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ONLINE JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHILD AND YOUTH CARE NETWORK (CYC-Net) – ISSN 1605-7406

ISSUE 47 DECEMBER 2002 •  CONTENTS •  HOME PAGE

the profession

Stands Scotland where it did? Perspectives and possibilities for Child and Youth Care

Mark Smith

Abstract: A number of recent and forthcoming developments will shape the direction and professional identity of services for children and youth in Scotland for the foreseeable future. Approaches to child and youth care historically have been shaped by two defining relationships – the country’s political relationship with England and the discipline’s relationship with the social work profession within which it is currently located. This article charts the development of policy and provision in Scotland and considers possibilities for and threats to the development of a professional identity for the field.

A number of recent and forthcoming developments will shape the direction and professional identity of residential services for children and youth in Scotland for the foreseeable future.

The Scottish Executive has provided substantial funding to establish The Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC). SIRCC has a range of objectives aimed at improving education and training in the discipline, ranging from short course delivery through to the development of a Masters programme.

Two new government sponsored bodies, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (SCRC) will also be instrumental in shaping the future. The task of deciding upon and regulating training in social work generally has recently moved from the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) to the SSSC. One of the SSSC’s functions is to determine the type and level of qualification to be held by workers in residential child care. The other new body, The SCRC has the task of setting National Standards and inspecting residential units against these.
On top of these developments, the whole area of children and youth has recently hit the political agenda. The education minister has initiated a national debate which, if sufficiently broad, has the potential to impact on residential care. The message in relation to youth in trouble is at times contradictory. On the one hand, for instance, there is a real commitment to improving educational opportunities for young people in care. On the other, there has been a spate of populist pronouncements calling for more punitive responses to youth crime. Whilst understandings may be incomplete there is at least an awareness of youth in political circles.

There is a growing international awareness that services for children and youth should reflect the cultural experience of the recipients of that service (Fulcher 1998). Over the centuries, Scottish approaches to the various manifestations of human need have drawn upon the country’s distinct religious and philosophical traditions. They reflect a particular view of social welfare stemming in large part from the Reformation and the manner in which the reformed Church went about its Christian mission. Yet, distinct features of the Scottish tradition are regularly subsumed within historical accounts which reflect dominant English, philosophical and policy trends and assumptions (see Carlebach 1970 for instance). The intention of this article is to outline some of the strands of this tradition that it might inform any debate about the future direction of provision for children and youth.

Scotland and England
The Scottish psyche is significantly shaped by the country’s relationship with its nearest neighbour, England. It is an, at times, uneasy relationship, characterised by a peculiar assertion of difference yet very often, a simultaneous adoption of English social and policy trends. This situation is one resulting from the combination of Scotland’s struggle through the Middle Ages to avoid being militarily and politically overcome by England, with the inevitable interdependence which results from such close geographical proximity.

The crowns of the two countries were united in 1603 when James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne. Political union came a century later in 1707. Assimilation at an institutional level was never complete though and Scotland retained distinct legal and educational systems as well as a separate national church, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The union of 1707 failed too, to entirely suppress Scottish national identity and over the past 300 years there were persistent demands for a reassertion of home rule. These were largely realised in 1999 with the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament. Authority for matters relating to children and youth are vested in the parliament, sitting in Edinburgh.

The Pre-Reformation Church and Society
Traditions of caring for and educating children were evident within the pre-Reformation church. Early collections of Celtic church law, emanating from great religious communities like Iona, included detailed provisions for the care of foundlings and orphans (Furnivall, McQuarrie and Smith 2001). The notion of wider family and community responsibility was fundamental to the clan system, which was the bedrock of social organisation in large areas of the country.

