Child protection Social work Social services Ireland
Economic & Social Research Institute
Buckley, Helen. 'Child protection practice: an ungovernable enterprise?'. - Economic & Social Review, Vol. 30, No. 1, January, 1999, pp. 21-40, Dublin: Economic & Social Research Institute
This paper reports on a research study carried out in 1993/94, on the child protection practices of a social work team employed by a regional health board. The aim of the study was to challenge the assumption underlying official policies and procedures that child protection work is susceptible to bureaucratic management. By exploring the criteria applied by practitioners in both defining and investigating “child abuse” allegations, the study illustrates the way in which judgements are made through an ideologically and pragmatically based framework rather than the technical/rational process implied in official guidance. The research also highlights the way in which Irish child protection work has followed an international trend of focusing narrowly on incidents which conform to a “norm” of child abuse and ignoring the wider adversities suffered by families and children.
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