From relationship-based practice in child welfare services to co-production with families

Authored by: Nuala Connolly , Liam White , Mirja Satka

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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The importance of developing and nurturing positive relationships in the context of child welfare is not a new phenomenon (Howe, 1998; Trevithick, 2003; Ruch, Turney & Ward, 2010; O’Leary, Ming-Sum & Ruch, 2013). The renewed interest in this area of practice illustrates a shift in emphasis in terms of policy. This shift is moving towards a more participatory and partnership orientation regarding how services are commissioned, designed and delivered. There is ‘a general belief that the involvement of service-users in decisions made about the provision of services is a more ethical and more effective way of proceeding’ (Corby, Miller & Young, 1996, p. 476). Participation and inclusion are seen as important in preventative services where parents may actually seek help voluntarily and accept help offered to them (Katz, La Placa & Hunter, 2007). In child protection settings where parents are compelled to accept help, participation and partnership working have been recognized as a major element in resolving the conflicting demands of the civil liberties of parents and the imperatives of child protection (Corby et al., 1996). This chapter explores the opportunities and challenges of relationship-based practice in child welfare services, exploring the potential for co-production with children and families.

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