• Considerations in the use of local and national data for evaluating innovation in children’s social care

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; Preston, Oli; Godar, Rebecca; Lefevre, Michelle; Boddy, Janet; University of Sussex; University of Bedfordshire; Research in Practice (Emerald, 2021-05-06)
      Design/methodology/approach This paper examines the use of data routinely collected by local authorities as part of the evaluation of innovation. Issues entailed are discussed and illustrated through two case studies of evaluations conducted by the research team within the context of children’s social care in England. Purpose We explore the possibilities in using such national, statutory datasets for evaluating change and the challenges of understanding service patterns and outcomes in complex cases when only a limited view can be gained using existing data. Our discussion also explores how methodologies can adapt to evaluation in these circumstances. Findings The quantitative analysis of local authority data can play an important role in evaluating innovation but researchers will need to address challenges related to: selection of a suitable methodology; identifying appropriate comparator data; accessing data and assessing its quality; and sustaining and increasing the value of analytic work beyond the end of the research. Examples are provided of how the two case studies experienced and addressed these challenges. Originality/value The paper discusses some common issues experienced in quasi-experimental approaches to the quantitative evaluation of children’s services which have, until recently, been rarely used in the sector. There are important considerations which are of relevance to researchers, service leads in children’s social care, data and performance leads, and funders of innovation. Implications of the research for policy and practice * Quasi-experimental methods can be beneficial tools for understanding the impact of innovation in children’s services, but researchers should also consider the complexity of children’s social care and the use of mixed and appropriate methods. * Those funding innovative practice should consider the additional burden on those working with data and the related data infrastructure if wishing to document and analyse innovation in a robust way. * Data which may be assumed to be uniform may in fact not be when considered at a multi-area or national level, and further study of the data recording practice of social care professionals is required.
    • Contexts that discriminate: international perspectives on the education of Roma students

      Brüggemann, Christian; D'Arcy, Kate; Humboldt University; University of Bedfordshire (Routledge, 2016-07-10)
      Theoretical assumptions about educational disadvantages of minority students can be broadly distinguished between approaches assuming that inequality is triggered by characteristics of the minority students (their parents and communities) and approaches assuming that inequality is triggered by characteristics of institutional schooling and its surrounding dominant discourses (Diefenbach 2010 Diefenbach, H. 2010. Kinder und Jugendliche aus Migrantenfamilien im deutschen Bildungssystem: Erklärungen und empirische Befunde [Children and Youth from Migrant Families in the German Education System: Explanations Empirical Results]. 3rd ed. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. 10.1007/978-3-531-92186-0[CrossRef], 90). Several articles published in this journal have emphasised the latter approach and explored the complex dynamics of racial and ethnic discrimination in education (e.g. Araújo 2016 Araújo, M. 2016. “A Very ‘Prudent Integration’: White Flight, School Segregation and the Depoliticization of (Anti-)Racism.” Race Ethnicity and Education 19 (2): 300–323. doi:10.1080/13613324.2014.969225.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]; Beratan 2008 Beratan, G. D. 2008. “The Song Remains the Same: Transposition and the Disproportionate Representation of Minority Students in Special Education.” Race Ethnicity and Education 11 (4): 337–354. doi:10.1080/13613320802478820.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]; Gafford Muhammad 2009 Gafford Muhammad, C. 2009. “Mississippi Higher Education Desegregation and the Interest Convergence Principle: A Crt Analysis of the ‘Ayers Settlement’.” Race Ethnicity and Education 12 (3): 319–336. doi:10.1080/13613320903178279.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]; Gillies and Robinson 2012 Gillies, V., and Y. Robinson. 2012. “Including While Excluding: Race, Class and Behaviour Support Units.” Race Ethnicity and Education 15 (2): 157–174. doi:10.1080/13613324.2011.578126.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]; Hamilton, Bloomer, and Potter 2012 Hamilton, J., F. Bloomer, and M.Potter. 2012. “The Adequacy of Traveller Education in Northern Ireland.” Race Ethnicity and Education 15 (4): 501–524. doi:10.1080/13613324.2011.645574.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]; Johnson 2007 Johnson, E. 2007. “Schooling, Blackness and National Identity in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.” Race Ethnicity and Education 10 (1): 47–70. doi:10.1080/13613320601100377.[Taylor & Francis Online]; Kruss 2001 Kruss, G. 2001. “Towards Human Rights in South African Schools: An agenda for research and practice.” Race Ethnicity and Education 4 (1): 45–62. doi:10.1080/713693047.[Taylor & Francis Online], [CSA]; Webb 2015 Webb, A. 2015. “Indigenous Schooling Grants in Chile: The Impacts of an Integrationist Affirmative Action Policy Among Mapuche Pupils.” Race Ethnicity and Education 18 (3): 419–441. doi:10.1080/13613324.2014.918944.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]). This special issue follows this tradition by concentrating on the ways in which education systems and prevailing discourses disadvantage minority learners.
    • Contextual risk, individualised responses: an assessment of safeguarding responses to nine cases of peer-on-peer abuse

