Journal Article

Investigation or Initial Assessment of Child Concerns? The Impact of the Refocusing Initiative on Social Work Practice

Dendy Platt

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 2, pages 267-281
Published in print February 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch255
Investigation or Initial Assessment of Child Concerns? The Impact of the Refocusing Initiative on Social Work Practice

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This paper is based on a qualitative research study of social workers’ and parents’ experiences of attempts to ‘refocus’ child protection practice in England since the late 1990s. A review of the research base for the refocusing initiative is presented, leading to an exploration of one of the key changes arising from the initiative: the move away from investigations in ‘borderline’ cases towards less intrusive initial assessments. Methods involved qualitative interviews with parents and social workers in twenty-three cases drawn from two local authorities. The main conclusions are that initial assessments, as developed through the refocusing initiative and the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (Department of Health, 2000), provide a form of practice that offers benefits in terms of balancing child protection and child welfare approaches, and in terms of relationships with parents.

Keywords: initial assessment; children in need; refocusing initiative; child protection

Journal Article.  7003 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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