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Children, Non resident Fathers and the Public Law: Dilemmas and Challenges

Reid, James (2010) Children, Non resident Fathers and the Public Law: Dilemmas and Challenges. In: International Conference on Children In Law, September 16-17th 2010, Örebro University, Sweden. (Unpublished)

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      Abstract

      In the UK the public discourse on separated families has been rich with the stereotypes of ʹdeadbeat dadsʹ
      and ʹobstructive mumsʹ. It is the author’s view that these stereotypes have also been common in public
      service social work and concomitant legal practice with families, in part encouraged by uncritical
      approaches to assessment perpetuated by mandated tools such as the Framework for Assessment of Children
      in Need and their Families (DH, 2000), the Common Assessment Framework (2005) and the Integrated Children’s
      System (2005). There are continuing concerns about the quality of assessments and that good practice in
      this regard is inhibited by managerialist and bureaucratic approaches and imbalance between social work
      practitioners and their legal representatives.
      One negative outcome of this, particularly for children in contested contact proceedings, is denied
      familial and cultural experiences and lost identity. The myth of the ‘deadbeat’ and ‘obstructive’ parent
      means that many non‐resident parents are anonymous in practitioner’s minds and records, not helped as
      many children’s stories are reduced to a ‘cut and paste’ approach to assessment. Such anonymity means
      that possibilities offered by the non‐resident parent’s family, culture and community are denied and
      unavailable to the child. Practitioners worry about accountability both within and out with the courtroom
      and practice in an atmosphere of increased public hostility and scrutiny. Utility is determined not just by
      statute but by working practices and culture, by knowledge and skills, and the prevailing social and
      political priorities of the day and this does not necessarily favour positive outcomes for children and
      nonresident fathers.

      Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
      Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
      H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
      K Law > K Law (General)
      Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
      School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Teaching, Public Pedagogies and Professionalism Research Group
      School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Early Years Childhood Youth and Community Research
      Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Sara Taylor
      Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2010 11:44
      Last Modified: 06 Aug 2013 11:45
      URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/9107

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