The Reformation
The Reformation in Scotland drew on Calvinist doctrine, mediated for the particular national context by John Knox and Andrew Melville. The Reformation placed the onus of providing social welfare onto parish communities. The parish assumed responsibility for the care of the sick, orphans and those who had fallen on hard times. The Kirk, as well as administering poor relief also took responsibility for education. This was to ensure the Calvinist imperative that everyone should have direct access to The Bible unmediated by the clergy. In order to do so they had to be able to read. Each parish therefore had a school and the educational ideal became well established in Scottish life. Whilst the motivation for mass education had doctrinal roots, it’s nature, certainly at university level, was broad and encouraging of a metaphysical disputatiousness. Social structures likewise were, structurally at least, influenced by a notion of ‘militant democracy’ and were strikingly egalitarian and accountable (Furnivall, McQuarrie and Smith 2001).

The system of parochial responsibility adopted approaches to social welfare which were largely family based. The preferred way of responding to orphan or destitute children was for them to be "boarded out" with respectable families. This was not always a purely philanthropic response and children (especially older ones) were often used as cheap labour on family farms or businesses (Abrams 1998).

The tradition of boarding out contributed to an aversion in Scotland to institutional care. The workhouse model of poor relief, which was predominant in England, was virtually unknown in Scotland outwith Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paisley (Triseliotis 1988). Outdoor or community-based relief was far more common. Workhouse provision did expand in Scotland from around 1844, largely as a result of urbanisation and the breakdown of the parish system. This development also saw an increased adoption of the doctrine of "less eligibility" deriving from the English poor law tradition. (Less eligibility is the notion that life in an institution should be less desirable (eligible) than that which a person might experience outwith the institution. This was deemed necessary to prevent people wanting access to the workhouses and thereby becoming a financial burden on the authorities. It is a doctrine which has dogged welfare provision to a greater or lesser degree ever since.)

The onset of industrialisation in the early part of the nineteenth Century brought about a fragmentation of the parish system of education and poor relief established at the time of the Reformation. Ironically, the Factory Acts of the 1830’s, which sought to cushion children from the worst excesses of industrialisation, actually forced them to substitute for industrial earnings whatever they could eke out on the streets through begging or stealing. When their activities were deemed to constitute deviance, the response was often prison. In the early 1840s Bailie Mack in Edinburgh reported to the Parochial Board that children as young as five were regularly appearing before him charged with stealing. He was reluctant to send them to prison but for the seven-year-old recidivist he felt he had little option but to do so.

The ‘Ragged’ Schools
The Scottish response to the problems experienced and presented by the displaced child on the street was an innovative and enlightened one. It was rooted in a pietistic urge, which, according to Checkland (1980) must be viewed as a continuum whereby the inheritance of the Reformation could pervade Victorian life. The practical realisation of this philosophy, was the opening of the first industrial feeding school in Aberdeen in 1941, under the patronage of Sheriff Watson. The school sought "to feed, train in work habits and give basic education" to the children who attended. The industrial feeding or ‘ragged’ schools were characterised by the national aversion to institutional care. They stressed a preventative as opposed to a punitive philosophy. This was encapsulated in the exhortations of Dr. Thomas Guthrie, a pioneer of the movement to "seek to prevent that there may be no occasion to punish" and that, "the guilty party is not the child at the bar" (Smith 1988). Guthrie’s interest in street children was a reflection of a wider social movement associated with the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843. The Disruption saw the evangelical wing, led by Thomas Chalmers, often regarded as the father of Scottish social work, break away from what was perceived to be an increasingly comfortable and complacent established Kirk. The mission of the evangelical movement was to bring a Christian presence into the developing centres of population.

