Ghaffar, Wendy, Manby, Martin and Race, Tracey (2012) Exploring the Experiences of Parents and Carers whose Children Have Been Subject to Child Protection Plans. British Journal of Social Work, 42 (5). pp. 887-905. ISSN 0045-3102

This study explored the experiences of forty-two families in three local authorities in Northern England in 2009. Out of the families involved, twenty-five highlighted domestic abuse and mental health issues, and twenty-one identified drug or alcohol issues as impacting negatively on their parenting. Most parents had positive experiences of help with drug/alcohol issues, and many were motivated to overcome their problems by a desire to continue (or resume) looking after their children. Parents experiencing domestic abuse or allegations of child sexual abuse were less positive. Parents had a clear understanding of the responsibilities of child protection social workers. Threequarters of families were able to identify positive qualities in the professionals who supported them; they had a positive view of inter-agency communication. They did not expect an equal role in decision making. Parents’ and professionals’ views tended to converge over time. Absorbing information at the start of the process was difficult for many parents. Most found case conferences daunting and intimidating, and reports often reached them too late. Parents were critical of assessments using a deficit model; they received too little therapeutic help for themselves and their children.

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