Culture and Child Protection: Reflexive Responses

Book Review: Culture and Child Protection Culture and Child Protection: Reflexive Responses
 Marie Connolly, Yvonne Crichton-Hill and Tony Ward, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
 ISBN 1853028126, £16.99



This book is ambitious in its scope, covering a broad range of theory, from conceptualising childhood to risk management with offenders, writes Mikenda Plant. But it assumes a level of familiarity with social constructionist and systemic ideas, which in my experience many social services practitioners do not have.

The authors argue that policies and procedures often emphasise assessments of risk and safety from an expert position and this, and constraints on time, may make their implementation a challenge.

The book offers a thoughtful analysis of the complexity of child protection work and of the influence of the specific cultural contexts, of practitioners and clients alike, on effective child protection decision-making. It offers approaches for valuing both the professional initiative of workers and the inclusion of clients in service provision.

Although the authors suggest that the framework they present does not require more money or time, I would argue that it does and that here they have neglected to consider fully the culture of social services. Making provision to share these ideas, win hearts and minds and support organisational change could be the subject of a whole new book.

Mikenda Plant is a specialist social worker for looked-after children, Derbyshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

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