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Errors and Mistakes in Child ProtectionInternational Discourses, Approaches and Strategies$
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Kay Biesel, Judith Masson, Nigel Parton, and Tarja Pösö

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447350705

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447350705.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

England: attempting to learn from mistakes in an increasingly ‘risk averse’ professional context

England: attempting to learn from mistakes in an increasingly ‘risk averse’ professional context

(p.35) 3 England: attempting to learn from mistakes in an increasingly ‘risk averse’ professional context
Errors and Mistakes in Child Protection

Judith Masson

Nigel Parton

Policy Press

Concerns about professional and system errors and mistakes have dominated policy and practice debates and changes in England ever since the problem of child abuse was (re)discovered over forty years ago. The period has been punctuated by a series of high profile scandals usually where a child has died and where professionals have failed to intervene effectively. A major policy response has been the use of public enquiries and, more recently, ‘serious case reviews’ to investigate what has gone wrong with the aim of learning from the experiences to ensure that such a tragedy could be avoided in the future. The chapter considers the question of how far the changes introduced have had the effect of increasing learning and developing a system better able to identify and respond appropriately to the need for protection, or have primarily intensified the culture of blame and failure in which professionals are expected to operate. It suggests that while the changes introduced over the last 40 years have perhaps made for a safer system protecting children the system has become more ‘risk averse’ and reactive rather than being able to develop policies and practices which are able to develop longer term preventative strategies.

Keywords:   Public Inquiries into child deaths in England, Blaming social workers, Inspection and regulation of social work, Judicial failures, Interdisciplinary learning

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