1st Edition

Understanding System Change in Child Protection and Welfare

    174 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    174 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an account of the experience of a multifaceted system-change programme to strengthen the capacity of Ireland’s statutory child protection and welfare agency in the areas of prevention, early intervention and family support.

    Many jurisdictions globally are involved in system change processes focused on increasing investment in services that seek to prevent children’s entry into child protection and welfare systems, through early intervention, greater support to families, and an increased emphasis on rights and participation.  Based on a four-year in-depth study by a team of University-based researchers, this text adds to the emerging knowledge-base on developing, implementing and evaluating system change in child protection and welfare. Study methodological approaches were wide ranging and involved a number of key stakeholders including children, parents, social workers and social care workers, service managers, agency leaders and policy makers. Since the change process involved an agency-university partnership encompassing design, technical support and evaluation, the book also contributes to understandings of the potential and limits of such partnerships in the child protection and welfare field. Uniquely, the book gives voice to the experience of both agency personnel and academic in the accounts provided.

    It will be of interest to all scholars, students and practitioners in the areas of child protection and welfare.

    1. Introducing systems change in Child Protection and Welfare through Prevention, Partnership and Family Support
      Carmel Devaney, Aileen Shaw, John Canavan and Caroline McGregor
    2. Focusing on the Big Picture: Doing System Change Evaluation
      John Canavan and Patrick Malone
    3. A Collaborative Approach to Researching the Meitheal Model – Learning and Legacy
      Carmel Devaney, Leonor Rodriguez, Anne Cassidy, Fergal Landy and Marina Brandon 
    4. Systematically embedding child and youth participation in Tusla’s culture, practices, and processes - Key findings from an evaluation of national training for staff
      Cormac Forkan, Rebecca Jackson, Edel Tierney, Danielle Kennan, Bernadine Brady, Kerri Martin, Anne McCabe, Michelle Sheehan, and Laura Lundy
    5. Collaborative Research on Parenting Support and Parental Participation in Child Protection and Welfare Services
      Carmel Devaney, Rosemary Crosse, Nuala Connolly, Catherine O'Donohoe and Helen Buckley
    6. Expectations, Capacity and Sustainability: Introducing a Commissioning Model for Child and Family Services in Ireland
      Aileen Shaw, John Canavan and Bob Lonne
    7. Understanding and Improving Public and Media Awareness of Family Support Services and Supports: Challenges and Opportunities for Research and Practice
      Caroline McGregor, Carmel Devaney, Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Patricia O’Connor, Deborah Daro, Amy Mulvihill, and Alan Breen
    8. Conclusion: Returning to the Research Objectives: Reflections on Learning from the Study to Inform Future Research
      John Canavan, Caroline McGregor, Carmel Devaney and Aileen Shaw



    John Canavan is Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (www.childandfamilyresearch.ie) where he leads the centre's extensive work programme. John is a Personal Professor at the School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway and teaches at undergraduate, MA and Ph.D level in the school. His research interests span Family Support, evaluation methodology and connecting research, policy and practice.

    Dr Carmel Devaney is Associate Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. Carmel is Academic Director of the MA in Family Support Studies and teaches and researches in the area of child protection and welfare, family support, parenting support, and children and young people in care. Prior to joining NUI Galway Carmel worked for many years in statutory children and family services as both a practitioner and manager.

    Caroline McGregor is a Senior Research Fellow at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Professor of Social Work at the School of Political Science and Sociology NUI Galway. Her research interests in the field of child protection and welfare include a focus on socio-legal practice, child protection and family support, and children in care.

    Dr. Aileen Shaw is Manager for Strategic Development at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. Aileen has extensive experience in research management, funding and nonprofit practice and has worked in the University sector in a number of research and fundraising roles in the United States and Ireland. Her research interests are in the areas of philanthropy, civil society and non-profit strategy.