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Independent Reviewing Officers' and social workers' perceptions of children's participation in Children in Care Reviews

Diaz, Clive ORCID:, Pert, Hayley and Thomas, Nigel Patrick 2019. Independent Reviewing Officers' and social workers' perceptions of children's participation in Children in Care Reviews. Journal of Children's Services 14 (3) , pp. 162-173. 10.1108/JCS-01-2019-0003

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Purpose – The research reported here forms part of a study of children’s participation in children in care reviews and decision making in one local authority in England. The purpose of this paper is to outline the views of 11 social workers and 8 Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) and explores their perceptions of children’s participation in reviews. The paper considers the barriers to young people participating meaningfully in decision making and how practice could be improved in this vital area so that children’s voices are more clearly heard and when possible acted upon by professionals. Design/methodology/approach – The data reported here derive from a qualitative cross-sectional study in one English local authority. The entire study involved interviewing children in care, IROs, social workers and senior managers about young people’s participation in their reviews. Findings from the interviews with young people and senior managers have been reported elsewhere (Diaz and Aylward, 2018; Diaz et al., 2018); this paper focusses on the interviews with social workers and IROs. Specifically, the authors were interested in gaining insight into their views about the following research questions: To what degree do children and young people meaningfully participate in reviews? What are the barriers to participation? What can be done to improve children and young people’s participation in reviews? Findings – During this process seven themes were identified, five of which concerned barriers to effective participation and two which concerned factors that appeared to support effective participation. These are summarised below and explained further in the following sections. Barriers to effective participation: social workers and IROs’ high caseloads and ensuing time pressures; high turnover of social workers and inexperienced staff; lack of understanding and training of professionals in participation; children and young people’s negative experiences of reviews and consequent reticence in taking part; and structure and process of the review not being child-centred. Factors which assist participation: quality of the relationship between the child and professionals; and the child or young person chairing their own review meeting.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1746-6660
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 September 2019
Date of Acceptance: 28 June 2019
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 03:00

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