Decision making in statutory reviews and children in care
This thesis reports on a study into the decision-making that takes place within the six monthly statutory review of the cases of children in the care or under the supervision of the Local Authority. The research had four aims: 1. To develop a typology of review decisions whereby decisions taken in reviews could be classified according to their salient features. 2. To ascertain the level of the subsequent implementation of the decisions taken in reviews and to consider what factors contribute to or hinder their implementation. 3. To identify the functions of statutory reviews and the perceptions of the members of social work teams of the functions appropriate to reviews. 4. To consider the role and the importance of statutory reviews within the context of overall child care practice. The empirical research was undertaken in three social work area offices within one local authority. Information was gathered from almost three hundred reviews. The researcher, having first read the case record, attended two consecutive six-monthly reviews on the child. The social workers involved in these reviews were questioned on their opinions on reviews in general and on each review attended. Those 'researched' reviews gave rise to almost nine hundred review decisions, which were analysed according to the typology of decisions, and the level of their subsequent implementation was assessed. This study was designed as a policy-orientated study. Hence the research is presented first, within the broad context of developments in child care policy since the war, and second, in relation to the literature on statutory sreviews arising both from research studies and from policy documents. Furthermore, the concluding chapter points to the policy implications that may be drawn from the research findings, together with suggestions for policy changes.