Journal Article

Prior Criminality and Employment of Social Workers with Substantial Access to Children: A Decision Board Analysis

JOANNE M SMITH

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 29, issue 1, pages 49-68
Published in print February 1999 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 1999 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.bjsw.a011439
Prior Criminality and Employment of Social Workers with Substantial Access to Children: A Decision Board Analysis

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The central purpose of this research was to find the extent and circumstances of the influence which a criminal record has upon appointment as a social worker with substantial, unsupervised access to children. One would suppose that applicants with a conviction for indecently assaulting a child would never be appointed, but that those with other kinds of record would be appointed to the extent to which prior offences were relatively trivial, distant in time and involved property rather than people. The reality was much less clear-cut. The study may be seen as a way of depicting the pattern and process of current practice. It has clear implications for the refinement of guidance to achieve nationally desired ends of child protection.

This article will draw upon data gathered for a Ph.D., incorporating interviews with every social services department (SSD) in England and Wales. The study has yielded interesting findings relating to (inconsistency in decision making across SSDs. The findings from the first 64 interviews have been used for the article. Preliminary analysis suggests that the remaining interviews show similar patterns. The focus will be on possibly the most significant finding of the research: that six SSDs in a decision-making process relating to a number of fictitious candidates, revealed that they would have agreed to employ one of the candidates as a children and family social worker, despite knowledge of that candidate's conviction for indecently assaulting a child.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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