تئوری پردازی نشانه هایی رویکرد ایمنی به مدد کاری اجتماعی حمایت از کودکان: تعیین موقعیت، کدها و قدرت
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|34657||2014||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8390 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 47, Part 1, December 2014, Pages 70–77
Many countries are struggling to reconcile the conflicting demands of heightened risk aversion cultivated by a reactionary public and media, and recognition of the rights of parents and children to family maintenance where possible. One approach that seeks to grapple with these demands is the signs of safety (SoS) approach (Turnell & Edwards, 1999). This article is a theoretical paper discussing the SoS approach, drawing on a qualitative empirical study of decision-making in a context where the SoS was used. As practice tools affect knowledge production, the SoS approach is analysed using the social constructionist concepts of positioning and investment, Bernstein's codes, and Foucault's knowledge/power and discretion/surveillance ideas. It is argued that the SoS approach offers morally attractive subject positions to parents which may contribute to client engagement and personal change. This is achieved by focussing on future safety, implying future parental competence, and including parents in decision-making processes. The SoS approach uses both corrective and appreciative ‘codes’ in its approach to knowledge production. That is, it allows clients some input into constructing problems and finding solutions and thus de-privileges the social worker's ‘expert’ view, reflecting an appreciative code. However, this does not extend to ‘bottom-line’ concerns that the social worker defines as essential for the case to close, thus reflecting corrective elements. In terms of knowledge/power and discretion/surveillance, the approach helps social workers to differentiate between when to lend discretionary power to clients and include them in knowledge production, and when to retain control over knowledge production. Importantly, it is underpinned by a traditional ‘respect for persons’ ethic that assumes the potential for parental functioning, and parental right to autonomy, in an environment that has traditionally begun from the opposite premise. However, while it holds much potential for humanising responses to risk that are productive in terms of personal change, client engagement and child safety, its focus on the micro context of client's lives only may omit significant structural causes of risks to children, or overstate social worker's power within organisational and wider political policy contexts.
Houston and Griffiths (2000) challenge social work to move beyond the ‘risk paradigm’ in child protection social work, arguing that a focus on measuring objective risk factors has resulted in a partialised practice approach that emphasises “prediction, control and culpability” (p.1). They and others argue that this focus damages the client/social worker relationship, dehumanises clients, and promotes practice characterised by blame, hostility, and conservative interventionism. This kind of risk measurement is related to psychological stress for both social worker and client, and a past, rather than future orientation to practice (Ferguson, 2008, Gillingham and Bromfield, 2008, Howe, 2010, Keddell, 2011a and Parton, 2006). Conversely, Baird and Wagner (2000) and Shlonsky and Wagner (2005) argue that validated actuarial risk assessment approaches are an aid to practice, as they improve an ability to assess future risk of harm beyond professional judgment alone. Munro (2010) attempts to embed both actuarial and professional judgment concepts in her systems approach to child protection practice. Both sides of the now well-rehearsed debate agree that an ability to assess and manage risk in child protection social work is a crucial aspect of the role, and requires careful balancing of children's right to protection with their right to, and need for, family relationships (Keddell, 2013, Schwalbe, 2008 and Turnell, 2008). Whichever type of decision-making approach is utilised, the interpretive, constitutive and morally categorical nature of the discourses governing the approach are often under-theorised, despite numerous calls to better understand the underpinning rationalities operating in everyday practice (Broadhurst et al., 2010, Buckley, 2003 and Taylor and White, 2000). The discourses implicit in decision-making tools not only affect the ways client behaviour comes to be understood, but also have a direct impact on the relationship formed between social worker and client, as discourses (ways of conceptualising behaviours and situations) determine roles, rules, categories and subject positions in everyday interactions (Gergen, 2003, Parton, 1999 and Shotter, 1997). The worker–client relationship, in turn, has an ongoing impact on many of the aims of child protection social work practice including family engagement, goal negotiation, decisions around removal, motivation for personal change, monitoring, empowerment, and the ongoing management of risk. Furthermore, decision-making tools and their associated discourses interact with and reflect the wider politics of practice, that is, politics in a broad sense, those that “…influence the ability of participants in the service process to define needs, implement alternative strategies of helping and evaluate their effectiveness…It determines the roles that social workers and clients play in the helping process, the different forms of authority…and the vocabulary that describes the service transaction itself” (Reisch & Jani, 2012, p. 1136). Thus, the nexus between the discourses used to interpret client behaviour implicit in decision-making approaches, the ongoing relationship between client and social worker, and the process of knowledge production about clients deserves attention. The dynamic between these components influences decisions to remove or return children, as well as the broader goals of the profession including social justice, self-determination, and protection of the vulnerable. This article theorises these connections between risk assessment tools, discourse, knowledge production, and social worker–client relationships in child protection social work. It draws on a study of decision-making undertaken at a site of practice that uses the signs of safety (SoS) approach (Turnell & Edwards, 1999). This context is a large child and family NGO in Aotearoa/New Zealand that decided to adopt the SoS approach some years ago, and worked closely with one of its founders to ensure consistent and rigorous implementation across the organisation. The influences of the SoS on knowledge production about risk and safety will be analysed drawing on several theoretical tools. These tools are: the constructionist concepts of positioning and investment; Bernstein's codes; and Foucault's knowledge/power and discretion/surveillance ideas (Bernstein, 1977, Burr, 2003, Featherstone and Fawcett, 1994, Foucault, 1980, Healy, 2005, Holloway, 1994 and Rodger, 1991). By describing and theorising a relatively recent approach to managing risk and safety, this article hopes to ‘extend the conversation’ about risk by exploring the ethical, philosophical and pragmatic influences of this innovative approach on current risk management practices. It gives particular attention to the discursive production of knowledge that takes place within a relational context of unequal power.