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‘Our young people are worse’: family backgrounds, educational progression and placement options in public care systems
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 12:59 authored by Claire Cameron
Introducing continental European approaches to UK child welfare practice raises a problem of comparison: to what extent are the problems and issues similar to or different from one country compared to another. Social pedagogues trained in continental Europe and working in English residential care services often encountered the phrase ‘our young people are worse’ from their English colleagues, with the implication that the social pedagogic approach was not suitable for the client group. This paper examines two propositions: (1) that in the context of introducing the continental European approach of social pedagogy into children's residential care services in England, young people are ‘different’ in England compared to other European countries and (2) that the placement options and practices for young people living away from their birth parents in continental European countries differ from those in England. Using data from a five nation study of young people from public care backgrounds, the paper argues that while family backgrounds are remarkably similar there are marked differences in the child welfare systems that might account for the perception that young people in care are ‘worse’ in England.
Publication titleEuropean Journal of Social Work
PublisherTaylor & Francis