abuse, the child welfare worker needs to be challenged to develop an intentional practice response that includes knowledge and skill concerning the complexities of domestic violence, as well as the process of change. Developing a supportive relationship, understanding the stages of change (SOC) and engaging mothers as leaders in the change process are essential to successful child protection outcomes. Within the context of the SOC model, this practice‐based paper focuses on the importance of engaging mothers who are victims of domestic violence in conversations about their own unique dilemmas, challenges and barriers regarding change. Through the inclusion of engagement strategies such as signs of safety, active listening and cost/benefit analysis, in concert with the SOC theory, the child welfare worker would be equipped with an approach to successfully assist mothers through their change journey, ultimately keeping children safe.
    April 16, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00868.x   open full text
  • Efficacy and agency among poor families with and without children.
    David Okech, Waylon J. Howard, Junghyun Kim.
    Child & Family Social Work. April 05, 2012
    Families with children and living in poverty are vulnerable to decreased control over their lives and the ability to act in self‐interest. While having children may reduce efficacy among these families, their presence may also, in turn, increase their resilience. Using cross‐sectional data from n= 194 poor families in Southeastern USA, this study compares the constructs of self‐efficacy and agency between families with and without children. Results showed that among families with children, lack of agency was negatively correlated with self‐efficacy Δχ2 (1, n= 194) = 12.65, P < 0.001, r=−0.37. Implications are directed towards practice and policy that may increase the efficacy and agency of poor families with children.
    April 05, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00861.x   open full text
  • Social workers' perspectives on parental engagement when children are at risk in Romanian society.
    Salomea Popoviciu, Delia Birle, Ioan Popoviciu, Daniel Bara.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2012
    This paper presents the findings of a study that looked at social workers' perspectives on parental engagement in making the difficult choice of either taking the child into care or keeping the family together. The paper first explores the specific context of children at risk in Romanian society and explains that in this middle‐income nation there is an absence of evidence‐based risk assessment tools, which prompts social workers to use their own ‘common sense’ risk assessment indicators. The findings of this small‐scale, non‐representative study on several public non‐voluntary child protection services in Romania suggest that social workers' perceptions of specific dimensions of parental engagement in non‐voluntary child protection may influence service delivery decisions and outcomes.
    March 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00851.x   open full text
  • Resettlement challenges faced by refugee claimant families in Montreal: lack of access to child care.
    Gillian Morantz, Cécile Rousseau, Anna Banerji, Carolina Martin, Jody Heymann.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2012
    Adult refugee claimants experience several well‐documented post‐migratory challenges. Little is known about the resettlement process for refugee claimant families with children. This study reports on 75 open‐ended, in‐depth interviews with refugee claimant families in Montreal about their resettlement challenges and their proposed solutions to them. These interviews were conducted with 33 dyads and triads of children and parents attending a paediatric hospital. Experiences accessing formal and informal child care in Montreal were addressed. Subsequently, a comparative policy analysis was conducted on residency eligibility criteria for child care subsidization. Twenty‐eight out of 39 parents (73%) report a lack of informal or formal child care and 15 out of 33 families (39%) propose improving access to formal child care services. They describe a lack of informal child care as a result of reduced social networks, and affordability as a barrier to formal child care services. Refugee claimants are not eligible for subsidized child care in Quebec. A comparative policy analysis within Canada and comparable countries reveals that this situation is not unique to Quebec. However, most provinces and European countries offer child care subsidies to refugee claimants. Refugee claimants should qualify for child care subsidies. Social workers and community organizations should consider their clients' child care needs in designing programmes and services.
    March 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00848.x   open full text
  • A secure base? The adolescent–staff relationship in secure residential youth care.
    Annemiek T. Harder, Erik J. Knorth, Margrite E. Kalverboer.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2012
    The client–therapist relationship is recognized as an important factor contributing to outcomes of child and youth care. Particularly in secure residential youth care, in which adolescents with mainly externalizing behaviour problems are often placed coercively, the client–staff relationship seems to be important for the achievement of positive outcomes. The present study aims to assess the client–staff relationship for a group of 135 adolescents in secure residential care and factors associated with a positive relationship. The results show that adolescents, group care workers and teachers experience a limited affective bond in their relationship 2 months after the adolescents were admitted to the secure care centre. Adolescents do tend to use care workers and teachers as a secure attachment figure, which suggests that an affective bond is no precondition for the adolescents to experience staff as a secure base. Main predictors of a good relationship are the positive treatment skills of both group care workers and teachers. These findings point to the need for training of care workers and teachers so that they are better prepared for working with these adolescents.
    March 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00846.x   open full text
  • Making the developmental system work better for children: lessons learned implementing an innovative programme.
    Sara Branch, Ross Homel, Kate Freiberg.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2012
    Pathways to Prevention is an early prevention project founded on developmental systems theory operating through a schools‐community agency‐university partnership in a socially disadvantaged area of Brisbane. Circles of Care is a Pathways programme also implemented on a small scale by the same agency in a regional city. The Circles programme is designed to strengthen connections between schools, families and community services, and harmonize activities in these settings by surrounding children with identified needs with a supportive group of adults. A Circle, which includes at least the child, parent(s), teacher and agency staff, sets goals, mobilizes resources for the child, family and school, and monitors progress. The client is conceptualized not as the child but as a dysfunctional developmental system, with better outcomes for children as the ultimate goal. Qualitative evaluation at the two sites showed that while Circles worked well at the level of practical support and relationship building and did achieve good child outcomes, its capacity to achieve collaborative practice and strengthen system relations was limited by entrenched organizational structures and cultures. However, one site, with more support for collaboration across organizational boundaries, suggested that system alignment is achievable on a larger scale with vision and leadership for organizational reform.
