Socialinis darbas

patirtis ir metodai

Child and family welfare in practice in Lithuania just as professional observe

Review

Child welfare and child rights protection is relevant issue in every demo­cratic country. Different countries develop different approaches to child protection systems, creating policy of child protection, legislating documents and establishing formal child protection services (Gilbert, 2012; Connolly et al., 2014; Biesel et al., 2020). The child’s potential is understood in the context of his/her development and welfare. Welfare is a dynamic process influenced by multiple factors. Children interact with their environment and take an active role in creating their welfare, with or without resources, coping with or without stress, and so on (Bradshaw et al., 2007). The aim of the paper is to describe and explain the configuration of the child and fam­ily welfare system based on the conceptual reflections of child and family welfare concepts in the practice of Lithuanian’s child and family welfare professionals. The study is based on the conceptual concepts of child welfare developed by Gilbert and an international team of researchers (Gilbert et al., 2011), highlighting the definition of the problem frame, the mode and aim of the intervention, and the state-parent relationship. The paper presents a study that raises the question of how often child and family welfare system specialists observe various features of conceptual components of child and family welfare in their professional practice, such as problem frame, mode of intervention, aim of intervention, and state-family relationship. A questionnaire survey was conducted. The survey covered a total of 501 respondents, the child and family welfare system professionals. Results demonstrate, that in dimension of problem frame child protection approach is observed (according to Gilbert et al., 2011; Gilbert, 2012). Within this ap­proach dysfunctional parenting as maltreating parents is accentuated. The lack of accessibility to services was identified as a rare problem in practice. This suggests that professionals are willing to problematize the family and deny the structural problems in the system. In the dimension of the mode of intervention a combination of all three approaches to the child welfare system is monitored: child protection, family services and a child-oriented approach. Nevertheless, empowerment of parents is observed as the mostly observed mode of the intervention, suggesting that the family services approach is somewhat more predominant in this dimension. In the dimen­sion of the aim of intervention a combination of child-oriented and family service approaches dominates. In the dimension of state-parent relation­ships tensions are observed between the stats‘ proposed responsibilities to families and parents’ resistance to cooperate with state institutions. The child-oriented approach is observed very poorly.

Keywords: child and family welfare, child protection, social work.

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