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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2015

Jill Manthorpe, Jo Moriarty and Michelle Cornes

The purpose of this paper is to consider the experiences of carers caring for an adult child, particularly as they affect the transition from midlife into older age. It…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the experiences of carers caring for an adult child, particularly as they affect the transition from midlife into older age. It explores aspects affecting the vast majority of carers, such as accessing information and services, but focuses on the specific concerns of those caring for a child with a life-long disability or a child who acquires a long-term health problem in adolescence or adulthood. In the context of the introduction of the Care Act (2014) in England, the paper highlights ways in which support for carers could be improved.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on interview data which consisted of 86 face-to-face interviews with purposefully selected participants based in four local authorities. At the end of the study in 2014 the authors held a series of five focus groups for practitioners and carers to explore how the emerging findings chimed with their experiences and to refine the study’s messages for practice. The data from interviews are set in the context of policy and practice developments in social care in England.

Findings

The paper draws attention to the need for practitioners to find ways of involving carers in decision making without compromising the rights to autonomy and choice on the part of the person cared for. Both those commissioning services and practitioners need to acknowledge that parent carers need assurances about the long-term viability and quality of the plans that are developed for the person they support.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is drawn on interviews with carers and practitioners in four areas of England; most of the carers interviewed were white British and female. The implications of planning research and conducting research with family carers are explored and their similarities with practice encounters identified.

Practical implications

The key practice point in this paper highlights the necessity of talking about the future with parent carers, making plans for possible and highly likely events, addressing mortality, and being aware of the potential for a deeply held sense of pessimism and unspoken distress among carers. Some participants seemed to feel that practitioners conveyed a sense that they were inadequate or unwilling to discuss these matters and practitioners who suspect this may apply to them or their team could usefully consider seeking skills development to improve their practice.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to consider practice perspectives in the context of the Care Act (2014) and personal budgets in England relating to parent carers.

Details

Working with Older People, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Lorna Peters, Amanda Derrick, Teresa Damen, Matthew Marsh and Richard Ovenden

The purpose of this paper is to describe the eAdmissions National Project and provide some insights into a selection of the forms of research which have been conducted to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the eAdmissions National Project and provide some insights into a selection of the forms of research which have been conducted to inform the Project effectively.

Design/methodology/approach

Four different kinds of studies are described as examples of different themes being pursued towards developing a better understanding of parents'/carers' needs and providing information and guidelines to help local authorities achieve their objectives in relation to online school admissions.

Findings

The paper finds that the success of the work undertaken by the National Project is reflected in the increasing numbers of local authorities (LAs) that have already, or are in the process of, offering an online school admissions facility, as well as in the take‐up of this service by parents/carers within some of these authorities. Research undertaken by the Project has been key to this success and is now being directed towards the important issue of effecting significant take‐up of the online service by all local authorities that have responsibility for education. The outcomes from this research work have been applied to spread good practice, share information with all LAs and inform marketing campaigns. The effects of this research are beginning to be evidenced in the growing take‐up of online admissions.

Research limitations/implications

While some of the research undertaken is specific to the requirements of the eAdmissions National Project, some of the approaches developed and data gathered may be applicable to projects of a similar nature where online services need to be made available to and taken up by particular sectors of the public.

Originality/value

This paper provides a source of information to interested parties on the aims and early achievements of the eAdmissions National Project. Further and more detailed information can be found at www.eadmissions.org

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 58 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 15 October 2019

Nicholas Thompson

Special guardianship order (SGO) assessments require social workers to make plans and recommendations for ongoing post-SGO contact between the child and the parents

Abstract

Purpose

Special guardianship order (SGO) assessments require social workers to make plans and recommendations for ongoing post-SGO contact between the child and the parents. However, there is very little policy to inform and guide practitioners on how these duties should be undertaken, and no studies that describe current practice. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the recommending of contact in special guardianship cases is currently working, by holding focus groups with social workers and special guardians. This paper reports on the results of a study to examine what contact plans social workers are recommending, the thinking behind their decisions and the views of the special guardians who have to make those plans work.

