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Title: Critical times : a critical realist approach to understanding services for looked after children and young people
Author: Walker, Moira M. S.
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2004
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The PhD submission centres primarily on the book Testing the Limits of Foster Care, which reports on a piece of applied social work research, and the paper Critical Times: a critical realist approach to understanding services for looked after children which examines key theoretical issues relevant to the study. Two other book chapters ‘Changing Perceptions of Children and Childhood’ and ‘Risk and Opportunity in Leaving Care’ are included as supplementary examples of the applicant’s work. In common with Testing the Limits of Foster Care, these seek to understand aspects of child welfare practice in light of wider changes in society and social policy and so are consistent with a critical realist perspective. The study reported in the book Testing the Limits of Foster Care was an evaluation of a foster care project set up to provide an alternative to secure accommodation (Community Alternative Placement Scheme). The research was concerned with how the scheme developed, the nature of the service and its capacity to help young people have good experiences and outcomes. Its purpose was to assess the potential and limitations of this form of care provision. The book outlines the development of the service, and the needs, experiences and outcomes for the first twenty young people placed within the scheme. These are compared with similar young people placed in secure accommodation during the same period. In most respects outcomes were similar for both samples. However outcomes were not viewed as directly resulting from one particular placement, but rather influenced by a host of considerations relating to the young person’s own circumstances and nature of services offered. Foster care and secure accommodation offered young people a very different kind of experience, whilst access to other services such as education and support to independent living were equally important in determining how they fared.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman