The ‘Toxic Trio’: how good is the evidence base? – Summary

Most will have heard (& hopefully critiqued!) the term ‘toxic trio’, but how strong is the evidence underpinning the term? Weaker than we might think, apparently. This review shows that the evidence base for the ‘toxic trio’ does not justify its current central position in shaping child protection policy and practice.

[…] the ‘toxic trio’ factors have become dominant, embedded in routine processes and practices, data collection and reporting, and professional mind sets. The parents we consulted viewed the ‘toxic trio’ concept as offensive and alienating, as well as liable to lead to self-fulfilling bias in social work assessments. The focus on the ‘trio’ has crowded out other factors which would lead to a different orientation to practice, one that recognises that securing and maintaining trust between parents and services is a key issue, underpinned by an understanding that good parenting requires resources as well as skills. Research is urgently needed to examine the comparative importance of the ‘toxic trio’ against other relevant factors. At the household level, these include demographic factors such as parental age, parental separation or marital/ co-habiting status; socioeconomic factors, such as the impact of poverty, poor quality housing or homelessness, precarious employment or unemployment; and identity factors, such as ethnicity.

Guy C. M. Skinner1, Paul W. B. Bywaters2, Andy Bilson3, Robbie Duschinsky4, Keith Clement5, Dustin Hutchinson5, November 2020

Read full piece at source: The ‘Toxic Trio’: how good is the evidence base? – Summary

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