Title
From parental engagement to the engagement of social work services : discussing reductionist and democratic forms of partnership with families
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Law
Publication type
article
Publication
Oxford ,
Subject
Law
Source (journal)
Child and family social work. - Oxford
Volume/pages
18(2013) , p. 449-457
ISSN
1356-7500
1365-2206
ISI
000323898500007
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Social work has moved from a child protection discourse towards a child welfare discourse that views the relationship between social workers and families as a partnership. Partnership with families in the field of child protection and child welfare, however, mirrors diverse ideological motives of social policy, civil society and practice. We engage in a theoretical discussion of different interpretations of partnership. We draw a primary distinction between reductionist and democratic forms of partnership with families. In a reductionist approach, social workers activate parents in order to realize the goals set by social work. A democratic approach to partnership refers to a shared responsibility between social workers, parents and children. In this approach, effective partnership is not something to be realized as an outcome, but a point of departure that implies a joint search for meaning and an experiment with which social workers engage. This engagement presents non-participation not as problematic but as an essential element of participation. The focus then shifts from a methodical approach to partnership how to activate people to participate in the care process to the question of how the engagement of social workers can be constructed together with families.
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