CHILD WELFARE INEQUALITIES PROJECT (2015-2019) NUFFIELD FOUNDATION

Source: Child Welfare Inequalities Project and Nuffield Foundation

This project, led by Professor Paul Bywaters and undertaken with the Universities of Coventry, Cardiff, Nottingham, Queens Belfast, Stirling and Edinburgh, was designed to examine how social and economic inequalities are reflected in high end children’s social care interventions. It has provided foundation evidence about the scale of inequalities and developed new concepts, methods and models. These are the basis for building policy, practice and further research and for changing the conversation about how to keep children safe and strengthen families. It focuses attention on preventing harm by studying populations, structures and systems and by providing evidence that will help re-shape the direction and focus of children’s services.

Recommendations contained within the report include:

The focus and priorities of children’s social care systems in the UK should be rethought.
The scale and reach of inequalities identified make the case for rethinking the focus and priorities of children’s social care systems in the UK countries and internationally. More of the same will not reduce inequity in children’s life chances. Rather it is likely to continue the negative spiral of increasing investigations, coercive high cost interventions and the separation of children from their birth families, drawing ever more scarce resources away from supporting families and preventing harm to children.

The Child Welfare Inequalities Project: Final Report Paul Bywaters and the Child Welfare Inequalities Project Team (July 2020, p17).

This conclusion, it states, is echoed in the Scottish Independent Care Review (2020, 7-8):

‘For Scotland to truly to be the best place in the world for children to grow up, a fundamental shift is required … Scotland must change the way it supports families to stay together. Because despite Scotland’s aspiration for early intervention and prevention, its good intentions, and the hard work of many, the experience of far too many children and families is of a fractured, bureaucratic, unfeeling ‘care system’ that operates when children and families are facing crisis….

Despite the system being focused, above all else, on protecting against harm, it can prolong the pain from which it is trying to protect. Some children who have experienced trauma told the Care Review that being taken into care and growing up in the ‘care system’ was among the most traumatising experiences they had ever had, exacerbated by being separated from their brothers and sisters, living with strangers and moving multiple times….

Scotland’s focus and understanding of risk must shift to understand the risk of not having
stable, loving, safe relationships.’

Read the full report at source: HERE

Read the final report – Executive Summary: HERE

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