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Title: Achieving a child focus? : a study of child protection conferences in cases of neglect
Author: Richardson Foster, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 6056 7447
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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The child protection conference is a key part of the child protection process in England and other UK countries. This study sought to explore how child focused these meetings are in cases of child neglect and the factors which affect child focused information sharing, assessment and decision making. The study used an interpretivist approach and mix of qualitative methods. Data were gathered from two areas in three stages: audio recordings of 14 child protection conferences, documentary analysis of the reports from these meetings, interviews with 26 staff who chair or minute conferences and six focus groups with practitioners from a range of agencies. The thesis proposes a model of child focused practice which considers the individual child’s experience of child neglect, draws on knowledge of their daily life, promotes the active engagement of children and young people in child protection processes and decisions; and is orientated towards promoting child welfare outcomes which directly relate to the individual child’s experiences and circumstances. This concept is examined through consideration of the stages of the conference. It details how the work of practitioners prior to the conference, in their assessments with families and production of reports, can shape the child focus of the meeting. The influence of child and family participation in conferences is assessed and the meeting itself is explored through analysis of the conference discussion and the decision making and planning which takes place. The study found that practitioners can find it difficult to be explicit about child neglect in conferences. The thesis argues that factors such as the family’s participation, the role of the chair and the competence of practitioners can influence the degree to which the conference is child focused. The extent to which a child protection conference can be considered child focused and the implications of this for theory and practice are explored.
Supervisor: Churchill, Harrie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available