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Risk Vulnerability and Complexity Transitional Safeguarding as a Reframing of Binary Perspectives.pdf (635.57 kB)

Risk, vulnerability and complexity: transitional safeguarding as a reframing of binary perspectives

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-12, 09:53 authored by Nathalie Huegler, Gillian RuchGillian Ruch
Transitional Safeguarding is emerging as a new concept in social work and social care, inviting us to reconsider the binary divides of existing adult and child safeguarding systems. These often fail to adequately meet the needs of young people, particularly those experiencing extra-familial risks and harm. Transitional Safeguarding acknowledges the ‘in-between’ position of young people in adolescence, relating both to their physical and psychosocial development but also to their rights to services, participation and wellbeing. As such, transitional safeguarding challenges conventional ideas about how we frame risk and vulnerability, requiring us to reconsider narrow conceptualisations of safeguarding systems and practice. From a psychosocial perspective, the splitting involved in creating binary, ‘either/or’ categories (such as who presents ‘a risk’ and who is ‘at risk’) may be a defensive response to overwhelming anxiety and complexity, a familiar characteristic of social work and social care practice. This conceptual paper is intended to help inform and underpin practice responses and is based on work from the first phase of a four year Economic and Social Research Council funded research project on how innovations in social care systems and practices can improve service experiences and outcomes for young people facing extra-familial risks and harm.


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