It is increasingly clear that parents find the child protection system to be difficult and at times stigmatising and authoritarian. Research highlights that parents often perceive childcare social workers as being highly critical towards them and find child protection conferences in particular to be disempowering and at times oppressive.
Peer parental advocacy (PPA) is becoming increasingly prominent as a potential solution to issues relating to engagement of parents, challenges within relationships between parents and social workers, and feelings of oppression and shame parents involved with the children protection system often face. PPA aims to support parents who are engaged with the child protection process, through advice and advocacy, and helps them play a meaningful role in decision making about their children.
This study will be a mixed-method pilot evaluation of PPA in child protection, in one local authority, the London Borough of Camden.
The overall aims of this pilot evaluation are to understand:
- how PPA works in Camden and
- how PPA service is perceived to affect decision making and relationships between social workers and families
It will also consider other factors such as how to best recruit, train and support PPAs. In addition to supporting the development of PPA in Camden, the study will inform other local authorities who are developing or considering PPA.
More broadly, the findings will inform future decisions about whether to trial and evaluate PPA on a larger scale and the potential ethical and practical issues of such a scale-up, through delineating key aspects of the intervention and clarifying the outcomes it may lead to.
The project is set to begin in September 2021 and be completed by August 2022.
This project was funded as part of our Spark Grant scheme, which sought to fund research projects looking to improve outcomes for children and families and build an evidence base in children’s social care.
The purpose of the Spark Grant Scheme was to fund additional research in children’s social care, conducted by researchers who might otherwise be under-represented in the research community, and/or who might struggle to get funding through other routes, with the aim of providing project leadership opportunities for researchers who may have not had the experience to date.
For further information about the Spark Grant Scheme or its projects, please contact the Programmes team: email@example.com