'Roll back the years': A study of grandparent special guardians' experiences and implications for social work policy and practice in England

Hingley-Jones, Helen, Allain, Lucille, Gleeson, Helen ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0505-5281 and Twumasi, Bismark (2019) 'Roll back the years': A study of grandparent special guardians' experiences and implications for social work policy and practice in England. Child and Family Social Work . ISSN 1356-7500 (Published online first) (doi:10.1111/cfs.12718)

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Abstract

Growing numbers of grandparent special guardians (GSGs) are assuming responsibility for increasing numbers of children in the care system in England. Special guardianship arrangements are increasingly used as a permanency option as they allow children to remain in their kinship networks, rather than in local authority care or be adopted; yet there is a scarcity of research on GSG carers’ experiences. This article reports a small qualitative research study where ten sets of grandparents were interviewed to explore their journey to becoming GSGs and to theorise their subsequent experiences. Two themes emerge. Firstly, experiences of the assessment process are elaborated, decisions often being made at a time of family crisis, impacting on GSGs: financial, employment, relational. Secondly, GSGs’ experiences of managing often-challenging relationships and contact arrangements between the grandchildren and the parents reveal three main relationship management approaches emerging: containing-flexible; containing-controlled and; uncontained/defeated approaches. Anthropological concepts of affinity help theorise the GSGs’ ambivalent responses to becoming carers in later life, enabling reconfigured kinship relationships in new family forms. Family policy and social work practice is critiqued as GSGs appear often left alone to ‘roll back the years’, to heal previous harms done to the grandchildren who end-up in their care.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 28276
Notes on copyright: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hingley‐Jones, H, Allain, L, Gleeson, H, Twumasi, B. “Roll back the years”: A study of grandparent special guardians' experiences and implications for social work policy and practice in England. Child & Family Social Work. 2019; 1– 10., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12718. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
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Depositing User: Helen Hingley-Jones
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 13:55
Last Modified: 24 Dec 2019 17:23
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28276

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