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Title: Investigated or supported? : the social work response to non child protection referrals :perspectives from files, fieldworkers and families
Author: Hayes, David Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0001 2444 2549
Awarding Body: Queen's University of Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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This study examined the social work response to 'non child protection' referrals and was conceived in the context of exhortations to 'refocus' social work practice. A reduction in the number of 'child protection investigations' (CPIs) was expected to lead to social work time and resources being directed towards more supportive responses and to families experiencing social work intervention in a more positive manner. The study, therefore, focused on referrals receiving the main alternative categorisation to the CPI in Northern Ireland, i.e. the 'child care problem' (CCP). A collective case study design was employed with the cases examined being three Health and Social Services Trusts (Trusts) in Northern Ireland. Data collection took place in three phases and comprised documentary analysis of social work case files (n=3 00 - 100 from each Trust), a vignette questionnaire to social work practitioners (55 respondents - response rate = 65.5%), and semi-structured interviews with parents (20 interviews involving 24 parents). The CCP category was found to contain two differing types of referral- 'parenting concern' (PC) and 'non parenting concern' (non PC) referrals. The social work response to these differed significantly on a number of dimensions with PC referrals, although not officially labelled as 'child protection', receiving a response described as 'quasi child protection' in nature. Similar purposes were also noted in the actions social workers stated they would take regardless of whether they categorised a referral as a CPI or a CCP. Finally, the experience of PC and non PC referral parents was also found to differ especially in terms of their feelings following the first social work visit and the number of services they received. The study concludes that there is little evidence to suggest that re-categorisation of referrals has led to a fundamental change in either social work response or parental experience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available