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Children's Services at the Crossroads - A Critical Evaluation of Contemporary Policy for Practice


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ISBN 10: 1905541643 / ISBN 13: 9781905541645
Published by Russell House Publishing 1
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Title: Children's Services at the Crossroads - A ...

Publisher: Russell House Publishing 1

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:New

About this title


In response to widespread and persistent concern over the ability of social services to safeguard and promote the well-being of the most vulnerable children, UK governments have in recent years introduced some of the most far reaching changes ever encountered in this field. However, this book argues that - in England especially - despite the best intentions of those driving these changes forward, the approaches to reform have substantially diminished the capability of children's social services to respond effectively to the complex challenges which they face. In Children's Services at the Crossroads, leading authors in the field of social work explore the impact of the reform agenda on key areas of children's services practice, including child safeguarding, youth offending, children in care, family support, ethical practice, and child welfare law. The book describes an oppressive, managerialist environment within which: process and procedures are prioritized over outcomes and objectives; targets and indicators are prioritized over values and professional standards; compliance and completion are prioritized over analysis and reflection. Key themes include: failures of analysis; lack of effective engagement with research; and the proceduralization, technicalization, and deprofessionalization of the social work task. It argues that effective practice requires management systems to promote, rather than undermine, practitioners' effectiveness. Leaning on more positive developments elsewhere in the UK, it challenges ministers and senior managers to commit to the significant change of direction - both practical and conceptual - which is required if children's services are to escape from the vicious spiral of declining performance into which they are currently in danger of descending.

About the Author:

Patrick Ayre is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire where he teaches and researches in the fields of social work and child safeguarding. He has worked in child protection and child welfare for over 30 years and was a social worker and manager of child protection services for some 17 years before taking up his present post. In recent years, he has been heavily engaged in the preparation of Serious Case Reviews, and is active as an expert witness in children's services negligence cases. Michael Preston-Shoot is Professor of Social Work and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at the University of Bedfordshire. He has worked as a social worker, groupworker, team leader, family therapist and psychotherapist. He was Editor of Social Work Education: The International Journal between 1993 and 2006 and was Managing Editor of the European Journal of Social Work between 2003 and 2007. He is one of the Founding Editors of the journal Ethics and Social Welfare. He is the Independent Chair of a Local Safeguarding Children Board and of a Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Board.

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