Less than human: a qualitative study into the experience of parents involved in the child protection system

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    Abstract

    This paper reports on the findings from a qualitative study into the experiences of parents who were involved in the English child protection system in 2013. 17 in-depth interviews were conducted involving 19 parents and/or partners and a framework approach was used to analyse the data. There were positive experiences of individual social workers and some positive experiences of the child protection system. However, the overwhelming theme of the parents’ experiences was that the system was uncaring, inflexible, and for some harmful to both themselves and their children. Despite being included in the child protection process, parents felt they were not afforded the same rights as a participant, as a decision maker, or as a partner in seeking to improve the situation. The threat of consequences silenced parents who felt unable to speak out or challenge the things they disagreed with or coerced others into signing agreements they did not agree to. Such experiences related to a sense that they were being treated as ‘less than human’. These findings are considered within the context of recent reforms within the English child protection system.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalChild and Family Social Work
    Early online date4 Feb 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2016

    Keywords

    • Social Work
    • Child Protection
    • Experiences
    • Parents
    • Qualitative

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