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Title: A balancing act : a grounded theory of child protection social work
Author: Kettle, Martin
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2013
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The contribution of social workers to the protection of children is of vital importance, and yet their perspective remains under-researched. The purpose of this study was to enter the world of the social worker working in child protection, wondering how they engage in the processes of child protection work, what their concerns are and bow they act to resolve them. The objectives for this research were as follows: • An exploration of the perspectives of social workers working in child protection. • Development of specific recommendations for practice in the organisation and beyond, and for future research The study adopted a constructivist grounded theory methodology informed by a symbolic interactionist theoretical framework. Data was gathered from 22 in- depth interviews with social workers working in child protection, with saturation being achieved of the core category of balancing. Using the constant comparison method, the concerns of participants were identified as coalescing around the core category of balancing. That category was identified as having five dimensions, namely: balancing the interests of children and adults; balancing getting too close to families and not getting close enough: balancing the past, present and future; getting the balance right between investigation and relationship; and balancing the use of power over families with using power together with families. Two further important categories were identified, namely interprofessional transactions and the mechanism of the tipping point. This thesis has demonstrated the complexity of the task for child protection social workers, and has shown that social workers need to maintain all the different aspects of balancing concurrently, as the consequences of failing to maintain those balances may, in some circumstances, be poor outcomes for children and young people. The implications for practice, management and education are explored, with the emphasis being on seeking a more nuanced exploration of this complex area.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Prof.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available