Article

"Everyday" Scottish and Finnish child protection work in an age of austerity: A practitioner perspective

Alternative title "Arjen" skotlantilainen ja suomalainen lastensuojelutyö talouskurin aikana: ammattilaisen näkökulma

Citation

Lohvansuu J & Emond R (2020) "Everyday" Scottish and Finnish child protection work in an age of austerity: A practitioner perspective ["Arjen" skotlantilainen ja suomalainen lastensuojelutyö talouskurin aikana: ammattilaisen näkökulma]. Child and Family Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12729

Abstract
This article examines the accounts given by child protection practitioners of how the current economic climate has impacted on their practice. We build our discussion on empirical findings emerging from a small but rigorous qualitative research project conducted by one of the authors. This original study examined Scottish and Finnish social workers’ perceptions of their abilities to engage effectively with children and families in what many have described as an ‘age of austerity’. It set out to explore challenges encountered in daily practice through a cross-national comparative thematic analysis. The paper illuminates practitioners’ shared reality of frontline practice in Scottish and Finnish contexts. Despite differing socio-political environments, participating practitioners found austerity measures to impact negatively on both their professional resources and on the communities they work with. Significantly, practitioners regarded themselves as the key resource, taking individual responsibility to ensure families received a quality service. For many, austerity had resulted in greater empathy for families and awareness of the wider economic and structural impact on their lives. The increased centrality of social justice was pivotal to everyday practice.

Keywords
austerity; effective engagement; social justice

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal
Child and Family Social Work

StatusPublished
Publication date online31/01/2020
Date accepted by journal12/12/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/30902
ISSN1356-7500
eISSN1365-2206