Thursday, 18 August 2011

Book Review

Caring for Abused and Neglected Children
Jim Wade, Nina Biehal, Nicola Farrelly and Ian Sinclair
London, Jessica Kingsley, 2011

If we are to improve services to abused and neglected children, we must understand more about their needs and about what happens to them when services intervene in their lives. This book provides an account of high quality empirical research exploring what happens to abused and neglected children when they are reunited with their families following a period of being in care.

It is perhaps not surprising to discover that such children have poorer outcomes than children who remain in care, but the authors demonstrate this with admirable detail and clarity. They provide us with a solid understanding of what happens to reunified children and the risks they face. The messages they draw from the research are by no means entirely negative. The fact that there are risks to reuniting children with their birth families does not mean that we should not do it; only that we should take particular care when we do.

The book is well written and carefully argued. The research evidence is well presented and where tables are used these are clearly laid out and easy to understand. Detailed statistical analysis is confined to footnotes.

Anyone who works with or studies looked after children will gain from reading this book. It is exactly the type of research we require if we are to build services which are fit for purpose.