Journal Article

How Important Is Prevention? High Thresholds and Outcomes for Applicants Refused by Children’s Services: A Six-Month Follow-Up

Michael Sheppard

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 7, pages 1268-1282
Published in print October 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm019
How Important Is Prevention? High Thresholds and Outcomes for Applicants Refused by Children’s Services: A Six-Month Follow-Up

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High thresholds for receipt of children’s services have become a major concern in recent policy documents. This concern involves the lack of access for such families whose circumstances are such that they have considerable need of them. A further concern is that, without access to these services, families will be referred later with more serious problems that will require intervention, and use more resources. This paper seeks to test this assertion by examining the outcomes at six months for service applicants who receive only an initial assessment, but are not given further intervention. Findings demonstrate that, while these were, indeed, high need families, the majority improved significantly without formal support. A minority, however, showed no improvement or actually deteriorated. These, however, are difficult to identify, and the examination of the presence of external Locus of Control and Depression, factors which may be expected to influence outcome negatively, showed this was not the case. The findings have considerable significance for current policy, and, although we can only speculate on the basis of these data it may be that the absence of social support may be a key variable which should be included in eligibility criteria enhancing targeting of vulnerable families.

Keywords: prevention; child protection; research and evaluation; children in need

Journal Article.  6323 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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