Learning from Others: An autoethnographic exploration of children and families social work, poverty and the capability approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article an autoethnographic approach is used to explore the author’s work with families living in poverty who are involved in the child protection and family court systems. The psychological and social impacts of poverty and structural inequalities on families are highlighted through case studies, as is the influence of wider policy and political contexts on social work practice with children and families. The capability approach developed by Amartya Sen is outlined and its relevance to social work practice discussed. The article concludes that the capability approach, particularly when complemented by the work of Nancy Fraser, offers possibilities for the development of critical social work practice with families living in poverty within a human rights and social justice framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-464
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number4
Early online date16 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • social work
  • child protection
  • Capability Approach
  • poverty

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