Upcoming internal seminar (27th February 2019): Professor Lauren Devine to present 'The Care Cases Crisis'
20th February 2019
Lauren is a Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She has fifteen years’ experience researching and writing about safeguarding systems with focus on the protection of vulnerable families involved in child protection and child in need processes. Her work combines legal analysis with statistical evaluation of the outcomes of safeguarding and child protection processes. She leads multi-disciplinary research teams working on projects to improve safeguarding policy and practice. Her work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Nuffield Foundation, and her book The Limits of State Power and Private Rights was published in 2017. Lauren is the Director of the Social Justice Research Group and Director of Solutions for Safeguarding CIC.
There is widespread concern in England about an increasing number of children involved in public family law proceedings, particularly care order proceedings. The implication is that child protection processes should result in a reduction in children needing State care. This paper explores interim findings from The Care Cases Crisis project funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The paper explains that contrary to public expectations, the current system will inevitably result in increases in children entering State care and puts forward the proposition that the situation is likely to worsen, not improve unless the inherent tensions between law, social policy and social work practice are resolved. The paper suggests that the complex, multi-stage child protection system derives from underlying theoretical legal principles of child rights which have resulted in an unnecessarily overburdened social care system. Drawing on findings from existing literature and new data analysis the paradigm is questioned and tentative suggestions for a new approach are offered.