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Title: Social worker decision making and parental responsibility
Author: Solly, Chris
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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This study sets out to explore the way that child care social workers make decisions about interventions in families, and in particular about the ways that they apply the concepts of parent responsibility, or working together with parents, and of social work duties. It begins with a discussion of recent legislation, government guidance and reports, some other research studies, and current controversies in the field. The study is conducted by means of loosely structured interviews with 40 local authority workers, at the point where they are having to recommend a course of action to children’s hearings and to child protection case conferences. These workers define their social work problems in terms of layers of contexts. They almost invariably explain both the condition and the behaviour of children in the context of the attitude and behaviour of their parents towards them. In doing so they transcend the grounds of referral and the conventional case type categories. In the same way, they try to place the behaviour of parents in the context both of their personal limitations and of their life experiences. Despite this the social workers reveal strong value positions, particularly about the overriding importance of emotional care, that parents are responsible for their behaviour towards their children, and that the explanatory context, though it may constrain their actions, does not absolve them of responsibility for them. They are less likely to work in a supportive or consensual way with parents whose behaviour is seen as part of a pattern or habit of life rather than to be explained by their emotional condition or overwhelming life experiences. The latter are conceived as victims as well as the child. They are also less likely to do so with those who don’t share their moral and cognitive understanding of the problem, or show commitment to dealing with it, or with those who show persistent hostility and condemnation towards their children, or where the child’s condition is regarded as severe. Severity is a dimension of poor emotional care as well as physical.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available