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Paul McCafferty
Paul McCafferty

This is an invitation-only seminar. If you are particularly interested, please get in touch.

This webinar is led by Dr Paul McCafferty, Lecturer and Researcher at Queen’s University Belfast. It will be chaired by Mary Baginsky, convener of the seminar series.

The multifaceted nature of decision-making and the existence of a diverse mix of interwoven factors greatly challenges rational judgement and permanency decisions may not always be as consistent as one would anticipate. Considering this, it is important to examine social work practice within which permanency decisions are taken in child welfare. This presentation will describe findings from an exploratory in-depth qualitative research project with child welfare professionals exploring their permanency decisions with regards to Looked after Children. Findings suggest that different decisions were taken by participants based on viewing the same vignette. However, even though decisions differed, they clustered around the more interventionist options, despite viable alternatives. There was broad consistency related to the rationale for decisions taken, but this did not translate into a consistent permanency option being chosen. The implications are that children and families may not get a consistent and reliable response to their permanency needs. The research recommends the greater use of structured decision-making tools in permanency decisions to increase their objectivity and consistency, and this will be discussed.

At this event

Mary Baginsky

Reader in Social Care

Jess Harris

Research Fellow