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Recurrent Care Proceedings: Part 4: The emergence of child protection as a public health issue: How would a more prevention-oriented approach alter the provision of services and the family-professional relationship? (£)

Sep 29, 2018, 20:10 PM
family law, recurrent care proceedings, divorce, adoption, FDAC, Family Drug and Alcohol Court
We argue for mixing firmness with compassion and hope, by using examples from the Family Drug and Alcohol Court.
Slug : recurrent-care-proceedings-part-4-the-emergence-of-child-protection-as-a-public-health-issue-how-would-a-more-prevention-oriented-approach-alter-the-provision-of-services-and-the-family-professional-relationship
Meta Title : Recurrent Care Proceedings: Part 4: The emergence of child protection as a public health issue: How would a more prevention-oriented approach alter the provision of services and the family-professional relationship? (£)
Meta Keywords : family law, recurrent care proceedings, divorce, adoption, FDAC, Family Drug and Alcohol Court
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Date : Dec 8, 2014, 05:31 AM
Article ID : 107913
MIKE SHAW, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Child and Family Department at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

SOPHIE KERSHAW, Service Manager Family Drug and Alcohol Court

KAREN BROADHURST, Senior Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies, University of Manchester

JUDITH HARWIN, Professor of Social Work, Brunel University

BACHAR ALROUH, Research Fellow, Brunel University

CLAIRE MASON, Research Associate, University of Manchester, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust


In June 2014, we published our finding that nearly a third of all care proceedings in England are repeat removals (Broadhurst et al, August [2014] Fam Law 1073). In this short article we argue for a fresh approach to prevention, first that the time has come for a public health methodology, and second that the family-professional relationship needs to be more therapeutic.

Recently the Chief Medical Officer’s report on mental health concluded that ‘between a quarter and a third of the burden of adult psychiatric disorders is attributable to the effect of childhood abuse’ (L Howard, J Shaw, S Oram, H Khalifeh and S Flynn, ‘Violence and Mental Health’, in the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013 Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence (2014), pp 228). She goes on to advocate a variety of public health measures that would potentially ensure fewer people suffer avoidable harm. It remains to be seen whether there is political backing for the Chief Medical Officer’s advice. If so, there will be profound implications for child protection leadership, research and practice. However, the family-professional relationship has to include something more therapeutic if prevention is really going to succeed. At the moment there is a risk that hard pressed social workers fall back on coercive approaches that provoke highly defensive responses from family that make prompt detection and early intervention more difficult. We argue for mixing firmness with compassion and hope, by using examples from the Family Drug and Alcohol Court.

The full version of this article appears in the December 2014 issue of Family Law.

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