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Title: Children's participation in decisions when they are looked after by the State
Author: Thomas, N. P.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis is about children's participation in decision making when they are looked after by local authorities. It is based in part on original empirical research, and in part on an extensive reading of material from a number of academic disciplines relating to the nature of childhood and the relationships between children and adults. The thesis begins with an examination of theories of childhood and the evidence that 'childhood' is socially constructed, and goes on to review psychological accounts of child development and what they tell us about the characteristics of children in the middle years of childhood. This is followed by an analysis of theories of children's rights and by an extended exploration of the triangular relationship between children, parents and the State, the idea of children's best interests, and the arguments for including children in decisions. The thesis then reviews the history of State care for children in Britain in terms of its assumptions and objectives, outlines the contemporary legal framework and its implications for practice, examines the evidence of children's inclusion in decision making in recent years and considers some of the issues involved when social workers try to discover what children think. The second part of the thesis begins with a discussion of methodology, especially in relation to qualitative research with children. An account of some early research by the author is followed by an explanation of how the main empirical work described here was conceived and undertaken. The research involved quantitative stages, and the thesis reports extensively on each before examining the process of interviewing children in more depth. It concludes by considering first what can be learned from the research for social work policy and practice, and secondly some wider implications concerning the status of children in society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available