Journal Article

Recent Policy Initiatives in Early Childhood and the Challenges for the Social Work Profession

Karen Winter

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 7, pages 1235-1255
Published in print October 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcn051
Recent Policy Initiatives in Early Childhood and the Challenges for the Social Work Profession

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Summary

The Labour Government in the UK has announced, as part of its launch of The Children's Plan, that it ‘wants to make this country the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up’ in. This latest Plan is further evidence of the surge of interest that there has been in children (and, in particular, early childhood) over the last ten years in the UK and indeed elsewhere. Many of the recent policy and practice initiatives have implications for social workers working with young children. Yet, social work as a profession, in comparison with education, has remained relatively silent on these initiatives and it is hard to find any critical analysis of these developments in terms of either their underlying discourses or their implications for social workers. This article sets out to address these gaps by providing a critical analysis of: what types of knowledge regarding the early years have gained political currency; why and how this is the case; and what the implications are for the role and practices of social workers. The article proposes that discourses of ‘need’ and ‘provision’ mask more powerful discourses of economics, social control and risk avoidance, and it concludes by advocating more critically reflexive social work practice with young children and their families.

Keywords: Early years; young children; reflexivity; social work profession

Journal Article.  8373 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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