Children’s rights, social justice and family support

Developing inclusive, socially just and participatory practice

Authored by: John M. Davis , Mary Smith

The Routledge Handbook of Global Child Welfare

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138942752
eBook ISBN: 9781315672960
Adobe ISBN: 9781317374749


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Good, effective family support offers a wealth of benefits to both children and adults alike. It can provide for the growth of agency and contribute to positive personal development and transition into adulthood. However, and indeed not uniquely to this area, a variety of aims, ideas and practices have emerged in the literature on family support. This is not in itself an inherent malady; however, we might pause to consider whether any combination of such approaches has succeeded in meaningfully incorporating children’s own perspectives of social justice, their own rights and their place in traditional constructs of the family? If such a question raises concern, which we argue it should, then we might pause further to reflect on whether some ideal of ‘the family’ ought to be the base measurement against which family support is pitched. This, understandably might seem somewhat counterintuitive; however, this chapter argues that when approaching family support with too narrow a focus on the family unit, professionals may overlook the inner complexities, relationships and power dynamics that create such a unit.

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