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Title: 'The shadow falls' : understanding the factors involved in decision-making in Local Authority Children's Services
Author: Harvey, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 3284
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2017
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This research explores outcomes for 31 children in 17 families, from parenting assessment work undertaken by the author in her role as an independent social worker, for a local authority between 2006 and 2008. The data collected in the course of the work was used in order to identify themes and patterns across cases, to form an understanding of the common difficulties faced by families in complex child protection cases. The assessments were followed up with interviews with the social workers to find out what had happened to the child or family. The themes arising from these two sets of data are presented as case studies, highlighting common themes about the psychodynamic factors affecting decision making in child protection work and the emotional impact of the work. The study describes a process whereby the social worker can lose sight of the child’s needs due to the overwhelming needs of the parents. The findings advocate a process of containment through a model of reflective supervision, which takes account of the emotional impact of the work, bringing the child back into focus whilst not losing sight of the parent’s needs. A process of reconnection with the tragedy behind the cases is also described. This study demonstrates how difficult it is for one lone social worker to keep the parent and child’s needs in mind and therefore advocates for a team approach to complex child protection work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Soc.W.) Qualification Level: Doctoral