European developments in professional practice with vulnerable children
Professional intervention to protect and promote the quality of children’s life is widely recognised as among the most multi-faceted and challenging professional tasks. This is directly related to the complexity of the situations in which social and health services are called into action, particularly when dealing with vulnerable and mistreated children. Practitioners have to deal with many different problems simultaneously – low quality of life, poverty, marginalisation, alienation from learning, poor and difficult relationships, perhaps to the point of violence and abuse. This multiplicity of issues explains why a multidisciplinary approach is usually required. In all countries several professional groups are involved, albeit with considerable
variations as to the type of practitioners and to the roles they are expected to perform. Hence, this chapter gives an overview of issues that concern practitioners in different professional positions from a western European perspective, with a particular emphasis on services for vulnerable children and their relationships with universal services for all children.