In their day-to-day practice, social work and human services practitioners frequently find themselves in confusing ethical quandaries, trying to balance the numerous competing interests of protecting children from harm and promoting family and community capacity. This book explores the ethical issues surrounding child protection interventions and offers a process-oriented approach to ethical practice and decision making in child protection and family welfare practice. Its aim is to prepare students and early-career professionals for roles in the complex and challenging work of child protection and family support.
Beginning with a critical analysis and appreciation of the diverse organisational and cultural contexts of contemporary child protection and ethical decision-making frameworks, the authors outline a practical ‘real-world’ model for reshaping frontline ethical practice. Moving away from a focus on the child apart from the family, the authors recognise that child safeguarding affects the lives, not just of children, but also of parents, grandparents and communities. Working Ethically in Child Protection eschews dominant rational-technical models for relational ones that are value centred and focus on family well-being as a whole.
Rather than a single focus on assessing risk and diagnosing deficit, this book recognises that our child protection systems bear down disproportionately on those from disadvantaged and marginalised communities and argues that what is needed is real support and practical assistance for poor and vulnerable parents and children. It uses real-world case examples to illustrate the relevant ethical and practice principles, and ways in which students and practitioners can practise ethically when dealing with complex, multi-faceted issues.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Ethical Theory and Historical Frameworks for Practice 1. The Ethical Landscape in Child Protection 2. Established Ethical Frameworks 3. Emergent Ethical Theories 4. Ethical Decision Making Part 2: The Context of Child Protection Practice 5. Competing Perspectives on Child Protection and Family Welfare 6. System Mandates, Policy, Theory and Practice 7. Service-user and Other Perspectives 8. Needs and Circumstances of Service Users Part 3: Professional Ethics and Ethical Child Protection and Family Welfare Practice 9. Ethics, Organisations and the Law 10. Ethical Principles in Child Protection Part 4: Practising Ethically 11. A Relational Approach to Child Protection 12. Applying an Integrated Framework 13. Working Ethically Across Cultures: A Focus on Fathers 14. Sharing Information: A Risky Business? 15. Travelling Hopefully
Bob Lonne has extensive experience as a social worker in various child protection roles in Australia. With Nigel Parton, Jane Thomson and Maria Harries he co-authored Reforming Child Protection. In 2008, he was appointed as the foundation Chair at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, and was the National President of the Australian Association of Social Workers from 2005 to 2011.
Maria Harries has had a 45-year career in practice, teaching and research where she has held numerous senior positions. Her focus has been on mental health and the well-being of children and families. She has taught and consulted extensively on ethics in governance and clinical practice.
Brid Featherstone is Professor of Social Work at the Open University, UK. With Sue White and Kate Morris, she has written Re-imagining Child Protection: Towards humane social work with families and has a particular interest in engaging fathers and gender issues in child protection.
Mel Gray has extensive experience in the field of ethics having completed her PhD in this area and authored several book chapters and journal articles on social work ethics. She also edited, with Stephen Webb, the highly successful Ethics and Value Perspectives in Social Work (2009).
'Working Ethically in Child Protection provides a deep analysis of ethics and the complex, critical dilemmas and decision-making processes in child protection. The book is a useful text for social work, psychology, legal, and welfare students and practitioners.' - Susie Costello Director, Master of Social Work, RMIT University, MelbourneAustralian Social Work