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Preview: British Journal of Social Work - Advance Access

The British Journal of Social Work Advance Access

Published: Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2017 01:51:32 GMT


Diversity, Ambiguity and Fragility: The Experiences of Post-Adoption Sibling Relationships


This paper explores findings from an exploratory study on the significant aspects of sibling relationships post adoption reunion. The qualitative data were drawn from in-depth interviews with thirty-three adopted people who had met birth siblings in adult life. The complex pathways of adopted people towards reunion are outlined. The findings demonstrate that, although most participants had maintained contact with the birth siblings they had met in adult life, these relationships were also fragile and ambiguous in nature. Important insights are gained from participants who made recommendations in relation to post-reunion social work support.

Supporting Implementation of Innovative Social Work Practice: What Factors Really Matter?


Achieving client outcomes is understood as a complex, dynamic interplay of elements including the client, worker/s, programme setting and practice approach. How an organisation supports or constrains implementation of innovative social work practice is worthy of research attention. The emergence of frameworks for translating evidence-based practice into health and mental health settings reflects increasing interest in implementation. However, there are few studies of the implementation of evidence-informed social work practice, including innovations developed by service providers. This is concerning, as poor implementation will impede the chances of desired client outcomes being realised. The study that was the focus of this paper looked at the influence of organisational context in the implementation of a new therapeutic social work programme for child protection clients. Using a qualitative approach, the intent of programme designers was compared to the experiences of front line workers in order to identify commonality, contradictions and gaps. The research was informed by structuration theory whereby the experience of workers was understood to influence and be influenced by the implementation process. Thirty-six factors were identified as influential on practice implementation, with five factors emerging as key drivers. A tentative conceptual map of evidence-informed implementation is proposed as a method of supporting new child and family social work.

Youth Initiated Mentors: Do They Offer an Alternative for Out-of-Home Placement in Youth Care?


The present study evaluates the Youth Initiated Mentoring (YIM) approach in which families and youth care professionals collaborate with an informal mentor, who is someone adolescents (aged twelve to twenty-three) nominate from their own social network. The informal mentor can be a relative, neighbour or friend, who is a confidant and spokesman for the youth and a co-operation partner for parents and professionals. This approach fits with the international tendency in social work to make use of the strengths of families’ social networks and to stimulate client participation. The current study examined through case-file analysis of 200 adolescents (YIM group n = 96, residential comparison group n = 104) whether the YIM approach would be a promising alternative for out-of-home placement of youth with complex needs. A total of 83 per cent of the juveniles in the YIM group were able to nominate a mentor after an average of thirty-three days. Ninety per cent of the adolescents in the YIM group received ambulatory treatment as an alternative for indicated out-of-home-placement, while their problems were largely comparable with those of juveniles in Dutch semi-secure residential care. Results suggest that the involvement of important non-parental adults may help to prevent out-of-home placement of adolescents with complex needs.

Child Welfare as Justice: Why Are We Not Effectively Addressing Inequalities?


This theoretical paper addresses fundamental questions raised by a four-nation comparison of child welfare interventions in the UK, the Child Welfare Inequalities Project, which has highlighted differences between and within countries. The project analysed administrative data to examine the relationship between deprivation and state intervention. This project builds on research by Coventry University which established both a social gradient in child welfare interventions and an inverse intervention effect similar to the inverse health law (better health care in more affluent areas). These empirical findings raise the question of, but do not fully answer, whether such inequalities in child welfare interventions should be addressed. In order to consider this complex question, this article aims to explore theoretical ideas from other disciplines to provide important perspectives on such inequalities. These perspectives include ideas from political theory, psychology and moral philosophy. They suggest that child welfare should be: structured in a fairer way (based on Rawls’s work on justice); that people think society is more equitable than it is and would prefer it to be more equally distributed (based on Norton and Ariely’s work on attitudes to inequality); and that it is ethically irrational not to address this (based on Singer’s work on moral distance).

Blinded by Science: The Social Implications of Epigenetics and Neuroscience, David Wastell and Susan White


Blinded by Science: The Social Implications of Epigenetics and Neuroscience, WastellDavid and WhiteSusan, London, Policy Press, 2017, pp. 304, ISBN 978–1447322344 £26.99 (p/b)