Exploring Good Practice in Child and Family Services: Reflections and Considerations
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Brady, B. & Dolan, P. (2007). Exploring good practice in Irish child and family services: Reflections and considerations. Practice: Social Work in Action, 19(1), 5-18.
The prospect of furthering good practice in child and family services is something that is in everybody¿s interest, service users, practitioners, policy makers, and academics alike. However, it is a task fraught with difficulty due in part to the wide range and diversity of child care practice as well as a lack of fora for dissemination. In the Republic of Ireland, child and family services have undergone rapid development since the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 and child and family provision is now a blend of new and established approaches and models delivered in a range of settings. With the aim of supporting the development of good practice and profiling positive work taking place in child and family services, the Department of Health and Children initiated a process of identifying, describing and analysing good practice approaches in work with children and families. As part of this initiative, a framework of good practice principles, focused on management and operational levels, was devised and used as a means of relating to the experience of 26 service profiles nominated by local Health Service Executive regions. This article describes the methodology and process of the initiative, including the various methodological challenges that were faced and discusses key aspects of the learning that emerged in relation to good practice and the project¿s attempts to understand and relate to it.