1st Edition

Safeguarding and Mental Health Support in Contemporary Childhood How the Deserving/Undeserving Paradigm from the Past Overshadows the Present

By Wendy Sims-Schouten Copyright 2021
    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    Approaches regarding safeguarding and mental health in childhood have been in constant flux. Framed within a critical realist ontology, this book provides insight into causal factors (individual, material, institutional) and social structures that impact on the continued legacy of the ‘deserving/undeserving' paradigm.

    Drawing on historical data from children taken into care by the Waifs and Strays Society (1881–1918) and contemporary data from interviews with young care leavers and safeguarding practitioners/professionals, this book shows how at present and in the past, certain children and families miss(ed) out on support and interventions due to complex needs, financial cuts and ever-changing thresholds. It is the group of children referred to as ‘victims’, a term used for the most disadvantaged children who have spent time in care, have complex mental health needs and have had the most damaging pre-care family experiences, who are the focus of this book. This book shows that in an attempt to provide services where there are ever increasing thresholds for access and cuts to resources, a resurgence of the ‘deserving/undeserving’ paradigm reflects a contemporary justification regarding who is 'entitled' to help and who is not.

    This book will be of interest to all scholars and students of social work, social policy, childhood studies, sociology and education policy.

    Introduction: Setting the Scene

    Chapter 1: Safeguarding, Mental Health & the Legacy of the ‘Deserving/Undeserving’ Paradigm – worthy or unworthy victims?

    Chapter 2: Mental Health & Safeguarding through a Critical Realist Lens

    Chapter 3: The Case of the Waifs and Strays (1881-1918)

    Chapter 4: The Case of Care Leavers, Mental Health and Safeguarding in Contemporary Britain

    Chapter 5: Good Practice & Bad Practice – Lessons Learnt

    Conclusion: Changing perceptions: A way forward



    Wendy Sims-Schouten is Associate Professor (Reader) in Childhood Studies, School of Education and Sociology, University of Portsmouth, UK.

    "Wendy Sims-Schouten demonstrates her scholarship in the field of safeguarding and mental health as well as her ability to draw parallels between contemporary practice in the field of safeguarding and mental health amongst youth and documented material from past records. The illustrative case studies from contemporary interviews with young people as well as from the records of the past are presented within a carefully constructed theoretical framework that challenges the legacy of the deserving/undeserving paradigm. A powerful message comes from the voices of children and young people who have experienced challenging and disturbing events in their lives and who consequently are often diagnosed as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

    This book alerts professionals to the critical issues of today placed in their historical context. Methodologically, researchers will find it useful in its presentation of archived data and in the methods of analysis used. Theoretically, the book presents a clear explication of critical realism."

    -Helen Cowie, University of Surrey