University of Hertfordshire

Working with resistant parents in child protection: Recognising and responding to the risks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJoint World Conf on Social Work and Social Development
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2012
Event2012 Joint World Conf on Social Work and Social Development - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 8 Jul 201212 Jul 2012

Conference

Conference2012 Joint World Conf on Social Work and Social Development
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period8/07/1212/07/12

Abstract

The IASSW Definition of Social Work and Ethics documents acknowledge
that in order to protect the vulnerable in society, we need to empower
all people we work with whilst also ensuring that those who are most
vulnerable- in this instance children who are being abused by their
families- are protected from those who abuse their power over them. This
unique care/control dilemma or ‘dual role’ in social work provides social
workers with unique challenges.
In its Definition of Social Work, the IASSW states that ‘social work..
strives to alleviate poverty and to liberate vulnerable and oppressed
people in order to promote social inclusion.’ In its Ethics in Social Work,
Statement of Principles document, jointly produced with the International
Federation of Social Workers, the Association states that: ‘Some ethical
challenges and problems facing social workers are specific to particular
countries; others are common... Some of these problem areas include:
■ The fact that the loyalty of social workers is often
in the middle of conflicting interests.
■ The fact that social workers function as both helpers and controllers.
These then are key areas for social work and social work education to
consider in preparation for engagement with involuntary and resistant
parents in child protection work. This paper examines how social
workers can best understand the nature and extent of the various
types of such resistant behaviours, and consequently respond most
effectively to such situations. This will include a review of both the
research evidence concerning the negative effects on staff and child
service users of such behaviours, and of the findings from child abuse
death inquiry and Serious Case Reviews in England as examples of
these processes that are applicable across different parts of the world.
Key theoretical issues to be addressed in the article will relate to how
current models and methods of social work may mean that the presence
and effects of such resistance in parents is avoided and minimized. The
paper goes on to examine what we need to consider in risk assessments,
ongoing work, and responses at policy, personal, and agency levels

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