Mothers apart: an action research project based on partnership between a local authority and a university in London, England

Lewis-Brooke, Sarah, Bell, Linda, Herring, Rachel, Lehane, Lynne, O'Farrell-Pearce, Siobhan, Quinn, Karen and So, Theresa (2017) Mothers apart: an action research project based on partnership between a local authority and a university in London, England. Social Work Review / Revista de Asistentã Socialã (3). pp. 5-15. ISSN 1583-0608

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Abstract

Recent UK research highlights human and financial costs of successively and permanently removing children from their birth parents’/mother’s care; increasing frequency of these child removals reflects wider social, legal and historical aspects of this complex issue. Increasing rates of ‘out of home’ child placements raise issues about how to support birth parents whose children are removed due to child protection concerns. Related research highlights tensions and potential for conflict between rights and welfare of the child and of parents/mother. This paper draws on an action project example (‘Mothers Apart’) involving an ongoing partnership between multidisciplinary staff in one local authority and university social work researchers in London (UK), which has included both research and development of a pilot initiative to support birth mothers who have lost children. We describe how the partnership came together to plan the action project including both research and the service initiative itself (‘Hummingbirds’). We attempt to locate and critique this action research model and explore how research findings influenced the ‘Hummingbirds’ service and its theoretical underpinnings. Mothers’ viewpoints contributed directly to development of this initiative. Subsequent feedback from staff, a focus group with mothers about their experiences with ‘Hummingbirds’, and identification of future possibilities such as potential outreach to fathers, is enabling us to develop empowering and sustainable social work practices, aimed at enhancing lives of individuals, families and communities.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 22347
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Depositing User: Linda Bell
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 15:48
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2019 12:54
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/22347

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