chapter  13
Putting child and family support and protection into practice
ByBarbara Hearn
Pages 19

This chapter is written in the light of experience and is particularly informed by research and development programmes. Most managers and professionals would support the view that working in the child abuse field is stressful, exposes staff to insensitive and unhelpful vilification and is the area most likely to cause their downfall if a child known to them dies. Most would support the position presented in Messages from Research (Dartington Social Research Unit, 1995), that for the few children where the risk of future significant harm is so severe that they require state intervention that practice has improved over the previous decade. This chapter offers some frameworks for considering how practice might evolve to meet the needs of children who are put through the child protection system when the harm that they may be at risk of experiencing is born of need rather than abuse, in the context of their families and communities. It offers a view on the inevitable inter-relationship between protective and supportive services, and illustrations from the field. It begins by considering what is the motivation for changing practice.