“Isn’t it funny the children that are further away we don’t think about as much?”: Using GPS to explore the Mobilities and Geographies of Social Work and Child Protection Practice

Disney, Tom, Warwick, Lisa, Ferguson, Harry, Leigh, Jadwiga, Cooner, Tarsem, Beddoe, Liz, Jones, Phil and Osborne, Tess (2019) “Isn’t it funny the children that are further away we don’t think about as much?”: Using GPS to explore the Mobilities and Geographies of Social Work and Child Protection Practice. Children and Youth Services Review, 100. pp. 39-49. ISSN 0190-7409

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.02.029

Abstract

Social work is an inherently mobile and spatial profession; child protection social workers travel to meet families in diverse contexts, such as families' homes, schools, court and many more. However, rising bureaucracy, managerialism and workloads are all combining to push social workers to complete increasing volumes of work outside their working hours (Broadhurst et al., 2009, 2010; Unison, 2017). Such concerns lead to the perception that social workers are increasingly immobilised, finding themselves desk-bound and required to spend much of their working day navigating time-consuming computer systems. This immobilisation of social workers has considerable implications, restricting professionals' abilities to undertake the face-to-face work required to build relationships with families. However, until now, the actual movements of social workers, and how (lack of) movement affects ability to practice, remain unknown. In this paper we report on innovative research methods using GPS [Global Positioning System] devices that can trace social workers' mobilities and explore the use of office space, home working and visits to families in two English social work departments. This article presents unique findings that reveal how mobile working is shaping social care practitioner wellbeing and practice.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L500 Social Work
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 12:26
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 15:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/38063

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