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ERIC Number: EJ811206
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1357-5279
Are We Listening to Children? An Examination of the Child's Voice in Social Work Reports to the Court Following Parental Separation Disputes
Weatherall, Kerrylee; Duffy, Joe
Child Care in Practice, v14 n3 p275-292 Jul 2008
This paper examines the findings from a recent study investigating how children's interests and their rights are safeguarded through the representation of social workers in reports prepared for Court following parental separation disputes. A small-scale research study describes the views of family and childcare social workers on how children's wishes and feelings are reflected in Court-directed assessments in a large Health and Social Services Trust in Northern Ireland. The research employs a multi-data collection methodology involving the use of a focus group, postal questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The data were thematically analysed in relation to representing the voice of the child, and examined both the social work task and the role of training as a form of support for social workers in this demanding area of work. The findings demonstrate that social workers do seek and represent the views of the child within Article 4 reports, but identify factors that impinge on the accuracy of representing children's views and promoting their rights. These factors relate to Trust and Court priorities, lack of therapeutic intervention for children, variation in social work practice, lack of training for social work staff in this area and, consequently, the need to increase confidence and support for social work staff undertaking this work. As a result of these findings, suggestions are proposed for informing practice and improving service delivery in this key area of family and childcare social work practice. (Contains 2 figures, 4 tables and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)