European siblings in care : comparative policy and practice in Denmark and Britain

Ellison, Marion (1999) European siblings in care : comparative policy and practice in Denmark and Britain. Doctoral thesis, University of Northumbria.

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Abstract

This thesis explores, compares and analyses child care law; policy and practice of looked-after siblings within two urban conurbations in Denmark and Britain. The thesis advanced here is that sibling continuity planning depends upon the impact of strategies of prevention and protection on the timing, mode, and purpose of intervention and the way in which differences in service provision allow planning for sibling continuity to emerge as a process
rather than a series of events.
The argument presented is that practice impacts on sibling continuity planning for looked-after children are contingent in both localities upon an intricate interplay between resourcing, the form which legal intervention takes, rights based and needs based policy approaches and
the use of 'agreement' as an alternative to compulsory placement.
At a national level, similarities emerge in the form of underlying principles of partnership and inclusivity in care planning, the maintenance of natural bonds, the belief that children are best looked after within the family without resort to legal proceedingsa nd the recognition that care planning is a process rather than a series of events. Under examination, these principles are translated in policy at local level, but manifest very distinct practice impacts within the respective urban conurbations.
In the Danish locality, the purpose of such planning emerges as being integral to distinct practice theories and political, social and economic interventions in the family by the state where sibling continuity planning for looked-after siblings is formulated through the use of specialist placements and therapeutic provision. In the British locality, there is a distinct lack of theoretical application within social work practice in relation to sibling continuity planning. Such a pragmatic approach to sibling continuity is embedded in the reality of constraints created by a service-led provision characterised by a very narrow and limited range of placements.
Within these two key areas factors such as the availability of specialised placements, definitions of continuity and a pro-active commitment to the maintenance and continuity of
sibling relationships interact to define the decision-making process. The findings in the thesis suggest that whilst the decision-making process formed the central axiom of care planning for sibling groups, such planning was contingent upon other key factors. These factors include the definition of continuity, a pro-active commitment to the maintenance and continuity of the sibling relationship and most significantly, the availability of specialised
placements able to take sibling groups. All of these factors reside in clearly distinct legal and practice models, which were defined most distinctly by their differential commitments to preventative and family support approaches.
The most distinctive feature of care planning which emerges in Denmark in contrast to Britain is the integral part which parents and children play in planning for sibling continuity. Legally sanctioned by a series of children's and parental rights the model of care planning in
Denmark strives to be 'inclusive'. Translating notions of re-unification and espousing the integrity of the family involves supporting the family while the child is in care.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by the British Library e-thesis online service, EThOS.
Subjects: L500 Social Work
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 15:24
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2019 16:06
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/15725

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