Design/methodology/approach

The research involved a mixed methods approach comprising of an online questionnaire, two focus groups for social workers and two focus groups for special guardians. This paper describes the second part of the study and reports on the qualitative results from the four focus groups. The methodology was based on a pragmatist theoretical position, and used an interpretivist approach and elements of the analytical procedure of grounded theory in order to generate inductive research. The focus group method was chosen as the best way to gather rich information on the opinions and ideas of practitioners who are recommending contact and the carers who are managing it.

Findings

Participants provided a wide range of views on the issues, with practitioners describing the challenges of planning contact, and special guardians explaining the problems they faced with the parents. Involving special guardians in the study gave a chance to include the different perspectives of the people who have to make the contact recommendations work, and contrast their views on contact planning with those of the professionals. The study makes recommendations for practice, which recognise the difficulty of preparing an initial contact plan that will remain relevant for years ahead.

Research limitations/implications

The number of focus groups the author held was limited by the author’s own personal resources and the time the author had available, and one group only had three social workers on the day. The author’s involvement affected the responses, and the author’s questions dictated the issues that were commented on, but the answers were the opinions that the participants wanted to express. The nature of the approach means that no two sets of focus group results would ever be the same. And as the direction of the discussions was largely dictated by the participants, the coverage of all aspects of contact was probably inconsistent.

Practical implications

This research sheds light on a crucial area of social work permanency planning, that has suffered from a lack of previous research, in order to better inform future practice. The paper reports on what contact plans social workers are recommending, the thinking behind their decisions and the views of the special guardians who have to make those plans work. It concludes with recommendations for improving future special guardianship policy and practice.

Social implications

The research clearly raises a number of specific difficulties faced by special guardians and problems with current policy and practice. These include the special guardians’ lack of understanding about contact, the difficulty for social workers of long-term planning, the challenge posed by uncooperative parents who behave badly, the view of carers for the need for a greater emphasis on the quality and reliability of contact, and the challenge to careful contact planning posed by the adversarial court process.

Originality/value

Special guardianship has had a major impact on permanency planning since its introduction 12 years ago. However, apart from one DfE study in 2014, very little research has been produced to inform policy and practice. There have been no studies specifically on contact in special guardianship cases, despite contact being one of the two major factors in determining the success of SGO placements. This study has provided the first in-depth evaluation of social worker contact planning in special guardianship, and the first investigation of special guardians’ views on contact.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2019

Philip Heslop, Su McAnelly, Jane Wilcockson, Yvonne Newbold, Maria Avantaggiato-Quinn and Cathryn Meredith

This paper reports research findings on the experiences of parents/carers of children with special education needs and disabilities who present violent and challenging…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reports research findings on the experiences of parents/carers of children with special education needs and disabilities who present violent and challenging behaviour. More specifically, the purpose of this paper is to explore how parents/carers report how their support needs are met by social care services.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is an empirical study which considers the challenging side of parenting children with additional needs. Data were gathered through a national online social media focus group and thematically analysed to identify emerging themes from an overlooked community. The study applied a participatory approach, with researchers and participants collaborating in designing and producing the research.

Findings

Participants reported a multitude of adversities and they experience difficulties in accessing support from professionals. The parents and carers expressed a continued desire to care for their children, often during much adversity and in receipt of little recognition or support from external agencies. An emerging theme was that they are often not assessed in their own right by agencies who focus on safeguarding.

Research limitations/implications

In this online participatory study, participants were self-selecting and the research relied on self-report during online discussions.

Originality/value

This study is original in applying an innovative research methodology using online focus groups with an under researched community. This online focus group generated real time data and offered participants the opportunity to share information in their own environments. The themes emerging from this research have implications for policy and practice for an under reported adult community who experience increasing vulnerabilities.

Details

The Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1466-8203

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Article
Publication date: 26 January 2010

G.G. Verma and E. Byrne

In the era of evolving National Health Service with its visions for the future planned, the concept of “informed patient” has never been so important. Effective…

Abstract

Purpose

In the era of evolving National Health Service with its visions for the future planned, the concept of “informed patient” has never been so important. Effective information provision is a prerequisite for partnership among child patients, their parents and health professionals. The purpose of this study is to determine the need for a Child and Family Information Centre outreach terminal in the waiting area of the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department for parents/carers who would like information about their child's medical condition.

