Journal Article

Perfect Bedfellows: Why Early Intervention Can Play a Critical Role in Protecting Children—A Response to Featherstone <i>et al.</i> (2014) ‘A Marriage Made in Hell: Child Protection Meets Early Intervention’

Nick Axford and Vashti Berry

in British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 48, issue 1, pages 254-273
Published in print January 2018 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2017 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcx003
Perfect Bedfellows: Why Early Intervention Can Play a Critical Role in Protecting Children—A Response to Featherstone et al. (2014) ‘A Marriage Made in Hell: Child Protection Meets Early Intervention’

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Abstract

In their article ‘A marriage made in hell: Child protection meets early intervention’, Featherstone et al. (2014) question the value of early intervention in preventing or addressing early signs of child maltreatment. In this article, we summarise and critique their main contentions. Among the issues we cover are the difference between intervention and support, the tension between fidelity and flexibility, the relative value of randomised controlled trials, the evidence of ‘what works’, the use of neuroscience, the place of innovation and the role of wider socio-economic factors. We are sympathetic to many of the points raised by Featherstone et al. but argue that they misrepresent early intervention, provide insufficient empirical support for their case and ignore evidence that runs counter to their views. We outline an alternative vision for child protection that addresses many of the concerns expressed while incorporating high-quality evidence on early intervention.

Keywords: Child; early intervention; evidence-based; family; protection; support

Journal Article.  7550 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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