Protecting children: the central role of knowledge
Following the deaths of Victoria Climbié and of Peter Connelly (Baby P) the media has raged about social work competence, the public have expressed dismay and the government has responded with proposals designed to alter practice procedures. Altering procedures gives the appearance of change without necessarily improving practice. Do social workers have sufficient knowledge to make the decisions that they are responsible for? This paper examines whether a restricted knowledge base contributes to social workers missing or misjudging signs of maltreatment. The paper also looks at evidence suggesting that social workers are resistant to developing new ways of working. A more positive approach to developing expert knowledge and engagement with the inter-professional knowledge base is proposed.
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