This article reports on research carried out on 200 child welfare files from the largest welfare authority in Northern Ireland from 1950-1968. The literature review provides a commentary on some of the major debates surrounding child welfare and protection social work from the perspective of its historical development. The report of the research which follows offers an insight into one core, and less well-known period of child welfare history in Northern Ireland between the two Children and Young Persons Acts (1950 & 1968). Using a method of discourse analysis influenced by Michel Foucault, a detailed description of the nature of practice is offered. This paper is offered as a work in progress, with further work being planned for dissemination of more detailed analysis of the method and outcomes. The research seeks to ask a few core questions based on problems identified in the present with our current understandings of child welfare and protection histories. While recognising the limitations of this study and the need for broader analysis of the wider context surrounding child welfare practice at the moment, it is argued that some salient conclusions can be drawn about continuity and discontinuity in practice which are of interest to practitioners and students of child welfare social work.
|Journal||Child Care in Practice|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|