Journal Article

Liberty and Respect in Child Protection

Sally Holland and Jonathan Scourfield

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 1, pages 21-36
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Liberty and Respect in Child Protection

Show Summary Details


The paper begins by introducing Isaiah Berlin's concepts of positive and negative liberty and the application of these concepts to child protection. There is discussion of some recent debates on the social and political context of state social work and child protection in particular. The authors then consider, in turn, the experience of children, parents and social workers in the child protection system. There is also a consideration of partnership and rights. The conclusion is that opportunities for statutory child protection to be liberating are limited, but that there is more potential than the most pessimistic accounts might allow. Rather than libertarian child protection, social workers can aim for child protection practice that is respectful. The paper concludes with some principles for respectful practice, based on the ideas of Richard Sennett. Most importantly, Sennett's ideas recognize the importance of relationships in social welfare and acknowledge the context of inequality within which social work takes place.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.