This chapter focuses on working with mothers. Unlike evidence of work with fathers, which will be covered in Chapter 11, this is huge subject. Mothers, it can be said, are child protection. Throughout its history, there has always been one corollary to the aim of keeping children safe: improving how women mother their children. As Jonathan Scourfield (2003a) has shown, applied in an uncritical way, such instrumentality leads to mother blaming. This means women being expected to carry on with caring adequately for their children irrespective of the hardships they endure and how men treat them. Over the past 30 years, the women’s movement and feminist theory have critically analysed practice and clarified the components of what effective ethical work with mothers has to involve. This chapter considers how mothers can be worked with in ways that ensure their responsibilities to provide safety and adequate care for their children are met, while making notions of fairness and justice meaningful.
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