This chapter develops the exploration begun in Chapter 4 of the dynamics of the home and what happens when professionals step into it and service users’ lives. It takes the analysis further by going even more deeply into the child’s home — into the most intimate corners of their existence — and considers how social workers experience making difficult requests to see children, the home and how they deal with what they find there. The above quote from George Orwell was written in the 1930s as part of his famous visits to the northern English town of Wigan to discover how the poor actually lived. While poverty is often a factor in child abuse cases, in inspecting spaces such as people’s bedrooms, social workers are looking for other things relating to the quality of care provided for the child. But Orwell’s point equally applies: intimate spaces like bedrooms can reveal surprising things that otherwise remain hidden. As the historical case examples featured in Chapter 1 showed, moving around the home and checking on bedrooms and other intimate spaces was once regarded as best practice. As was suggested in Chapter 2, in recent years, attention to this element of child protection has fallen into decline and rarely features in policy or accounts of practice. This is despite the need for it having been starkly revealed in cases where children have died or been seriously harmed.
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- Bedrooms, kitchens and more intimate spaces
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