Design/methodology/approach

This was a prospective study, which was conducted in a paediatric A&E department. It included 184 patients over six weeks' duration.

Findings

A total of 91 per cent of parents requested information. Young mothers were the group most interested in access to information. Most respondents in the A&E setting admitted that they would be unlikely to use a terminal in the A&E department but would complete enquiry forms to request postal information.

Originality/value

The offer of enquiry forms to the parents/carers at consultation would therefore be a viable option but it would probably be inappropriate utilisation of the resources to establish a terminal. Parents are happy to receive information if it is free and sent by post.

Details

Clinical Governance: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7274

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Article
Publication date: 10 February 2012

Hilary Brown

This paper seeks to reconcile society's need to apply strong sanctions to parents who are responsible for the murder of a disabled adult while also recognising the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to reconcile society's need to apply strong sanctions to parents who are responsible for the murder of a disabled adult while also recognising the stresses present in their lives.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews six cases in which seven disabled adults were killed by a parent in the UK between 1999 and 2009.

Findings

The review found that these were no ordinary crimes and nor were they motivated by malice, but occurred against a backdrop of significant mental illness and distress. In addition, two of the parents killed themselves as well as their adult child and another attempted suicide. The explanations offered in court to account for the murders included a combination of caregiver stress and mercy killing and the courts struggled to find a consistent approach.

Research limitations/implications

The review is limited to cases reported in the press and only considers information in the public domain. The portrayal of the issues in the media is integral to the study. The cases reported in this paper are a sub‐set of a larger sample of children and adults murdered by caregivers during this period.

Originality/value

The paper compares and contrasts some features of these high‐profile cases, commenting on the way they were addressed in the courts and making recommendations as to how the backdrop of significant mental ill‐health could be taken into account in the way families are offered support with a view to preventing further tragedies.

Details

The Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1466-8203

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Article
Publication date: 20 October 2010

Ann Edworthy and Hannah Donne

This paper explores the information available for carers of children with a brain injury. It is based on research for an MPhil degree and involved a questionnaire survey…

Abstract

This paper explores the information available for carers of children with a brain injury. It is based on research for an MPhil degree and involved a questionnaire survey of 120 people followed up by structured interviews with 102 of these.The paper looks in‐depth at existing literature and essentially finds that, although a little progress has been made, much remains to be done in terms of both the availability of the information and its intelligibility. Eight key areas are identified by the carers and only one of these (education) is found to be satisfactory by the participants. A further conclusion is reached that local support groups are the best method of providing appropriate and relevant information that is delivered in an empathetic and, therefore, very acceptable form.

Details

Social Care and Neurodisability, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-0919

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Article
Publication date: 2 December 2010

Siu Chan and Ying Heidi

Despite the rich literature on the effects of parental mental health problems on child development, the needs of children of mentally ill parents have been overlooked in…

Abstract

Despite the rich literature on the effects of parental mental health problems on child development, the needs of children of mentally ill parents have been overlooked in both research and services. This study investigated the needs of a neglected group, namely Chinese adolescent children of parents with schizophrenia, in order to gain insights into the design of programmes for these adolescents. In‐depth interviews were conducted individually with five Chinese adolescent girls whose mother or father was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Analysis of the interview data revealed four common themes: stigma and discrimination; mixed feelings of love and anger; the role of being a carer; and positive gains. The results shed light on the importance of taking cultural context into consideration when providing services for these children and further conducting research in this area. Although mental health problems are regarded as a taboo and associated with shame in Chinese culture, these children, out of a respect for their parents (‘filial piety’1), showed a strong sense of loyalty to their parents and suppressed their anger and sorrow for their parents' sake. Implications for social services for children whose parents have mental health problems and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2019

Nicholas Thompson

An integral feature of Special Guardianship Orders (SGO) is that the children should have some contact with their parents after the order is granted. Local authority…

