Journal Article

High Thresholds and Prevention in Children’s Services: The Impact of Mothers’ Coping Strategies on Outcome of Child and Parenting Problems—Six Month Follow-Up

Michael Sheppard

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 1, pages 46-63
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm088
High Thresholds and Prevention in Children’s Services: The Impact of Mothers’ Coping Strategies on Outcome of Child and Parenting Problems—Six Month Follow-Up

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High thresholds characterizing the provision of Children’s Services have become increasingly apparent in recent years, and concerns that these thresholds mean that high need families do not receive a service have been expressed in key policy documents. This is despite a commitment, in policy and practice, to Prevention as an underlying theme for services. When referral is followed by a failure to access services, the coping strategies of the parents, in particular the mother, who is generally the primary caregiver, become of particular practical importance. These coping strategies are also of theoretical interest, being a key element of the newly developed concept of Proto Prevention, which extends our previous understanding of this area. This paper focuses on the coping strategies of families who were unsuccessful applicants for Children’s Services, and asks: Which coping strategies were most effective in securing positive outcomes? It was found that the direct actions of the mother, and avoidance strategies such as denial or acceptance had little effect. However, seeking social support was associated with more positive outcomes in child development and parenting, and denial and disengagement with an increase in depression symptoms. The implications of these findings, for policy and practice, are discussed.

Keywords: children in need; parenting; mothers’ coping; prevention

Journal Article.  7080 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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