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(Extra)ordinary Lives: looked after young people and their relationship with ‘care’. Dr Sally Holland Hollands1@cf.ac.uk. ( Extra)ordinary Lives: Project overview. Looked after children are consistently discussed in terms of a range of social problems.

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extra ordinary lives looked after young people and their relationship with care

(Extra)ordinary Lives: looked after young people and their relationship with ‘care’

Dr Sally Holland

Hollands1@cf.ac.uk

extra ordinary lives project overview
(Extra)ordinary Lives: Project overview
  • Looked after children are consistently discussed in terms of a range of social problems.
  • Aims to enable a group of young people to produce their own accounts and representations of their everyday lives.
  • Participants choose means and methods
  • Exploration of possibilities and challenges of children’s participation in research
participation
Participation
  • Involving 8 children and young people, aged 10-20, all white, 6 girls, 2 boys. 3 in kinship care, 4 in foster care and 1 living independently.
  • Multi-media project (Me, Myself and I)
slide4

Multi-media project sessions

  • Enabling children and young people to develop their autobiographical multi-media identity projects
  • Working collaboratively with new technologies during project sessions
  • Researchers conducting an ethnography of this process
care theoretical framework
Care: theoretical framework

Ethic of care:

  • Places interdependency central, lessens emphasis on individuality and individual rights
  • Recognises care as a moral position: one that recognises need in others and responds to it.
  • Recognises care as a process that develops between people, not just a specific set of tasks.
ethic of care and looked after children
Ethic of care and looked after children
  • Care as relational
  • Care as multi-faceted
  • Recognizing importance of understanding how care is achieved rather than just how it is ascribed
care as relational
Care as relational
  • Young people as carers as well as cared for
  • Formal carers gain as well as give
  • Care as a process that develops between people, not just a specific set of tasks
  • Re-balances emphasis on individual rights to value inter-dependency as much as independence
looked after young people as carers
Looked after young people as carers
  • But then I was I was told by my friends um that she was he was doing the same to my other sister. She’s not like me, she’s small, she’s skinny and she’s (pause) and I wasn’t havin’ that. So I wrote her a letter you know just to be there for her. (Neveah)
  • And I know that I’m the only person who’s gonna give him that support and encourage him. (Jolene)
slide9
No, my brothers should be going into care which I want them to, for their like sake because of my dad, I don’t like them living with my dad. (Keely)
  • ‘I goes, ‘stop giving me your mouth. Just get up and help Nan.’ Nan’s got arthritis all up here.’ (Kate)
care as multi faceted
Care as multi-faceted

Tronto (1994)

  • Attentiveness : caring about
  • Responsibility : taking care of
  • Competence : care-giving
  • Responsiveness : care receiving
  • Integrity: combines all of the above within an awareness of potential dilemmas and conflicts
understandings of care examples
Understandings of ‘care’: examples

Longevity: ‘That tree was about this big when I moved in with them. That’s how much it’s grown in ten years.’ (Jolene)

  • J: Is this long term?
  • K: Yes, think so.
  • J: Yeah, so you're with these, it's not like you're with these and then you're going to go somewhere else? You're with these until you're 18, yeah?
  • K: Yeah, should be.
everyday acts of care
everyday acts of care
  • She’s like, (inaudible) she was there for me for my School Prom and then when I got my GCSE results. You know my first boyfriend. And then when I was moving out. Things like that. She’s just -. That meant everything to me. It’s great, it’s like a proper family life? It’s like - …. You know, when I used to come home from school, ‘How was your day’. She did that and asked, How was my day?... We got on so well (inaudible). She acted as my confidence booster straight away. When I got to when I first moved in with her, I had to step back a bit; I didn’t want to get too close. Because at my previous foster home, they had like kicked me out as well. So I thought, oh she is going to do the same. My dad did it, my mum did it, you’re going to do it, but she never did (inaudible), and till this day, she’s still for me. (Neveah)
fairness
Fairness:

Keely: but she’s (social worker) come in now and because of my Mum’s life or something with her, because of my Uncle who don’t even live with my Grampy, and stuff ‘cause danger, my Mum was involved in danger when she was little I’m not allowed to go over there as much. ‘Cause of that, he hasn’t done nothing to me, and my Grampy never even done nothing to my mother. Oh she’s being a cow. I hate her

reliability
Reliability

She didn’t want to go through everything again and explain her situation to someone new, and put a lot of importance of the consistency and stability that having regular contact with one social worker provided. (fieldnotes)

‘Well Jenny is my support worker and they’ve got like a big white van which they help me move anyway. So the majority of it is there but my dad’s got a big transit van as well, he said that he would help but with my dad he’s not reliable, like he told me he’d do my driving lessons and he never have’ (Neveah)

she’s more important to me than my family, but then again most of my friends are because my friends are there and my family aren’t. (Jolene)

understanding care in contrast to lack of care
Understanding care in contrast to lack of care
  • And she said “Because you’re still my daughter”, and I said, “No, you’re not my mother, because a mother is attached to you and be there for you, not kick you out, things like that”. (Neveah)
  • ‘Yeah, but I was the most looked after, I was just, I was just the most spoilt and I’ll admit that. I was actually his favourite right [inaudible (11.24)] He’d hardly hit me, he’d give everything he could to me’ (Keely)
usefulness of ethic of care for understanding looked after young people s lives
Values the central everyday experiences of giving and receiving care

Values relationships at the heart of care

Recognises multi-faceted nature of care

BUT

De-emphasises individual rights and ethic of justice

Difficult to teach, assess or implement as a policy

Can construct children as vulnerablecare-receivers

Usefulness of ‘Ethic of Care’ for understanding looked after young people’s lives
references
References
  • Meagher, G. and Parton, N. ‘Modernising social work and the ethics of care’, Social Work and Society, 2 (1) pp. 10-27. Free download: [http://www.socwork.net/2004/1/articles/426]
  • Lloyd, L. (2006). "A Caring Profession? The Ethics of Care and Social Work with Older People." Br J Soc Work36(7): 1171-1185.
  • Orme, J. (2002). "Social Work: Gender, Care and Justice." Br J Soc Work32(6): 799-814.
  • Parton, N. (2003). "Rethinking Professional Practice: The contributions of Social Constructionism and the Feminist 'Ethics of Care'." Br J Soc Work33(1): 1-16.
references continued
References (continued)
  • Sevenhuijsen, S. (2000) Caring in the third way: the relation between obligation, responsibility and care in Third Way discourse, Critical Social Policy 20; 5
  • Selma Tronto, J. (1994) Moral Boundaries, New York: Routledge.
slide21

To download papers about the (Extra)ordinary lives project findings please see:http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/qualiti/WorkingPapers/WorkingPaperHome.html