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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

The role of observation in the assessment of child neglect.

Author: Tanner,-Karen; Turney,-Danielle
Author Background: U London, Goldsmiths Coll, London, England
Date Sep-Oct., 2000
Type Journal
Journal Title: Child-Abuse-Review
Volume/Pages Vol 9(5): 337-348
Subject Matter CPS, England, Behavioral Assessment; Child Neglect; Social Casework
Abstract This paper focuses on physical and emotional neglect from a social work perspective. Neglect is the highest category of registration on Child Protection Registers in England, and is therefore a significant preoccupation for social work. However, historically, social workers have found child neglect a difficult area of practice. In this paper, the authors suggest that neglect is best understood as an absence of care, that is, a breakdown in the relationship between the primary carer and child which results in difficulties in offering reliable and adequate care. One focus of assessment in cases child neglect, therefore, needs to be on ascertaining the nature and degree of relationship failure. The authors set out a framework to inform such assessments which critically examines the relationship between primary carer and children. The authors note that discussion of neglect often involves criticism of women/mothers, and seek to develop an approach to child neglect which challenges stereotypical ideas about gender and caring, ideas which can lead to inappropriate intervention and to mother-blaming. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)