      Firmin, Carlene Emma (Wiley, 2017-02-21)
      Practitioners, academics and policymakers are increasingly questioning the sufficiency of safeguarding practice in protecting young people from peer-on-peer abuse in England. Using the findings from an in-depth analysis of nine cases where young people either raped or murdered their peers, this article explores approaches to assessing and intervening with those affected by peer-on-peer abuse. Building upon international calls for a contextual account of abuse between young people, the article identifies a professional struggle to address the interplay between young people’s homes and the public and social spaces in which peer-on-peer abuse often manifests. Findings from this study are used to illuminate wider research into peer-on-peer abuse which has indicated a professional inability to: assess young people’s behaviours with reference to the contexts in which they occur; change the environmental factors that influence abusive behaviours; and recognise the vulnerability of those who abuse their peers. The article concludes that to effectively respond to peer-on-peer abuse, multi-agency partnerships are required which can identify, assess and intervene with the norms in peer groups, schools and public spaces that can facilitate peer-on-peer abuse and undermine parental capacity to keep young people safe - thereby adopting a more contextual approach to safeguarding adolescents.
    • Contextual safeguarding and case management systems: emerging lessons from across the Contextual Safeguarding programme

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; Contextual Safeguarding Network; University of Bedfordshire (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2020-07-31)
      This briefing summarises emerging lessons for the designers and users of case management systems in children’s services with an interest in Contextual Safeguarding; all information shared in this briefing is taken from the Contextual Safeguarding research programme at the University of Bedfordshire.
    • Contextual safeguarding and child protection: rewriting the rules

      Firmin, Carlene Emma (Routledge, 2020-05-20)
      This book offers a complete account of Contextual Safeguarding theory, policy, and practice frameworks for the first time. It highlights the particular challenge of extra-familial routes through which young people experience significant harm, such as child sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, serious youth violence, domestic abuse in teenage relationships, bullying, gang-association, and radicalisation. Through analysing case reviews, observing professionals, and co-creating practices with them, Firmin provides a personal, philosophical, strategic, and practical account of the design, implementation and future of Contextual Safeguarding. Drawing together a wealth of practice examples, case studies, policy references, and practitioner insights for the first time, this book articulates a new safeguarding framework and provides a detailed account of its translation across an entire child protection system and its relevant component parts. It will be of interest to all scholars, students, and professionals working within social work, youth justice and youth work, policing and law enforcement, community safety, council services, forensic and clinical psychology, counselling, health, and education
    • Contextual safeguarding and county lines

      Wroe, Lauren; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-10-31)
      Children and young people who are trafficked to sell drugs are being subjected to a form of extrafamilial harm. Whilst there is no statutory definition of ‘child criminal exploitation’ (CCE), CCE and the trafficking of children to sell drugs on ‘county lines’ are named in Working Together 2018 (HM Government, 2018) as forms of child abuse and as such those affected are entitled to a child protection response. This briefing will: - Map the emergence of ‘county lines’ as a child welfare issue - Introduce the four domains of Contextual Safeguarding - Outline how a Contextual Safeguarding approach to assessment, planning, intervention and outcome measurement could offer an alternative response to young people who are affected by ‘county lines’ - Undertake all of the above from an ecological, child welfare and participatory perspective
    • Contextual safeguarding and policy development: key messages for multi-agency partners