Guthrie promoted the cause of the ragged schools through three national ‘Pleas’. The movement was a remarkable success with schools being established in every city and most sizeable towns within months of his First Plea. Alongside the voluntary principle went a commitment to offering the resource as a day school, which sought to strengthen rather than weaken family links. Contemporary accounts consider that, "the family is the place ordained and prepared by God for the training and upbringing of children’, and that ‘if a child is separated from its parents and kept at school apart from its home, the child immediately becomes hard and apathetic.’ (Seed p.324). Guthrie’s hope was that children should return home, "carrying with them many a holy lesson…..as Christian missionaries to these dwellings of darkness and sin" (Smith 1988). Such assumptions challenge present day representations of the child as merely a recipient of pernicious family influences, by stressing a more interactive relationship and attempting to use the chi1d as a benign influence upon the family to which he or she returned each evening. Children unable to return to their families in the evening were boarded out or occasionally offered respite accommodation on school premises. Proponents of the ragged schools explicitly eschewed the ‘hospital’ model of care, which involved removing children from their families.

Such ideas differed fundamentally from prevailing English approaches to delinquency rooted in the doctrine of ‘less eligibility’ and emphasising the diagnosis of moral failings and the application of specific interventions to address these (Carlebach 1970). Moreover, whilst education was considered to be a positive force towards social cohesion in Scotland, the English tradition considered the education of the working classes as encouraging of sedition (Smout 1977). And whilst there were undoubtedly authoritarian aspects to Scottish education, it was essentially characterised, according to Scotland (1970) by the Platonic nature of the master-pupil relationship.

The response to delinquency offered by the ragged schools seems to have met with remarkable success. By the early 1850’s, Governor Smith of Edinburgh Prisons reported, "Whereas in 1947 more than 5% of the prisoners in Calton Jail were under 14, by 1851 this had fallen to less than 1%. I can have no doubt that the ragged industrial schools have been the principal instrument in this fall". The efficacy of the approach fulfilled Guthrie’s utilitarian belief that it was better to pay for the education of the child than the imprisonment of the adult in later life.

Acts of Parliament passed in 1854 secured state funding for the schools. However, subsequent Acts of 1861 and 1865 ensured that funding only applied to children committed to the schools through the Courts. As such the legislation sounded the death knell for Guthrie’s and Watson’s peculiarly Scottish conception of the industrial feeding school, through superimposing the prevailing English reformatory and industrial school model under the direction of the Home Office.

Internal divisions also arose in the ragged school movement itself, not for the last time in Scottish society, along sectarian lines but also between supporters of Watson and Guthrie’s original ideals and those who supported a residential mode of provision. Nevertheless, an interesting insight into the durability of underpinning Scottish beliefs is provided in a government report from 1896, which states that, "Scotch reformatories are not looked upon with public favour on account of the aversion felt by the Scotch people to the imprisonment of children".

Features of the Scottish tradition might be summed up thus:

The Rescue period
The second half of the nineteenth century has become known as the "rescue period" in social welfare provision. In contrast to Guthrie and Watson’s vision of family oriented care, the family came to be seen as a contaminating influence from which children should be removed. This was the era of the large orphanage, physically and symbolically removed from public view and consciousness. At its most extreme, the ‘rescue’ philosophy was manifest in the forced emigration of children to the Colonies in pursuit of a better life. The large charities were foremost in the orphanage movement, Quarriers and Aberlour being the most obvious examples. Boarding out was still common but, in line with the rescuing philosophy, children were sent further afield, often to isolated farms or crofts. Those who offended could be committed by the courts to Reformatory Schools (the successors to the ‘ragged’ schools).

Psychoanalytic Influences
The emergence of the psychoanalytic movement in the early twentieth century led to a questioning of some of the more traditional and authoritarian ways of responding to children. This led to some interesting experiments in child rearing and education. Perhaps the best known of these are Summerhill, established in England by a Scot, A.S Neil and Kilquhanity in The South West of Scotland, established by John and Morag Aitkenhead. These schools known as "free schools" sought to allow children to develop free from the constraints of adult or societal oppression. Whilst the ideas behind Summerhill and Kilquhanity remained minority ones, the influence of Freudian psychology was also apparent in the growth of the child guidance movement, which emphasised the importance of working with children in the context of their family relationships. In keeping with Scotland’s educational tradition, the child guidance movement was rooted within the field of educational psychology. The large orphanage, or children’s village, however remained the most common response to children who were deemed not to be able to live at home.

