Power and Child Protection Practice: A Critical Framework

Antony Schaffarczyk

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis is an analytic study that develops a critical framework of power in child protection. This framework performs two main functions. First, it is a case management tool that can be drawn upon in mapping out approaches to working with children and families. Second, it is intended as a tool to help social workers critically engage with and reflect on power, and the ethical and practical challenges of child protection to which power is central. To develop this framework, analysis of a range of theoretical perspectives and conceptual ideas is undertaken. The thesis first explores the history, and central roles and responsibilities of child protection. It then offers an analysis of the sociological and epistemological foundations of child protection on which understanding and engaging with power is built. An analytic study of theories and concepts of power is then offered, with a view to beginning to develop an approach that is specific to child protection work. These ideas are developed in relation to good practice in child protection in respect of power, with a particular focus on the relational dimensions of practice, where good practice is about working with children and families and the respectful use of power and authority. These ideas are then brought together in a conceptual and theoretical framework that looks to put power at the heart of child protection.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Evans, Tony, Supervisor
Award date1 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2017


  • Power (social sciences)
  • Child protection
  • Social Work
  • social work practice

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