This important article focuses on Nigerian parents’ experiences of the British child welfare system. It provides a helpful insight into the factors which influence families interaction with the British child welfare system and calls for safeguarding professionals to adopt a more balanced, contextualised approach. The interplay of the structural forces of race, power and cultural differentials influencing help seeking or help avoidant interactions between families and professionals are helpfully examined.
In a complicated cycle, fear of authorities, fear of losing children to the care system and the strangeness of state intervention in ordinary family matters, may compel some African parents to resist child-safeguarding professionals, who in turn may uncritically assess the parents as being uncooperative or antagonistic (see Cyril et al. 2016). Meanwhile, recurrent anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies from various UK governments exacerbate exclusion and fear in immigrants (Honneth, 1995; Bain, 2018). British institutions and authorities, including the police, social services, hospitals and GP surgeries, schools and religious centres are actively deployed to monitor and enforce some of these policies, which underscore the participants’ distrust of institutions like social services (Yesufu, 2013).– Cynthia Okpokiri
Cynthia worked in child protection in several children and families teams across Greater London before commencing her doctoral research at University of Sussex. Her work includes the following articles which will also be interest to social workers and safeguarding professionals: