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About this book

Racial, ethnic and religious diversity requires social workers to safeguard children and support families from many different minority backgrounds. This innovative book is based on an analysis of Serious Case Reviews (Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews) involving issues of race, ethnicity and faith.
The authors examine face-to-face social work practice with children, parents, their partners and other family members from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Throughout, they identify common mistakes in practice, and detail culturally competent responses to often challenging child protection situations. Students and practitioners are supported in the development of their own knowledge and skills through a series of reflective exercises and worked case examples.

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Abstract
This book is concerned with the increasing racial and ethnic diversity evident among families involved with child protection services due to the processes of globalisation and the movement of people across national borders escaping violence and deprivation. Based on applied research derived from an analysis of 30 Serious Case Reviews, it is designed to support social work practice with families from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds where children are considered to be at risk of significant harm. The book is aimed at social work students in the final year of their Bachelors or Masters degree programmes; newly qualified social workers during their first assessed and supported year in employment; and experienced child protection social workers who are intervening with ethnically and racially diverse families. As a study examining practice, which critically engages with theory and practice models, it will also be of interest to social work scholars and educators. While the exemplar case studies presented illustrate practice in the United Kingdom, much of the underpinning research and theory draws on an international literature. As the book addresses child protection practice with families from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, social workers, trainers and scholars in North America, Australia and many European countries will find a great deal that is relevant to their own contexts.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

2. White Privilege and Anglocentric Culture

Abstract
Practitioners need to achieve a degree of detachment from their own cultural background and gain insight into the nature of their beliefs, values and traditions and how these shape their worldviews and responses to others. The UK, like other Anglocentric nations such as the US and Australia, is not a culturally neutral society. Rather the demographically large and economically powerful White middle class is disproportionately influential in determining the overarching beliefs, values and conventions in these countries (Garner, 2007). These in turn become normalised and institutionalised to the point where, for those from the White majority, the day-to-day contexts in which they work and socialise appear neutral and unremarkable. To help social workers to develop reflective and reflexive capabilities in relation to race and culture, this chapter examines Whiteness as a racial identity and explores dominant strands of British culture in order to aid those primarily from the ethnic majority, but also from ethnic minorities, to identify and explore how their cultural heritage shapes their perceptions and assumptions. The implications for social work practice are examined through three case studies drawn from Serious Case Reviews involving British White families. These specific cases are exemplars of the impact of Anglocentric values in social work practices in relation to alcoholism, adolescent autonomy and sexual exploitation. They have multiple ramifications for work with ethnic minority families across a wide spectrum of child protection issues.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

3. Race, Ethnicity and Anti-Oppressive Practice

Abstract
There is much research evidence from the US, UK and Australia to demonstrate that discriminatory decision-making in the child protection system is resulting in a disproportionate number of families from Black and minority ethnic communities being subject to investigation and intervention (Tibury & Thoburn, 2009). Explaining this, Birchall & Hallett (1995) found that in the UK social workers assigned higher levels of risk of child abuse to African Caribbean families than White families in similar circumstances. Conversely, positive stereotypes of capable African Caribbean matriarchs resulted in misguided assumptions about strengths and consequently less intervention (Munro, 2008). In the US racism and discrimination alongside higher rates of poverty and residence in disadvantaged neighbourhoods among Black families have been identified as causal factors in the disproportionate numbers of Black and ethnic minority children in the American child protection system (Fluke et al., 2011). In Australia the disproportionate numbers of indigenous children and those from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds in the child protection system was linked to the colonial legacy; poverty; lower educational levels; social marginalisation; and racism (Tibury, 2008; Tibury & Thoburn, 2009)
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

4. Concepts and Models of Cultural Competence

Abstract
This chapter brings together a number of cultural competence models which can be used in social work, right through from initial meetings, to assessments and reviews and through ongoing intervention with children and families. It is acknowledged that social care and health professions are particularly well placed to draw upon tools which enhance their work with people from a range of diverse backgrounds. Cultural competence is said to affect the cognitive, emotional, behavioural and environmental dimensions of a person. ‘It is a complex know-act because it involves knowledge, skills, and know-how that, when combined properly, lead to a culturally safe, congruent, and effective action’ (Blanchet-Garneau & Pepin, 2014, p. 12). Reflective exercises in this chapter are focused on guiding practitioners to develop cultural awareness in relation to themselves and the organisations which employ them. A worked case example at the end of this chapter and each subsequent chapter will illustrate how different models of cultural competence can be used to improve practice with families from racial and ethnic minorities.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

5. Family Organisation and Childrearing

Abstract
Families are central institutions in society often providing care; inclusion; support; and cooperation with, and to, each other. Through socialisation and nurturing, children learn to recognise families as central to their growth, development and wellbeing. In this chapter a thorough examination of the concept of the family is undertaken alongside a more general discussion about different family forms across ethnic groups. The implications of patriarchy and gender roles on family functioning are explored alongside an overview of various inter-generational obligations and responsibilities. The strengths of different family arrangements is examined, together with forms of abuse linked to culture or faith. A worked case study at the end of the chapter applies culturally sensitive approaches underpinned by anti-oppressive practice principles.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

6. Practice with Ethnic Communities

Abstract
There is good evidence that child protection social work typically over-focuses on the mother–child dyad at the expense of partnership working with fathers and other significant kin in the child’s life (Laird et al., 2017). This narrowness of concern is even more pronounced set against the demise of community and patch social work, which means that practitioners often have little knowledge of the localities where families live (Pierson, 2011). Despite ‘family and environmental factors’ constituting one of the three dimensions of The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need, in practice typically relatively little time is devoted to exploring a ‘family’s social integration’ or ‘community resources’ (both sub-elements) beyond rather superficial enquiries about friends and a list of services (Laird et al., 2017). While the family’s finances are assessed, its socio-economic positioning and the impact of living in a disadvantaged community are often not (Parrott, 2013; Cummins, 2018). The ecological approach to assessing families which involves exploring and analysing their dynamics and functioning within the context of both the wider family and their community is largely absent from social work assessments (Laird et al., 2017;Morris et al., 2017). This is a particularly crucial oversight when families live in a disadvantaged area and have dynamic relationships with localised minority ethnic communities. Therefore this chapter examines the influence and significance of community in the lives of family members.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

7. Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Recent Migrants

Abstract
This book adopts a widely used definition of migrants as ‘those who enter the UK intending to stay for more than one year, “new” or “recent” migrants are those who have been in the UK for five years or less’ (Petch et al., 2015, p. 2). Generally the more recently individuals and families come to live or settle in the UK the fewer rights and entitlements they have compared to British citizens. This is also affected by whether the person is from an EU country or a non-EU country; whether they first came to live in Britain before or after Brexit; or is an asylum seeker; refugee; failed asylum seeker, or other undocumented migrant. The multitude of different immigration statuses, in conjunction with correlative rights and entitlements attaching to them, adds a further layer of complexity to working with recent migrants. As most immigrant statuses attract less rights to benefits and services than for British nationals, practitioners will often be working with families with limited entitlements to health, housing, education, employment and financial provision. Although children are normally entitled to free education, they are not entitled to free school meals. Deprivation caused by immigration rules together with the isolation of family units can contribute to very difficult circumstances for families, which in turn can contribute to child maltreatment. This chapter explores approaches to effective cross-cultural social work and examines the challenges for migrant families and for the practitioners who assist them.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

8. Children’s Health and Parental Care

Abstract
Health inequalities between the ethnic majority and minority communities in the UK have implications for the care and protection of children. Public Health England (2017), which collated and analysed national-level data, found that premature mortality rates were higher than average among males born in the Accession States to the EU, the majority of which are former Communist countries such as Poland and Romania. The difference in healthy life expectancy at birth (i.e. the length of time a person has good health) between the most deprived and least deprived areas of England is 20 years. As people from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to live in deprived areas, this means that on average they are disproportionately more likely to experience poor health earlier in their lives than their counterparts resident in affluent areas. Infant mortality is highest among families of Pakistani, Black African and Black Caribbean heritage, although rates among those of Bangladeshi and Indian background are similar to those among the White English majority. Notably, the infant mortality rate in the most deprived areas of England is twice that of the least deprived areas. While there are higher rates of smoking (a major cause of morbidity) in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived, religious affiliation is a significant determinant of the probability of being a smoker. Those stating that they had no religion were much more likely to smoke than those who had a religious faith. Those identifying as Jewish, Hindu and Sikh were much less likely to smoke than the English population average.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

9. Communication and Families from Ethnic Minorities

Abstract
Effective communication is foundational to social work practice. Sending and receiving information are complex processes involving interdependent cognitive, emotional and behavioural elements. Theories of communication provide insight into how people both formulate the information they want to impart and comprehend the information being sent to them by others. Interactions are complicated by the fact that people often convey unconscious messages about their feelings, attitudes and worldviews. As understanding what someone else means by their words and/or gestures requires some degree of interpretation, this adds another set of cognitive and affective processes. Cross-cultural encounters can pose additional communication challenges as people from different ethnic backgrounds frequently bring to bear different assumptions and perceptions regarding the social world. This chapter explores the complexity of cross-cultural communication with family members and its implications for safeguarding children, while suggesting strategies for improving practice.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam

10. Culturally Competent Risk Assessment

Abstract
Previous chapters have examined key dimensions of culture and the nature of ethnic identity. They have also explored the diversity of family forms and considered both the support and pressures that kin can exert upon parents and children. Various conceptions of childhood and approaches to childrearing were explored, alongside discussion as to whether such practices are different rather than detrimental. Black and ethnic minority families and those of mixed heritage clearly face additional challenges bringing up children because of racism and discrimination.
Siobhan Laird, Prospera Tedam
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