Beyond buzzwords: principles and themes for reforming child protection practice

Harries, Maria, Lonne, Bob, and Thomson, Jane (2005) Beyond buzzwords: principles and themes for reforming child protection practice. In: Papers from the CROCCS 2005 Conference. pp. 1-7. From: Challenging Practices: CROCCS 2005 Conference, 5-7 August 2005, Mackay, QLD, Australia.

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This conference paper, written by three academics who also continue their practice work in child welfare, addresses the urgent need for fundamental review and real reformation of our thinking about the welfare of children and families in Australia and elsewhere. The presenters will argue that we are emerging from an era in which a particular model for protecting children has found a dominant position and that it is not working and is unworkable. We aim to disentangle the themes within the contemporary model of child protection and propose a set of principles that need to accompany real change and reform. Criticism of those who have worked with and for child protection services is not our purpose.

It is apparent that at this time, the start of the 21 st Century, child protection in Australia and in many places in the world is in a state of crisis. Child death inquiries abound, politicians and populations panic, simple and complex solutions to the 'problem' are accompanied by increasingly strident rhetoric about protecting more and more children from ever more toxic events and families and about punishing offenders. Workers get caught up in a cycle of fear as they undertake punishing hours of hard work working for the welfare of children and young people while desperately trying to avoid being the next media victim themselves. Families become ever more alienated as they undergo assessments of their parenting and receive little help so they don't ask for help again and expend valuable energy avoiding the arm of 'the welfare'.

Item ID: 7610
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
Keywords: child protection; ethical framework; reform; risk
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2010 05:43
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160703 Social Program Evaluation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940105 Childrens/Youth Services and Childcare @ 100%
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