Child Welfare in the Legal Setting: A Critical and Interpretive Perspective

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Overview

Explore legal issues that often hinder the work of child welfare practitioners!

Child Welfare in the Legal Setting: A Critical and Interpretive Perspective is a revolutionary study of the child welfare system that is essential for practitioners, educators, and students interested in public child welfare work. It examines the legal system surrounding child welfare workers and highlights their need for agency-specific training. This insightful book challenges the traditional rules of child welfare and paves the way for alternate methods of conceptualizing and organizing child protection. It explores why many family interventions fail and others never even occur. By identifying incongruities between the philosophy of child welfare and its function, this book advocates a more individualistic and efficient technique for assisting clients. Addressing issues and challenges from the initial identification of problems to navigating the legal system, this book is also thorough enough for public child welfare workers who want to take their skills to the next level.

The large-system perspective in this book uses the concentric circle model, the rational legal model of legal and court action, and the ritualized process model to examine child welfare practice. Learn why terms such as "child abuse" and "neglect" have become social constructions that vary depending on the values of social workers, judges, attorneys, agencies, and communities. Child Welfare in the Legal Setting: A Critical and Interpretive Perspective examines the standardization of the organizational activities of child welfare systems and how this limits professionals’ ability to accurately recognize unique problems and intervene in the most beneficial manner.

Child Welfare in the Legal Setting also provides controversial opinions on emerging issues including:

  • family investigations
  • sanction for Child Protective Services intervention
  • the legal setting as a host environment
  • the function of the child welfare system
  • rationalization of child welfare intervention
  • "trained incapacity" of social workers
  • Title IVE programs
  • the court system
Child Welfare in the Legal Setting: A Critical and Interpretive Perspective identifies vital issues by analyzing the ethical and moral foundations of the child welfare system. This insightful book also takes a close look at how practitioners inadvertently devalue their clients by using language that creates stigmatized social categories such as "victim" and "convicted felon." Supervisors, managers, social workers and child welfare practitioners will benefit from this information. The vignettes that supplement the narrative also make the book an important resource in any child welfare course.
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What People Are Saying

Linnea GlenMaye
ORIGINAL AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING. . . . . Challenging and hopeful. . . . Exposes the underlying processes that can damage and stigmatize families in the child welfare system. . . . Explores questions of critical importance to child welfare advocates. The author's recommendations are innovative, thought-provoking, and in opposition to traditional thinking. STUDENTS AND SOCIAL WORKERS WILL BE CHALLENGED TO THINK DEEPLY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF CHILD WELFARE AND THE ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN PROTECTIVE CHILDREN FROM ABUSE AND NEGLECT.
PhD, Associate Professor and Director, School of Social Work, Wichita State University
Michael L. Clark
Offers readers A META-CRITIQUE OF THE CHILD WELFARE PROFESSION as it appears to an experienced public child welfare professional at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The author agues for a complete restructuring of child welfare as we know it. His discussion of the respective 'world-views' of attorneys and social workers, and his description of juvenile court as one of the 'host settings' in which public child welfare social workers function will offer a creative framework for discussing the similarities and differences between the clinical and legal models of intervention. And his description of the legal process as a 'court work group' will provide social workers with a conceptual model for better understanding how judges, lawyers, and other legal professionals function in the courtroom.
JD, Lead Deputy County Counsel, Office of the County Counsel, Santa Clara County, California
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789001474
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

Chapter 1. Beginnings
Introduction
The Book: An Overview
Some Important Concepts or Assumptions
The Individual As Constructing Meaning
Abstract Systems
Social Institutions As Abstract Systems
The Social and Cultural World
Conclusion

SECTION I: SANCTION, AUTHORITY, AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM

Chapter 2. The Institutional Context of Child Welfare
Global Perspectives
Child Well-Being at Societal, Institutional, and Family Levels
International Perspectives on Protecting Children from Parents/Caretakers
Child Abuse and Neglect As Social Categories
The American Child Welfare System
The Organization of Child Welfare Programs
Conclusion

Chapter 3. Governance, Legitimacy, and Trust
Introduction
The American System: A Focus on Parental or Caretaker Behavior
Child Protective Services As Child Welfare
Child Welfare As an Industry
Prevention
American Child Welfare As Intervention into Family Life
Constitutional Rights
Conclusion

Chapter 4. Multiple Dimensions of Child Welfare Governance
Introduction
The Constitution and Fragmented Authority
The Federalist Structure
The Administrative Structure
Law and Policy by Appellate Decisions
Legislation by Oversight
Conclusion

Chapter 5. The Organizational Context of Practice
Introduction
The Community As a Context for Child Welfare
The Industrialization of Child Welfare
The Effects of Industrialization: Alienation, Trained Incapacity, and Case
Production
The Social Worker’s Role As Mediating Levels of Organization
Conclusion

Chapter 6. The Legal System As Host Setting: Context and History
Introduction
Practice in a Host Setting
Tensions: Social Workers in Court Settings
History of the Social Work Profession
Conclusion

Chapter 7. Images and Realities of the Legal System: Metaphor, Myths, and
Stereotypes
Introduction
Stereotypes: Their Nature and Action
Understanding Conflict Between Social Workers and Attorneys
Social Work in Public Child Welfare
Conclusion

SECTION II: COURTS, MODELS, AND RITUALS

Chapter 8. The Courts
Introduction
The Varieties of Courts
Child Welfare Courts: Nonvoluntary Interventions
Voluntary Child and Family Courts
Ancillary Courts and Legal Issues
Litigation: Social Work Liability, Forensic Responsibility, and Agency
Action
Administrative Reviews: Schools, Welfare, Social Services, Etc.
Conclusion: Courts As a Labyrinth

Chapter 9. The Concentric Systems View of Child Welfare
Introduction
Background or Theoretical Underpinnings
The Concentric Systems Model
Dynamics of the Model
Applying the Model
A System Overview Using the Concentric Systems Model
Summary

Chapter 10. The Rationalization of Child Welfare Intervention
Introduction
The Rational Model
The Court Personnel
The Social Service
Conclusion

Chapter 11. Life in Drama and Narrative: Meaning, Self, and Identity
Introduction
Behavior As Drama and Narrative
Child Welfare As Intervention in Social Dramas
Conclusion

Chapter 12. Social Intervention As Ritualized Action
Introduction
The Ritual Process Model
Conclusion

SECTION III: ETHICS, VALUES, AND CONCLUSIONS

Chapter 13. Ethics, Values, and Integrity
Introduction
Self-Determination and Paternalism
Informed Consent
Fiduciary Relationships
The Social Worker’s "Double Agentry"
Competing Institutional Loyalties Within Child Welfare
The Network of Forces Providing the Context of Child Welfare Practice
Conclusion

Chapter 14. Conclusion
Child Welfare as "Child Saving Twenty-First-Century Style"
The Production and Reproduction of Child Abuse and Neglect
The Industrialization of CPS: Turning Stones
The Practice of Social Work: Who Staffs Child Welfare?
Child Welfare As Practice in a "Host Setting"
Children’s Protection As Taking Place in an Institutional Environment
Criminalization
Summary
References
Index

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