Values and practice in child care.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 08:54 by Roger S. (Roger Shipley) Smith
This study seeks to promote an improved understanding of the relationship between policy and practice in child care. It addresses the general question of the relationship between values, or Ideologies, and practice in social welfare, identifying a number of critical concerns about the way this relationship is theorised and understood. Emerging from this consideration, it is suggested that a clearer understanding of this relationship in the context of child welfare would be helpful. In order to achieve this objective, the study develops and applies a methodological framework utilising the notion of "value positions", developed previously by Fox Harding (1982, 1991a; 1991b; 1991c); and rooted in the notion of "ideal types" conceived originally by Weber. The study applies this framework to a number of substantive areas. It is progressively applied to recent child care history, policy developments and political debates, practice outcomes, and agencies' approaches to child welfare. Each of these substantive elements of the study provide further illumination of significant child care issues in its own right; but, in addition, taken together, they provide a stronger foundation for the conclusions ultimately drawn. On this basis, the study is able to derive a number of conclusions, both about the effectiveness of the methodological approach undertaken, and about the substantive question of change and development in welfare provision for children. It is concluded that there is some value in applying a methodological framework based on key "value positions" in child care, despite its potential limitations. In relation to the substantive Issue of child welfare, it is argued that the need to negotiate the conflicting demands of differing perspectives, allied to the continuing resilience of a broad commitment to the needs of children, provide some grounds for cautious optimism about future developments.