How Nurture Protects Children: Nurture and Narrative in Work with Children, Young People and Families (Paperback)
  • How Nurture Protects Children: Nurture and Narrative in Work with Children, Young People and Families (Paperback)

How Nurture Protects Children: Nurture and Narrative in Work with Children, Young People and Families (Paperback)

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Paperback Published: 01/02/2010
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"How Nurture Protects Children" is a series of reflections about important and contemporary issues in the public care and education of children, young people and their families. The book is not intended to be an academic text or a summary of research projects as its main strength is in using practice based experiences and observations from work with children, young people and their families. These experiences are encapsulated in two case studies which illustrate in narrative form the key ideas and main themes of the book. However, the book does make reference to research material and other relevant texts in an attempt to balance personal reflections and experiences with evidence from published and current research. In social care, education, youth justice and health services, professional activity has been dominated by policy directives that require copious forms to be completed and filed, boxes to be ticked, targets to be achieved and reports to be written, the latter usually in a formulaic style that prescribes their conclusions. Short term outcomes are the order of the day and the demand is for 'focused' pieces of work that can be 'written off' and added to the list of jobs done and performance measures achieved. In practice this has brought about a series of 'unintended consequences' most dramatically in a number of high profile human tragedies, which are routinely followed by enquiries, reports and knee jerk policy reactions resulting in 'more of the same'. Social workers, who, after these enquiries and reports, are supposedly more aware of risk and the factors that indicate a family is having problems or a child is being abused, appear to have less understanding of the significance of what they are seeing or being told and are ill equipped to ask the right questions and think about the answers. The book is partly a critique of this culture where control prevails over welfare, regulation over professional judgement and protocol over process. The argument is that rather than making children safer the dominating principles of current policy have serious implications for organisations, direct practice and training and have actually served to make children more at risk. However, the book is also an attempt to describe an alternative way of thinking about the nature of work with children, young people and their families. In this model, the development of positive relationships is at the forefront of policy and practice and the education and training of professional workers is shaped by an emphasis on child development and the profound significance of attachment and nurture. A key aim is to show that if practice in both social care and education settings is based on ideas from attachment theory and the principles of nurture then it is more likely to be effective in protecting vulnerable children, young people and their families. All changes in practice have to be supported by systems (policy) and organisations that understand the nature of the work and are configured in such a way as to sustain and support the task, which is why organisational and training questions, as well as issues from direct practice, are addressed in the book. One of the consequences of this prevailing professional culture is the devaluing of the use of professional judgement and imposed limitations on the capacity to think. As a result there is a generation of professionals in social work, teaching and other related areas of practice who, although they may know about ideas such as attachment and of the critical significance of relationships, do not work within systems and for organisations that provide the essential sustaining support required for these approaches. How we speak about the work that we do with children, young people and families reflects the framework of thinking that informs practice. The book attempts to connect ideas from attachment theory and narrative forms in order to show how in practice it is important to listen to a whole story and to permit that story to be told in a way that allows different voices to emerge; everyone's story is relevant and different points of view enrich the overall understanding of what are usually complex and rapidly changing circumstances. This is particularly relevant for work with children who may be at risk of harm and for ensuring proper and clear communication between all professionals involved in their care.

Publisher: Responsive Solutions UK Ltd
ISBN: 9780956486301

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