Testing times for social care in Ireland and Britain.
The Irish Social Worker, 2010 pp. 8–12.
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Public inquiries into social care scandals have had a major public impact and have provoked demands for fundamental reform and innovations in children’s services. In Britain, the inquiry into the case of Peter Connolly (Baby P), who was killed by his mother and her partner in London, despite numerous contacts with child protection services, led to disciplinary actions against professionals in both social and health care. In Ireland the Ryan Report, revealing systematic child abuse over decades in residential care institutions run by religious congregations, has undermined public confidence in the church and state as well as in the caring professions. This article considers the impact of these reports, particularly in terms of their consequences for the ascendant therapeutic dynamics in children’s social policy. The author concludes that if the cases such as Baby P or those who experienced abusive regimes lead to the intensification of therapeutic intervention, they may result in more widespread social control over family life.
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