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Hear our voice : social care workers' views of effective relationship-based practice

In a context dominated by media reports of the historical institutional abuse of children and young people in residential homes by those adults charged with their care, and where the voice of residential childcare workers is largely silent, this study explores residential care workers views and experiences of effective relationship-based practice. This focus coincides with the resurgence of interest in relationship-based practice and the purpose of the study is to ascertain, from the perspective of residential childcare workers, whether this has translated into practice. Using an exploratory, qualitative approach and informed by Appreciative Inquiry (Al), in-depth, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 26 residential care workers in the Republic of Ireland to elicit their views and perspectives. The findings highlight that relationship-based practice has not been fully embraced in practice. In attempting to understand why this is the case, the study uses concepts from the sociology of fear to argue that residential childcare practice has been shaped and constrained by a culture of fear that permeates the child welfare system. The effects of this are amplified given the current low status of residential care workers, the impact of media reports and the influence of current discourses around professional practice in which objective and emotionally detached practice is viewed as synonymous with efficiency and effectiveness. The study argues that placing the perspectives of residential childcare workers into the public domain is an important way of contributing to debates and further enhancing an environment conducive to relationship-based practice. It is hoped that this study represents a step in that direction.
Date January 2017
CreatorsBrown, Teresa
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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