Developing Good Practice in Children’s Services

    Edited by Vicky White and John Harris, Jessica
    Kingsley

    ISBN 1843101505, £16.95

    STAR RATING 2/5

    This book contains chapters by several authors, most of them
    working with Warwickshire social services. It offers the
    opportunity to learn from good practice in a three-star council,
    writes Anne Burnage.

    Unfortunately, the quality of the contributions is variable. Simon
    Lord’s chapter on strategic development, for example, is alarmingly
    uncritical. I cannot imagine many social workers agreeing with his
    view that completely restructuring the department three times in 10
    years is a mark of good practice.

    Andrew Durham’s chapter on working with young people with sexual
    behavioural difficulties is based on one very narrow interpretation
    of such problems and fails to take into account other
    approaches.

    On the other hand Ann Seal’s description of a programme to help
    children learn to keep themselves safe describes a useful and
    interesting experiment that is honestly evaluated. Likewise Rebecca
    Johnson and Phil Sawbridge’s discussion of matching needs and
    services in family placement is a thoughtful analysis of a complex
    issue.

    So, a book that is good in parts but perhaps not the highest
    priority for those with £16.95 to spend.

    Anne Burnage is deputy director of the Catholic Children’s
    Society

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