Journal Article

Family Intervention Projects: A Site of Social Work Practice

Sadie Parr

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 7, pages 1256-1273
Published in print October 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Family Intervention Projects: A Site of Social Work Practice

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Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) provide intensive support to ‘problem families’ and are a core element of the Government's Respect Action Plan (2006). Drawing on recent research findings from an independent evaluation of the FIP ‘Signpost’, this paper aims to offer a new insight into our understanding of FIPs. The paper draws attention to two key points. First, the organizational context within which Signpost has emerged is one dominated by a social work ethos. It is suggest that the FIP has been implemented in a way which has provided social work professionals with an opportunity to engage in the kind of creative practice that proceduralization, bureaucracy and managerialism have made impossible to achieve in mainstream social work arenas. Following on from this, the paper emphasizes the limitations of evaluating anti-social behaviour policy effects without due consideration of the local policy and practice context within which policies are embedded. The paper is not intended to discount important critical reflections on FIPs, but seeks to illustrate the gaps that can open up between political rhetoric and policy effect, demonstrating why we should not be too quick to foreclose the possibilities afforded to vulnerable families by this type of intervention.

Keywords: Anti-social behaviour; ‘problem families’; family support; Family Intervention Projects

Journal Article.  6846 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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