      Firmin, Carlene; Latimer, Katie; Contextual Safeguarding Network; Hackney Contextual Safeguarding Team (Contexual Safeguarding Network, 2020-05-31)
      Contextual Safeguarding is an approach that supports practitioners to recognise and respond to the harm young people experience outside of the home.1 This policy development guidance forms part of a wider contextual safeguarding implementation toolkit and has been developed by The University of Bedfordshire with Hackney Children and Families Service. This toolkit has been designed to help children’s social care, and wider multi-agency partners, as they make changes required to systems, processes, policies and practices when implementing Contextual Safeguarding. To access the full toolkit, please click here. This briefing provides an introduction to policy development for a broad and general multi-agency audience. Further work has been undertaken to develop policy work in specific sectors; this can be accessed in the Systems and Structures section of the implementation toolkit.
    • Contextual safeguarding: a 2020 update on the operational, strategic and conceptual framework

      Firmin, Carlene; Lloyd, Jenny; Contextual Safeguarding Network; University of Bedfordshire (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2020-05-07)
      This briefing provides an overview of the design and use of the Contextual Safeguarding Framework from 2017 until 2020, and updates the first overview briefing published in 2017.
    • Contextual safeguarding: a new way of identifying need and risk

      Firmin, Carlene Emma (2019-03-25)
      Carlene Firmin reflects on the first four years of her approach to tackling extra-familial child abuse, and looks forward to more councils putting it into practice
    • Contextual safeguarding: an overview of the operational, strategic and conceptual framework.

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-11-30)
      Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over these contexts, and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships. Therefore children’s social care practitioners need to engage with individuals and sectors who do have influence over/within extrafamilial contexts, and recognise that assessment of, and intervention with, these spaces are a critical part of safeguarding practices. Contextual Safeguarding, therefore, expands the objectives of child protection systems in recognition that young people are vulnerable to abuse in a range of social contexts.
    • Contextualizing case reviews: a methodology for developing systemic safeguarding practices

      Firmin, Carlene Emma (Wiley, 2017-06-27)
      This paper introduces a systemic methodology for reviewing professional responses to abuse between young people. The approach, “contextual case reviewing,” draws upon constructivist structuralism to assess the extent to which safeguarding practices engage with the social and public contexts of abuse. The paper conceptually compares the methodologies of contextual case review and other serious case review methods before drawing upon findings from 2 studies, which used the contextual case review methodology to explore the extrafamilial nature of peer‐on‐peer abuse and the ability of child protection practices to engage with this dynamic. Thematic findings from these studies regarding the practical interpretation of “significant harm” and “capacity to safeguard,” as well as their use within child protection assessments, are used to challenge conclusions of other case reviews, which imply that child protection procedures are sufficient for safeguarding young people. Contextual case reviews suggest that safeguarding practices, and the legislation that underpins them, are culturally, procedurally, and organisationally wedded to the context of the home, whereas insufficiently engaged with extrafamilial contexts of significant harm. The application of these issues require interrogation if social work systems are to provide sufficient mechanisms for safeguarding young people and families at risk of significant harm. 
    • Could I do something like that? recruiting and training foster carers for teenagers “at risk” of or experiencing child sexual exploitation

      Shuker, Lucie; Pearce, Jenny J. (Wiley, 2019-07-30)
      Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a category of child abuse that was historically created to recognize the victimhood of children and young people, illuminating the ways that their evolving capacity to consent to sex is manipulated and undermined. Using evidence from the evaluation of specialist foster care provision and a CSE training course for foster carers, this paper considers how training might be used to widen the pool of potential foster carers for children affected by CSE and identifies qualities displayed by effective carers. It argues that improving the recruitment of foster carers can create safer home environments for teenagers at risk of or experiencing sexual exploitation and reduce the risk of further harm and that informed and effective foster care provision is crucial to prevent both the sexual exploitation of looked‐after teenagers and placement breakdowns that can ultimately increase risk.
    • Covid-19, county lines and the seriously “left behind”

      Pitts, John; University of Bedfordshire (JAI Press, 2020-09-25)
      Purpose: The purpose of this study is to suggest how the Covid-19 lockdown may affect illicit drug users and vulnerable children and young people who become involved in County lines drug dealing. Design/methodology/approach: This is an “opinion piece” based on data released by central and local government departments and voluntary sector sources concerning the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on illicit drug users and vulnerable children and young people. The data is augmented with information from recent discussions with police officers, youth workers and social workers in a London borough. Findings: It appears that the Covid-19 restrictions have had, and will continue to have, a deleterious impact upon both illicit drug users and the young people caught up in County lines drug distribution. Originality/value: The study’s originality lies in its attempt to use a range of sources to anticipate the consequences of the Covid-19 restrictions on illicit drug users and vulnerable children and young people.
    • Covid-19: changing fields of social work practice with children and young people

