Empowering parents whose children are subjected to care proceedings: A qualitative investigation into practitioners experiences

Stephanie Jones, Jessica Wagner, Jason Randall, Anna Tsaroucha

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    There has been a shift in recent years in care proceedings with parental empowerment being seen as a fundamental anti-oppressive social work value (Smith 2010). Research has suggested that although empowerment is often the objective the family may not feel this is achieved. Giovanini (2011) Sykes et al (2002) and Sinclair & Wilson (2009) looked at the experiences of birth parents during care proceedings. A key theme of the literature was that parents felt that social workers had not been helpful during the process, in terms of sharing information and offering support and advice. Therefore, this research focused on practitioners? views of their ability to empower whilst working with parents. The objective was to explore practitioners? experiences of attempting to empower parents of children undergoing care proceedings. Six semi-structured one-to-one interviews were undertaken. Participants were practitioners currently working in the care proceedings. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. The practitioners reported that every effort is made to empower family members in care proceedings but felt that numerous barriers exist that hinder this resulting to the disengagement of many of the families. Further, practitioners highlighted that their key goal was to support the child and as such they did not have the capacity to continually chase families. The research suggests that in order to empower parents, a true partnership approach is necessary. This may not always be possible within care proceedings as the primary focus is, and must be, safeguarding the child.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe Journal of New Writing in Health and Social Care
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 1 Jul 2016


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