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Implementing the contextual safeguarding approach: a study in one local authority

Wilson, Nathaniel, Diaz, Clive ORCID: and Usubillaga, Juan ORCID: 2022. Implementing the contextual safeguarding approach: a study in one local authority. Journal of Children's Services 17 (3) , pp. 221-236. 10.1108/JCS-10-2021-0043

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Purpose This study aims to explore how local authority child and family practitioners understood and implement the contextual safeguarding approach focusing, in particular, on what practitioners felt supported and hindered implementation. Design/methodology/approach This qualitative study drew upon semi-structured interviews and focus groups to explore the perspectives of 18 frontline workers, team managers and senior managers in a London authority. The transcribed accounts were analysed using thematic analysis. Findings Participants reported that the strain on services because of sustained budget cuts was overwhelming, even without the additional challenge of implementing this new approach. Further challenges in relation to implementation included parental-capacity focused legislation and conflicting perspectives between stakeholders. This study recommends that proper funding must be committed to safeguarding partnerships if contextual safeguarding is to be successfully implemented. Additionally, child protection practitioners should aim to develop a collaborative and child-welfare focused network of community agencies and organisations if young people are to be safeguarded in their communities. Research limitations/implications As the sample required specialist knowledge to participate in this study, this study cannot claim that the findings are generalisable to all social workers. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first external evaluation of the implementation of the contextual safeguarding approach in a local authority independent of the contextual safeguarding team at the University of Bedfordshire since the evaluation of Hackney.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1746-6660
Funders: Health and Care Research Wales
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 17 June 2022
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 22:02

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