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Reconsidering Family And Group Care: Contributing To The Care Review Also Being A Cultural Review

Reconsidering family and group care: contributing to the Care Review also being a Cultural review

In rethinking Residential Child Care there is the need to recover important conceptual thinking. The NCERCC paper Reconsidering family and group care makes a start. The Care Review must also start from establishing a Cultural Review.

“The purpose of undertaking the cultural review is for the practitioner to alert themselves to areas where their own assumptions, prejudices or simply lack of knowledge might have a bearing on their response to a family and, ultimately, on the approach taken to working with them. Similarly, issues that a worker may be carrying in their head, such as agency norms and awareness, will also have an impact; as will the families’ likely assumptions about the worker and the agency.” (Dalziel and Sawyer (2008) Putting analysis into assessment).

A Cultural Review requires question such as (perhaps important for a Care Review): What do I know about children and families with this particular background or life experience? Where does my knowledge come from? What prejudices may I hold (positive or negative)? What norms and practices do I take with me? What do I know/expect about children of this age, their lives and needs? What do I know of children with high level needs? What experience have of this group? How might they and their carers perceive me? As someone who cannot recognise their needs? Is my perspective and action experienced as not being about them? What impact might this assessment have on the child and carers lives? How much weight do I give to knowing it can have a great effect if I cannot get the matching of needs to services/placements right?

Residential Child Care has always been a contested area. It has to struggle for its own space in which to work and think.

In this past period we have been increasingly swift in implementing initiatives but insufficiently reflective and not prepared for implications or unintended consequences

We have not been overtly developing child care theory and practice. We have taken forwards services using imported foundations without considering consequences.

There is the need to recover important conceptual thinking.


Jonathan Stanley