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Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 758-770; doi:10.3390/socsci3040758

Dealing with Risk in Child and Family Social Work: From an Anxious to a Reflexive Professional?

Department of Social Welfare Studies, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, Ghent 9000, Belgium
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Received: 26 August 2014 / Revised: 26 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 October 2014 / Published: 16 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection)
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Abstract

The rhetoric of risk has become a prominent issue in the field of child and family social work. As a consequence, an emerging politics of fear has re-oriented this field towards managing, controlling, and securing social work practice against risk, rather than responding meaningfully to the needs and concerns of children and families. In the available body of research, it is argued that this general tendency creates “anxious” professionals. As a response, different scholars refer to the need to “speak back to fear”. In this article, we analyze this claim in the context of a currently ongoing large-scale policy reform, named Integrated Youth Care (IYC), in the field of child welfare and protection in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium). The debate on dealing with risk is often limited to an organizational and methodological discussion. We assert that we should reorient this debate and make a plea for a radical approach of applying a welfare perspective in child welfare and protection. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk; youth care; child and family social work; child welfare; child protection risk; youth care; child and family social work; child welfare; child protection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vyvey, E.; Roose, R.; De Wilde, L.; Roets, G. Dealing with Risk in Child and Family Social Work: From an Anxious to a Reflexive Professional? Soc. Sci. 2014, 3, 758-770.

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