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Care for children in a risk averse context

Warch Ian Milligan as he talks about the challenges of working in an increasingly risk averse climate.

This talk is presented by a guest speaker, Dr Ian Milligan. Ian is the International Project Advisor with CELCIS, the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection, at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

In this talk we begin to consider the challenge of caring for children in a risk averse context. Ian outlines how as a society we have become increasingly risk averse, a theme touched on in previous weeks, and outlines how this has in turn translated to social work, social welfare and child care practice. Many different settings where vulnerable children and young people will be cared for find themselves impacted on by this and struggle to engage with children in a way that fully meets all of their needs. Ian uses some specific examples from residential child care and foster care to illustrate difficulties that can arise, all justified by required, or believed to be required, risk assessment procedures.

Ian argues that those caring for vulnerable children need to be able to be spontaneous and fun, and that the priority should not be about keeping the worker or the agency safe. Instead, the focus should be on helping children to develop risk competence, paying attention to their needs and rights, and helping them to grow and develop via the management of appropriate risks.

Ian finishes by observing that this issue of risk averse practice appears to be a particular issue in the UK but not in other countries where different traditions and philosophies of caring for vulnerable children exist.

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Caring for Vulnerable Children

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