Family support and the media in Ireland: Newspaper content analysis 2014–2017
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O’Connor, Patricia, McGregor, Caroline, & Devaney, Carmel. (2021). Family Support and the Media in Ireland: Newspaper Content Analysis 2014–2017. Child Care in Practice, doi:10.1080/13575279.2020.1860905
The objective of this paper is to inform a critical analysis of how the media portray family support in Ireland. Findings of a content analysis carried out on national and regional Irish newspapers between 2014 and 2017 are presented which describe communication about family support services provided by Tusla Child and Family Agency. Results show that even though child protection was not used as a specific search term, news items on the Child and Family Agency and family support were usually focused on child protection and children in care. Results also show that family support activities are reported more positively in local papers compared to national papers. In the discussion, we argue that these findings are important as the media plays an important role in how the public understand, view, and engage with integrated child protection and welfare systems. We consider the implications of the research and advocate working with the media to inform their interpretation and understanding of family support. We suggest this is important as the manner in which the media communicate and frame family support as part of the overall child protection and welfare system is one of the main influences on public understandings and awareness of preventative family support and child welfare services.
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