Child care career patterns : an exploration of the experiences of black and white children
The focus of this thesis is on the care career patterns of black children. Empirical findings of the research are analysed in the light of existing literature. Particular attention is directed towards the decision-making role of field social workers. The study examined the perceptions of the principal individuals associated with the care process (namely field social workers, natural parents and children). A cohort group of 564 children were found to be in the care of Wenford Social Services Department (294 black and 270 white) . The care careers of these children were explored. A follow-up study conducted six months after the initial inquiry was part of this process. Also, a sub-group of 80 children (who had been admitted into care within the previous six months) were examined in depth. Here, interviews with the principal individuals were conducted to gain their perception of the situation. Both the cohort and the sub-group included children of all ages and all legal routes of entry. In the sub-group, restrictive criterion liable to bias results was applied in that only children who had been admitted into care in the previous six months were selected The study attempted to analyse the similarities and differences in the treatment of black and white children in the public care system. Results shed new light on the situation of black children and suggest that due to individual and institutional racism within the personal social services, black families and children receive a poor service.