The UK Children Act 1908 brought together previous legislation relating to children. The Children and Young Person’s (Scotland) Act 1937 established separate juvenile courts, which were required in their proceedings to "have regard to the welfare of the child". Essentially, this piece of legislation marks the formal embodiment of the ‘welfare’ principle, which has been central to subsequent child care philosophy and regulation.

The Clyde Committee, reporting in 1946, in response to concerns about the welfare of children in foster care criticised large scale institutional living and proposed that provision for children should be provided in smaller units, located nearer to centres of population. Clyde was influenced by some of the thinking of the child guidance movement and proposed the family as the preferred unit of care. Substitute care was to be modelled on family life. This resulted in the development of the family group home model, whereby groups of children were looked after by ‘auntie’ and ‘uncle’ figures, ostensibly modelling the experience on family living.

Kilbrandon and the Social Work (Scotland) Act
A watershed in Scottish welfare provision came with the publication of The Kilbrandon Report in 1964. This firmly reaffirmed a ‘welfare’ as opposed to a ‘justice’ model of dealing with young people. The preferred approach was to be education…. "in its widest sense"(Kilbrandon 1964). Kilbrandon proposed the establishment of Social Education departments to oversee his proposed developments. These ideas were developed by the emerging social work lobby and taken forward in a White Paper, Social Work and the Community (1966) thereafter becoming law in The Social Work (Scotland) Act (1968). The 1968 Act established professional social work rather than the social education departments envisaged by Kilbrandon and located provision for children and young people within the new generically structured departments. The Social Work (Scotland) Act heralded the introduction of Scotland’s rightly acclaimed Children’s Hearing system. The Hearing system involves a panel of three lay volunteers deciding on a case "in the best interests of the child". Children can be referred to the Children’s Panel on a range of different grounds, only one of which involves offending, the others reflecting their own needs for welfare or protection. Philosophically the system works on the same assumptions which characterised earlier approaches, namely that the underlying needs of those who offended and those in need of care and protection, are essentially similar.

Ironically, a system, which is charged to promote the welfare of and to act in the best interests of the child, currently finds itself under increasing attack on two fronts. On the one hand those concerned with youth crime bemoan what they consider to be its lack of teeth, whilst, on the other, those adopting a rights perspective express concern that children’s legal rights are not adequately safeguarded within the system.

Residential Child Care within Social Work
The Social Work (Scotland) Act located residential child care within the new social work profession. The early years of this arrangement were characterised by considerable optimism. Inroads were made to reduce the numbers of children ‘lost’ in the care system and a greater sense of purpose was introduced to care planning. However, at an ideological level, social work was influenced by the literature of dysfunction deriving, in large part from Goffman’s (1966) critique of institutions. The underlying philosophical and policy thrust was in the direction of closing, or at least minimising the use of residential care. Alongside this anti-institutional bias, substitute family care became the option of choice for children deemed unable to continue to live at home.

Whilst the professional preference for family based care was pursued in good faith and on the strength of an evolving understanding of concepts of attachment, it also began to coalesce during the 1980s with Thatcherite demands for public service economy. The family as the preferred model of service delivery became increasingly pronounced, as permanence theory became paradigmatic in relation to social work with children and families. Residential care in early articulations of this theory was not considered to be an intervention capable of offering permanence (Milligan 1998). The trouble with Permanence theory however, along with other approaches such as normalisation and minimal intervention, could become elevated to ideology and prevent the appropriate assessment of children in need of out of home care against a range of perhaps more appropriate resources (Fulcher 2001).

