Social policy "is based upon a distinct empirical focus- the support and well-being through social action." (Alcock et al 1998). It draws upon the methods and understandings involved in many social science disciplines e.g. sociology, economics and politics and is founded in many areas of society e.g. child welfare. This example focuses on children who are in need of care and /or protection for many different reasons. It incorporates many entities, for example education, health and child protection and is an extremely important area considering that 23% of the U.K. is children. (Alcock et al 1998). It is obvious therefore that children are the main consumers of social policy. This assignment will explore the area of child protection; identify the major issues facing European countries whilst taking into consideration factors such as power, oppression and cultural, institutional and ideological influences.
[...] On the other hand, over more recent years the change in view at institutional and cultural levels has required the U.K.'s policies to become more flexible and supportive to families and parents without primarily focusing on child protection registers and casting immediate blame etc. According to Armstrong, H and Hollows, A. (1991) other cultural factors are also involved in determining policy responses. Firstly they state that culturally and socially a society needs to acknowledge that child abuse exists before their policies can be changed, redefined or updated in order to protect children. [...]
[...] When identifying the key issues within child protection it is important to grapple with the concept of 'balance'. This is a main concern for all countries who find themselves victims of either jumping in too quickly with over zealous assumptions, or on the other hand holding off too long and in the end delaying intervention until in some cases it is too late. Ultimately this concept, which leads on to the third key issue of this topic, depends on how the society views relationships between the state, family and child. [...]
[...] Firstly in France the Children's Judge's decisions have much less radical consequences than those in the U.K. and secondly the complex legalities of the British system makes it very hard for some individuals e.g. parents to exercise their rights fully. Lawyers and solicitors are also not involved within the French legal process, which also eases tensions within the social worker and family relationship and also encourages co-operation of the family. The opposite can be said of the U.K.'s legal processes, which tend to encourage conflict. [...]
[...] The above discussions effectively show this were the basic differences of the two countries are inherent in the assumptions, aims, objectives and even the culture of the child protection system and its workers. Overall, "intervention in the two countries occurs at different points in the evolution of family difficulties, has different objectives, is framed by different legal powers and possibilities, and typically leads to different outcomes." (Cooper, A. 1994). info Bibliography Adams, R. (2002) Social Policy for Social Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave. [...]
[...] the Children's Act 1989 aimed to introduce key changes for practice by focusing on principles such as paramountcy of the child, partnership and parental responsibility as well as attending to issues of balance in terms of public and private law, child protection and family support and the rights of the family against the rights of the child. This has lead to increasing pressures on social workers who have to prove that they have been empowering, anti oppressive and supportive to those involved in their cases. [...]
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