      Dillon, Joanne; Evans, Ffion; Wroe, Lauren; ; University of Sheffield; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Bedfordshire (Policy Press, 2021-02-12)
      Drawing on the theoretical work of Wacquant, Bourdieu and Foucault we interrogate how pandemic has weaponized child and family social work practices through reinvigorated mechanisms of discipline and surveillance. We explore how social workers are caught in the struggle between enforcement and relational welfare support. We consider how the illusio of social work obscures power dynamics impacting children, young people and families caught in child welfare systems; disproportionately affecting classed and racialised individuals.
    • Creating a safe space: ideas for the development of participatory group work to address sexual violence with young people

      Warrington, Camille; Our Voices Too; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05-31)
      Working in groups challenges the individualisation of problems and solutions. It ensures ‘public’ issues rooted in structural injustice and oppression are not solely considered as personal or solely private problems. In the context of sexual violence group work may have an important role for challenging individual narratives that foster self-blame and shame. Group work also has a role in approaches which seek to empower individuals – enabling collective action to create change and challenge injustice. Participatory practice, community development and rights based approaches often work with and through groups, seeking to shift relationships of power and enabling participants to take on leadership roles. Group work and peer support are also well recognised components of trauma informed practice with adults – responding to the recognised benefits of those affected by trauma of connecting with others impacted by similar experiences (SAMSHA, 2014). However, to our knowledge, it is less well developed practice with children and young people affected by trauma – particularly in the context of sexual violence (Brodie, 2017). There are good reasons for this – mostly rooted in concerns about exposing young people to additional risks through contact with other potentially traumatised young people. However it is our experience at the International Centre that there are ways of working in groups with young people affected by sexual violence that can be both safe and beneficial if appropriately planned and supported. For the last decade aspects of the International Centre’s research addressing sexual violence towards children have explored the role of group work with young people in participatory research practice and through learning about the contribution of group work in therapeutic or support work. This work has included both UK based projects (including ‘Be Healthy’; ‘One of the Gang’; ‘Making Justice Work’; ‘Learning from the Experts’ and the Young Researchers Advisory Panel) and a number of pieces of work with young people across Europe and beyond (including ‘Our Voices Too’, SVRI conference 2017, ‘LEAP’, ‘Our Voices’, ‘CATS conference 2013/14, Eurochild Conference). 1 For details of these projects see reference list 2 As above As part of the Our Voices Too project (funded by the Oak Foundation) we worked with three partners to develop group work based advocacy projects with young people affected by sexual violence. Our partners were: Different & Equal in Albania; the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) in Moldova and ATINA in Serbia . At the outset each partner had different levels of experience and confidence working in groups. As part of this project we were asked to support the partners by developing a four part toolkit for the group work4 . Given that many barriers to group work in this field centre around ‘risk and vulnerability’ of participants, the first part of the toolkit was about ‘creating safe spaces’. This focuses on supporting facilitators and participants to think about how they could undertake participatory group work addressing sexual violence safely. The document that follows is part one of the toolkit and it builds on work from the earlier LEAP project (Billinghurst, 2016) – part of the Our Voices programme of work. This attempts to capture our own, and partners, learning about promoting safety and managing risk when undertaking group work in this field. We consider it a working document and recognise that it will benefit from revision and refinement in the future. However, we are sharing this resource to both document elements of the Our Voices Too project and to support wider learning and feedback on this topic.
    • Creating dialogical pop-up installations in public spaces

      Simon, Gail; Kebbe, Lisen; Olsson, Ann-Margreth E.; Vedeler, Anne Hedvig Helmer (Everything is Connected Press, 2017-10-22)
      In this paper, we share reflections from our research into spontaneous coordinations through the creation of pop-up dialogical installations. We offer a collage of anecdotes from our professional practice, from our personal lives and from dialogical installations. These episodes highlight themes from our everyday practice and show us what we do and what we value, but through new doorways. From our work on the streets, we see how i) making something with, and for, people requires daring; ii) we are always involved in reconfiguring dialogical space as we go; iii) we exchange planning for preparation; iv) dialogue is always influenced by, and influencing of, context; v) collage in writing and mixed media allows us to experiment with new configurations of words, and share some mo(ve)ments from the installations.
    • Criminal gangs, male-dominated services and the women and girls who fall through the gaps