The 1990s
If the 1980s were characterised by the dominance of family oriented ideologies of care, the 1990s have seen the social work task with children and families become increasingly defined by revelations of abuse, initially within families but subsequently in residential care. The application of a predominant child protection focus to practice risks detracting from the essential developmental task of residential child care. This is compounded by the application of managerialist principles and procedures in relation to complex areas of practice such as care and control and ‘safe-caring,’ the result of which can feel to practitioners to be a seemingly endless cycle of complaint and investigation.

The 1990s too, partly as a result of the crisis induced by abuse scandals, saw the reawakening of political interest in the discipline. In 1992, Angus Skinner the Chief Inspector of Social Work Services for Scotland produced a review of residential childcare. Rather than merely picking over the lessons of past abuse, The Skinner Report published in 1992 as "Another Kind of Home" set out a number of principles of practice, (subsequently known as "The Skinner Principles). Skinner was important in a number of respects, not least of which was his recommendation to create a central resource point for those involved in residential care. This led to the inception of The Centre for Residential Child Care (CRCC) in 1994 which became the focus, in Scotland and indeed more widely, for the development of practice in residential childcare. One of the things the CRCC did was to help embed Skinner’s Principles into a more general framework within which residential child care in Scotland might be considered. The eight principles are,

Together, these principles provide a backdrop against which residential childcare has been considered over the past decade. Another Kind of Home also identified targets to improve the qualification levels of staff in residential child care, stating that 90% of senior staff and 30% of care staff should be professionally qualified in social work. A further 60% of care staff were to be qualified to Higher National Certificate (HNC)/SVQ level.

The other major government report specific to Scotland in the course of the nineties was the ‘Children’s Safeguards Review’ (The Kent Report) 1997. Kent provides an insightful picture of residential care, asserting that the complexity of the task requires a workforce qualified beyond what would be required for other areas of social work. He toys with, but pulls back from, some fairly radical suggestions for improvement, such as the adoption of a European model of social pedagogy.

Children Scotland Act
The major legislative development in the past decade has been the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. The new Act’s provisions draw upon the Social Work (Scotland) Act, updated to reflect, amongst other things, the influence of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children in the care of the local authority whether living at home under supervision or in residential or foster care are now ‘looked after’. Those who are in residential resources are described as ‘accommodated’ by the local authority. This rather cumbersome terminology was introduced to try and protect rights and remove stigma but it has proved unpopular with the children and young people, and their advocacy organisation Who Cares? Scotland has returned to using the term ‘residential care’ (Furnivall, McQuarrie and Smith 2001).

Social Work Education
Following on from the Social Work (Scotland) Act, CCETSW (1973) asserted somewhat equivocally that residential care was social work (Millar 2002). Professional training was claimed to provide a generic experience, equipping students for work across the range of settings in which social workers operate. It was argued that setting the same qualification would address the comparative low status of residential workers. Unlike traditional professions such as teaching or the law, both of which have retained very distinct Scottish identities, social work developed from the basis of the alignment and transferability of qualifications across the UK.

Since the early 1990’s, practice placements have been assessed against a range of competencies set out by CCETSW. Training proceeds from the assumption that competencies are transferable across practice settings within the diverse domains of criminal justice, children and families or community care and can include community based, day care or residential settings. The appropriateness of a competency based approach to student learning remains subject to considerable debate within social work (O’Hagan 1996). Wider pedagogical arguments notwithstanding, the application of current competencies to residential child care is particularly problematic as the nature of these are casework or case management biased and require feats of lateral thinking to fit them to residential placements.

A majority of workers entering residential child care settings from social work training courses do not feel suitably prepared for the task, in comparison to those moving into other social work settings. (Triseliotis and Marsh 1996). This is perhaps not surprising, as the experiences of many workers, qualified and socialised in social work, will often not have introduced them to fundamental conceptual material on group care such as ‘lifespace’. Schooled within a dominant social work discourse, practice experience for many, may merely reinforce negative perceptions of residential child care. Reflecting the comparatively small number of qualified residential workers within social work, the discipline is similarly under-represented in the institutions in which social work is taught. Group care is often taught in universities and colleges, when it is taught at all, by those with no practice experience in the area (Lane 2001).

