Journal Article

What Are Child-Care Social Workers Doing in Relation to Infant Mental Health? An Exploration of Professional Ideologies and Practice Preferences within an Inter-Agency Context

Johanna Woodcock Ross, Lucy Hooper, Elizabeth Stenhouse and Rod Sheaff

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 6, pages 1008-1025
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcn029
What Are Child-Care Social Workers Doing in Relation to Infant Mental Health? An Exploration of Professional Ideologies and Practice Preferences within an Inter-Agency Context

Show Summary Details

Preview

Summary

Infancy is a crucial time for interventions to reduce later developmental difficulties. In England, recent policy has required children's service delivery to be redesigned to attend to infant mental health across all four tiers of NHS provision through inter-agency networks of child-care professionals. The policy identifies child-care social workers as primary care professionals, able to recognize early infant mental health problems, promote mental health and prevent deterioration. Our paper explores whether, as a profession, English child-care social workers are well prepared in terms of their knowledge, ideological beliefs and professional acculturation to implement such changes to their practice. Empirical information is provided from a funded, independent evaluation of the implementation of the NSF policy at a local level. Data from professional focus group interviews describe and compare the differing professional ideologies and professional practice preferences within the infant mental health network of an English NHS Primary Care Trust in an urban local authority. The findings identified obstacles that were personal–ideological, cultural and structural in nature. Progress towards achieving the NSF policy standards appeared slight.

Keywords: Infant; mental health; social work; child; inter-professional working

Journal Article.  6467 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.