Locked Out of Prevention? The Identity of Child and Family-Oriented Social Work in Scottish Post-Devolution Policy

Janice McGhee, Lorraine Waterhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The post-devolution settlement in 1999 created the environment for major national policy and legislative reform across all dimensions of Scottish life. This paper seeks to understand better the place of child and family-oriented social work in post-devolution Scotland. Scottish social work policy in general and children's services policy in particular are analysed to consider where policy makers appear to locate social work resources. An alternative reading of these post-devolution policies suggests that a policy 'effect' is being produced that appears to lock social work out of early intervention and prevention. Ambiguities and hidden elements reveal an identity for social work in policy that primarily aligns it with control functions where balancing care and control and the use of involuntary measures is to the fore-the 'hard cases'. This analysis points to the importance of social work taking a critical distance to policy formation and what it may mean for its identity and contribution to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable children growing up in Scotland today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1104
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

Keywords

  • Children's services policy
  • social work policy
  • identity
  • child protection
  • prevention
  • PROTECTION

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