Abstract

Purpose

An integral feature of Special Guardianship Orders (SGO) is that the children should have some contact with their parents after the order is granted. Local authority social workers have a duty to plan and recommend levels and types of contact. But there is no policy guidance provided on how to undertake these duties, and little is known about the process that practitioners undertake. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the recommending of contact in special guardianship cases, and to provide data on what contact social workers are recommending the factors they take into consideration and the reasons for their decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

The research involved a mixed-methods approach comprising of a questionnaire and focus groups. This part of the study comprised of an online questionnaire that was completed by 102 local authority social workers. Responses were downloaded into SPSS Statistics v22 for data analysis and a content analysis was conducted.

Findings

Quantitative results from the questionnaire are reported in this paper. Respondents provided comprehensive details on what they include in their recommendations, including levels of contact frequency and specific directions. Practitioners rated the factors they considered in reaching their decisions, and gave their general views on special guardianship contact. Results indicated that practitioners are recommending less contact for fathers than for mothers, and may feel less positively about paternal contact. Bivariate analysis suggests that some older and more experienced social workers are recommending lower levels of contact.

Research limitations/implications

The statistical significance of the results was limited by the relatively small sample size. It was therefore decided to limit bivariate analyses to consideration of just three independent variables: the social worker’s age and number of years in practice, and the age of the child at the time of their SGO, against dependent variables concerning the levels of contact that had been recommended for mothers and fathers and how positive these were considered to be. Because of the limited sample size, most of the results were above this level, and so were not statistically significant.

Practical implications

Special guardianship has been in place for 12 years now, but apart from Jim Wade’s 2014 study there has been no major research to guide and inform practice. Such major changes in child welfare require substantiating research, and this study is an attempt to begin filling that gap. The questionnaire part of this study has for the first time provided data on the views, motivations and practice of social workers across the country making recommendations on special guardianship contact.

Social implications

The study provides a picture of the type of contact being recommended for birth parents. This information will be useful for practitioners, who might otherwise not know what their colleagues in other local authorities are recommending, and it is hoped that this will encourage further debate on the subject.

Originality/value

Special guardianship has so far been poorly served by research. To the author’s knowledge, apart from Wade’s study there is very little research on the subject, and no significant research at all on special guardianship contact. This questionnaire, alongside the four focus groups that formed the second part of the study, provides the first picture of current practice across the country.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

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Article
Publication date: 5 March 2014

Anne-Marie Laslett, Robin Room and Paul Dietze

The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the diagnosis of both carers’ mental health problems and substance misuse increase the likelihood of recurrent child…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the diagnosis of both carers’ mental health problems and substance misuse increase the likelihood of recurrent child maltreatment over and above the individual effects of these factors.

Design/methodology/approach

Retrospective secondary data analysis of 29,455 children where child maltreatment was confirmed in the Victorian child protection system between 2001 and 2005. Recorded mental health, alcohol misuse and other drug misuse variables were entered into multivariate logistic regression models predicting repeated child maltreatment. Interactions and a range of other child, carer and socio-economic factors were included in these models.

Findings

Carer alcohol misuse, other drug misuse and mental ill health all independently predicted recurrent child maltreatment. The presence of both other drug misuse and mental ill health increased the likelihood that recurrent child abuse was recorded over the likelihood that mental health alone predicted recurrent child maltreatment, and while alcohol misuse had an effect when there was no mental health condition recorded it did not have an additional effect when there was evidence of mental health problems.

Research limitations/implications

Children in families where there is both mental health problems and other drug use problems are at greater risk of repeated maltreatment than where there is evidence of mental health problems or other drug use alone. Where there was evidence of carer mental health problems, alcohol misuse did not add to this likelihood. However, the effect of mental health and other drug use was similar in size to the effect of alcohol misuse alone.

Originality/value

These findings add to understandings of the effects of co-occurring mental health problems and substance misuse on recurrent child maltreatment and differentiate between cases that involve alcohol and other drug misuse.

Details

Advances in Dual Diagnosis, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-0972

Keywords

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