    March 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00845.x   open full text
  • Evaluation of residential care from the perspective of older adolescents in care. The need for a new construct: optimum professional proximity.
    Anna Soldevila, Antonio Peregrino, Xavier Oriol, Gemma Filella.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2012
    This paper analyses the evaluation of residential care from the perspective of the adolescents in care. Twelve discussion groups were carried out in 12 different centres in Catalonia (Spain). A total of 66 adolescents aged between 16 and 18 years of age participated. The data contributed by the discussion groups were analysed and categorized using descriptive analysis matrices. Most notable from the results is that the majority of those interviewed call for increased emotional involvement from the social workers, more contact with their families and re‐educational intervention within their families, which renders the return to these possible within a shorter period of time. Data provided by the adolescents lead us to reconsider the concept of optimum professional distance and to suggest replacing it with optimum professional proximity; this would be based on emotional involvement and not on emotional distance, although not on emotional dependence either.
    March 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00843.x   open full text
  • Fathers' experiences with child welfare services.
    Nick Coady, Sandra L. Hoy, Gary Cameron.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2012
    The lack of engagement of fathers by child welfare services is well‐documented in the literature as a serious problem. Towards addressing this problem, this paper reports the findings of interviews with 18 fathers about their involvement with child welfare services in Ontario, Canada. Qualitative analysis of the interviews yielded themes about what men saw as the positive and negative aspects of their involvement with child welfare. Positive aspects of service involvement for fathers included understanding and supportive workers, useful assistance from workers, being connected to useful resources and being given a ‘wake‐up call’. Negative aspects of service involvement included uncaring, unhelpful and unprofessional workers; prejudice against fathers; and experiencing the child welfare system as unresponsive, uncaring and rigid. Implications for practice are discussed with a view to improving the engagement of men in, and their experiences with, child welfare services.
    March 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00842.x   open full text
  • Challenging behaviour in out‐of‐home care: use of attachment ideas in practice.
    Sara McLean, Damien Riggs, Lisa Kettler, Paul Delfabbro.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 30, 2012
    Children in out‐of‐home care that demonstrate challenging behaviour are often thought of as ‘attachment disordered’. Our understanding of what this might mean for practice is not well developed. In this study, 92 South Australian stakeholders were interviewed about how they understood extremely challenging behaviour amongst school‐age children in out‐of‐home care. Participants consistently described behaviour as arising from attachment difficulties. Despite this, there were a variety of ways that a child's attachment needs were conceptualized, which appeared to be inconsistent with contemporary attachment theory. Thematic analysis yielded four implicit views about children's attachment: attachment as capacity that is limited, attachment as skill that children can learn and transfer to other relationships, attachment as unachievable for some children and an idealized view of attachment as a close and trusting relationship. These possible misconceptions about attachment and attachment needs and their relationship to the development of challenging behaviour are discussed in terms of attachment informed research and theory. The possible implications for placement practice and policy for children in out‐of‐home care are discussed.
    March 30, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00825.x   open full text
  • Children's and parents' thoughts and feelings about adoption, birth culture identity and discrimination in families with internationally adopted children.
    Marta Reinoso, Femmie Juffer, Wendy Tieman.
    Child & Family Social Work. March 15, 2012
    We examined the perceptions of adoption and related issues in 68 families with internationally adopted children in Spain (48 transracial and 20 same‐race adoptions). The adopted children, between the ages of 8 and 12 years, and their parents answered questions about the children's thoughts and feelings about adoption. Descriptive data and scores on four scales – family, adoption, birth culture identity and discrimination – were obtained. Compared with same‐race adoptees, transracial adoptees scored significantly higher on birth culture identity and perceived discrimination. High levels of convergence between the children's and parents' viewpoints on the experiences of adoption and related issues were found. Nevertheless, the adopted children scored higher than their parents on birth culture identity, suggesting that at this age adoptive parents may underestimate their children's connection to their cultural origins. In contrast, the same‐race adoptees scored significantly lower on perceived discrimination than their mothers. We conclude that at this age adoptive parents should acknowledge their adopted child's daily‐life experiences regarding cultural identity with the birth country and discrimination.
    March 15, 2012   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00841.x   open full text
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: an effective and evidence‐based treatment – comments in response to Mercer and Pignotti.
    Arthur Becker‐Weidman, Daniel Hughes.
    Child & Family Social Work. June 15, 2009
    This paper describes the evidence base for Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy as an evidence‐based and effective family‐therapy treatment for child with reactive attachment disorder and complex trauma. The paper summarizes the extensive empirical literature that describes the effectiveness of such dimensions of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy as affect arousal and regulation, gradual exposure to trauma, parent education and consultation, explaining how the past may be continuing to affect present behaviour, forming and maintaining a therapeutic relationship through therapist acceptance, affirmation, empathy and various other dimensions. The paper presents several generally accepted criteria for determining evidence‐based practice and evidence‐based treatment and demonstrates how Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy meets those criteria. These criteria include those developed by Saunders et al., the UK National Health Services system and the US Preventative Services Task Force system for ranking the quality of evidence. Finally, the paper describes several misrepresentations and inaccurate statements by Mercer and Pignotti in their note and corrects these errors of analysis and judgement.
    June 15, 2009   doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2009.00615.x   open full text