Troubling Child Protection in England: Developing Critical Social Work Practice

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis comprises of twelve peer-reviewed journal articles and a critical appraisal of the coherence and original contribution of this work to the field of social work. The publications explore the role of the state and social work practice within the child protection and family court systems in England. In different ways the articles examine the complexities of practising socially just and humane social work within policy contexts and systems that can be inherently oppressive. The publications include theoretical articles and papers based on qualitative studies using focus groups and workshops. The experiences and voices of people living in poverty who have had to use social work services are incorporated in different ways, through the workshops and case study material. In the critical appraisal ideas from autoethnography are used to present a narrative account that contextualises the published work.
The coherence of the body of work is demonstrated through developing ideas about the application of anti-oppressive and critical social work theories, and the influence of child protection policy and legal contexts on social work practice. The traditional binaries of psychological and social, macro and micro, research and practice are challenged. In later publications consideration is given to the Capability Approach as a framework for critical social work practice. The publications together make a significant contribution to understanding the complexities and challenges of child protection work within neoliberal policy contexts and increasing inequality, and to the development of social work practice that strives to promote social justice and the human rights of marginalised children and families.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Fook, Jan, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Jul 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016


  • child protection
  • critical social work
  • Capapbility Approach
  • child protection policy and practice
  • poverty

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