1st Edition

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

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 24, 2020
ISBN 9780367000912
November 24, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
152 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

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

Table of Contents

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


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