University of Sussex
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Developing kinship care: a case of evidence based social work practice?

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posted on 2023-06-08, 15:22 authored by Mac Heath
This thesis provides a description and analysis of contemporary policy and practice in kinship care within three local authorities in England. The aim is to examine the extent to which government policy principles and available research evidence have translated into professional practice on the ground in different agency settings and to consider the implications of these findings for future management planning in this field. This is approached through considering UK research on kinship and examining the relationship between the statutory principles driving policies and the way the three local authorities have responded. This is with a view to questioning how kinship locally has influenced social work practice at a case level and compares local policies and practice against wider research evidence. Proposals are made about the modelling of a more effective approach to social work practice and management in kinship care planning. This study of different authorities and their approaches to kinship explores some of the challenges by which policy principles and research findings get translated into social work practice in a field of practice and theory that is itself contested. The study was undertaken in four stages: 1. A review of the extent to which local authority policies are compliant and consistent with statutory rules and contemporary research findings on kinship care. 2. A comparative analysis of the similarities and differences between policies and their formation in three studied authorities. 3. An analysis of the extent to which local management and social work practice, as reported, is consistent with policy and research. 4. The modelling of a Kinship care Definition and Policy Model could be proposed that is compliant with the principles of the Children Act 1989 and responsive to the research findings. The challenge set out in this research is to bridge academic research, policy formulation and operational practice. This research does not seek to evidence best practice in its own right but to recognise the variance of kinship in practice and approach and, from knowledge gained, set out a proposed model of good practice, one that is responsive to the findings and could be adopted within local authorities in England.


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  • Social Work and Social Care Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • dsw


  • eng


University of Sussex

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