What about the fathers? The presence and absence of the father in social work practice in England, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden-A comparative study

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Date
2018-07-19
Authors
Nygren, Karina
Walsh, Julie
Ellingsen, Ingunn T.
Christie, Alastair
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John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Abstract
Within Northern Europe, gendered roles and responsibilities within the family have been challenged through an emergence of different family forms, increasing cultural diversity, and progressive developments in welfare policies. To varying degrees, welfare policies in different countries support a dual-earner model and encourage men to be more active as fathers by reinforcing statutory rights and responsibilities. In child welfare practice, there has traditionally been a strong emphasis on the mother as primary carer for the child; the father has been less visible. This paper explores, in four national welfare contexts, how child welfare social workers include fathers in practice decisions. Data were collected using focus group interviews with social workers from England, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden. Similarities and differences emerge in relation to services and the focus of social work assessments. However, overall, the research suggests that despite gains in policy and legislation that promote gender equality, fathers remain largely absent in child welfare practice decisions about the parenting of their children. From the research, we raise questions for social work practice and the development of welfare policies.
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Child welfare , Comparative research , Family policy , Fathers , Welfare regime
Citation
Nygren, K., Walsh, J., Ellingsen, I. T. and Christie, A. (2018) 'What about the fathers? The presence and absence of the father in social work practice in England, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden - A comparative study', Child and Family Social Work, 24(1), pp. 148–155. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12592
Copyright
© 2018, John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the accepted version of the following item: Nygren, K., Walsh, J., Ellingsen, I. T. and Christie, A. (2018) 'What about the fathers? The presence and absence of the father in social work practice in England, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden - A comparative study', Child and Family Social Work, 24(1), pp. 148–155. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12592, which has been published in final form at: https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12592. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.