Parton, Nigel (1996) Child protection, family support and social work: a critical appraisal of the Department of Health research studies in child protection. Child and Family Social Work, 1 (1). pp. 3-11. ISSN 1356-7500

This paper provides a critical appraisal of the Department of Health Research Studies in Child Protection and their recommendations for policy and practice. It argues that there are a number of conceptual and methodological problems and a failure to thoroughly articulate and represent the tensions and complexities of child protection work, particularly at the point of allegation and initial referral. In the process it fails to fully appreciate the significance of risk in the current social and political climate, the way front-line professionals, particularly social workers, are held to account and the nature of the responsibilities they carry. As a consequence, the paper suggests that attempts to shift the balance of policy and practice from narrowly defined child protection to family support for children in need may be far more difficult than the research suggests.

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