Rebalanced and refocused social work practice?

David Hayes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The 1970s heralded the beginnings of a major shift in focus within child care social work in the United Kingdom, and the preventive, family support approach that had characterised practice since the 1940s was gradually, but decisively, replaced by a central concern with child abuse. This paper outlines the rise and dominance of child protection work in the United Kingdom before moving on to consider the legislative attempt, via the Children Act 1989 in England and Wales and the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, to address this situation. The “refocusing debate” of the 1990s is then discussed and consideration given to local research that has called the central premise underpinning this debate into question. The paper concludes by suggesting that social workers in Northern Ireland are still struggling to shift away from a preoccupation with the identification and management of risk and poses some questions regarding the future of social work with children and families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics
  • Community and Home Care


Dive into the research topics of 'Rebalanced and refocused social work practice?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this