      Firmin, Carlene Emma (Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2016-01-01)
      This chapter reviews the literature on seeking and receiving help for black women, and the knowledge base on black women in the UK is very limited. African-American women have been also found to stay silent for longer about experiences of sexual violence because of internalised concepts of female strength. Beth Richie's concept of gender entrapment was used to map how violence against women may be reprioritised by the protecting, or overvaluing of black boys/men or through the systematic bodily devaluation of black girls/women. The contemporary construction of the strong black woman may enable some African-American women to cope with little support while simultaneously creating the illusion that the multiple social injustices they contend with can be overcome through individual psychological resolve. African-American woman are thus found to be less likely to seek help from mental health services in the aftermath of sexual violence, unless they are severely distressed.
    • Critical realism and gang violence

      Pitts, John (Springer, 2016-05-29)
      Although police officers, health, welfare and educational professionals, local residents and their children in gang-affected neighbourhoods are familiar with the effects of gangs and gang crime (Pitts 2008; Palmer 2009; Harding 2014), some academics remain sceptical (Brotherton and Barrios 2011; Hallsworth 2008, 2013). They argue that notwithstanding the stylistic differences between contemporary youth cultures and those of the past, the contemporary furore surrounding violent youth gangs is akin to the demonising discourses—the ‘moral panics’—which attended the Teddy boys in the 1950s, the mods and rockers in the 1960s, the punks in the 1970s, the lager louts in the 1980s and so on. They argue that these periodic expressions of popular outrage tell us more about the anxieties of an adult public, opinion formers and the media than the behaviour of young people (Hallsworth 2011), for example, claims that the problem of the ‘gang’ is not the gang itself but the media driven moral panic and ‘gang control industry’ that surrounds it.
    • Cross-border co-operation, institutionalization and political space across the English Channel

      Church, Andrew; Reid, Peter (Routledge, 1999-09-01)
      CHURCH A. and REID P. (1999) Cross-border co-operation, institutionalization and political space across the English Channel, Reg. Studies 33 , 643-655. Cross-border initiatives are based on flexible co-operative networks and have many of the characteristics which the institutionalist perspective argues are often present in regions that have developed effective institutional forms. Transfrontier programmes involving local authorities in northern France and southern England are examined. The paper explores the significance of cross-border strategies for the development and restructuring of the role of local governance in institutional arrangements and territories. It also considers the interaction between cross-border spaces, the transnational spatial planning regions promoted by the European Commission and the emerging regional politics of South East England. CHURCH A. and REID P. (1999) La coopération transfrontalière, l'institutionnalisation et l'espace politique outre Manche, Reg. Studies 33 , 643-655. Les initiatives transfrontalières sont fondées sur des réseaux de coopération souples et ont beaucoup des caractéristiques qui, du point de vue institutionnel, sont souvent présentes dans les régions qui ont développé des institutions efficaces. Des programmes transfrontaliers auxquels participent les autorités locales dans le nord de la France et dans le sud de l'Angleterre se voient examiner. Cet article étudie l'importance des stratégies trans frontalières quant au développement et à la restruct uration du rôle du gouvernement local dans les structures institutionnelles et les territoires. L'article aborde aussi l'interaction des espaces transfrontaliers, des zones d'étude et d'aménagement du territoire transnationales promues par la Commission européenne, et de la politique régionale naissante du sud-est de l'Angleterre. CHURCH A. und REID P. (1996) Grenzüberschreitende Kooperation, Institutionalisierung und politischer Raum jenseits des Ärmelkanals, Reg. Studies 33 , 643‐655. Grenzüberschreitende Initiativen stützen sich auf flexible kooperative Netzwerke, und weisen viele Eigenschaften auf, die sich vom Standpunkt der institutionellen Perspektive her gesehen oft in Gegenden befinden, die effektive institutionelle Formen entwickelt haben. Es werden grenzüberschreitende Programme überprüft, die Ortsverwaltungen in Nordfrankreich und Südengland einbeziehen Der Aufsatz untersucht die Bedeutung grenzüberschreitender Strategien für die Entwicklung und Umstrukturierung der Rolle der örtlichen Verwaltung in institutionellen Vereinbarungen und Staatsgebieten. Er berücksichtigt auch die Wechselwirkung zwischen grenzüberschreitenden Räumen, die übernationalen Raumplanungs regionen, die von der europäischen Kommission gefördert werden, und die aufkommende Regionalpolitik Südenglands.