Whilst there were major initiatives after the passage of the Social Work (Scotland) Act, to ensure that all field social workers became qualified, no similar requirements were placed on workers in residential child care. Qualification rates have remained stubbornly low and if anything appear to be declining (SIRCC 2001). This has contributed to the adoption of the Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) in social care, a vocationally based system whereby practice is assessed against a range of learning outcomes. Whilst SVQs have been presented as a positive and inclusive way to enable the current workforce to gain a formal qualification, it is also argued that they reflect a major ‘dumbing down’ of residential child care and the institutionalisation of a second class status. Other commentators pose serious questions about the educational integrity and practical utility of the qualification (Heron and Chakrabarti 2002).

Current Situation
The population of residential child care has plummeted over the past thirty years. This pattern continues. The latest figures, for March 2000 (Scottish Executive) show a figure of 1973 places in residential accommodation - a decrease of 2.6% from the previous year. However, admissions for the same year stood at 7692, three quarters of whom had been resident for less than a month and only 8% of whom had been resident for more than a year. The turnover in short-term admissions appears to reflect the inclusion of respite services in the figures. The small proportion of those long term residents serves to emphasise that residential care is rarely seen as a long term option. Of those in residential care, 70% were boys, a figure that rises to 82.5% of those in secure accommodation. The average size of a unit is 11, but this figure masks a range of provision from 2-3 bedded units to large residential school. Despite assertions that residential care ought to be a positive choice for young people (Skinner 1992) the reality is that it is often a residual service dealing with those children and youth who cannot be maintained in any other service.

Current Issues facing Residential Child Care in Scotland
From recent discussions on CYC-NET, pointing to youth care in crisis, Scotland would appear to face similar problems to other countries and traditions. An added dimension though is the discipline’s current location and conceptualisation within the wider social work profession. Assertions that residential care is social work are increasingly hard to sustain. There may indeed be a fundamental fault line between social work and child and youth care. The former, irrespective of any rhetoric about being non-judgmental or empowering, is a pathology based intervention. A consequence of such a focus is that children are identified as requiring protection as the victims of crime, or punishment as its perpetrators. Child and youth care by contrast, although it may often fall short of doing so, ought to be based around more universal notions of learning and growth.

Conceptualisation within social work entails that residential child care is currently considered within the dominant discourse of social work, which, in relation to children and families, is child protection. The strength of this discourse is such that even cases that ought to have a welfare focus are viewed through a child protection lens (Spratt 2002). In the context of residential child care, the focus on protection and safety whilst important, often exists in tension with other developmental imperatives such as the need to allow children and youth space to explore and develop and to do so in close relationships with the adults caring for them.

Reflecting the strength of the child protection discourse, revelations of abuse in residential child care and the organisational reaction to these can be manifest in a tendency to pathologise care. A result of this is the increasing location of control and authority out with establishments themselves, contrary to what is known about the be need for suitably autonomous leadership at unit level (DOH 1998). This can have the effect of disempowering staff on the ground, reinforcing a negative image of the sector and reducing morale and the potential to attract and retain staff (Corby et al 2001).

Residential child care is marginalised within social work. There is a sense that the social work establishment doesn’t really know what to do with it, but doesn’t feel able to cast it loose. Major texts, Social Work, Themes, Issues and Critical Debates (Adams et al 1998) and Social Work practice (Coulshed and Orme 1998) do not include chapters on residential child care. The difficulty in achieving a suitably qualified workforce within a social work framework has led to an incremental ‘dumbing down’ of the level and nature of qualifications deemed appropriate to the task. It now seems that, following on from developments in England, these will be institutionalised at VQ level (SSSC 2002). The focus of VQs on merely evidencing existing practice rather than on promoting critical reflection and understanding of self and others, render them particularly unsuitable to the dynamic and humanistic endeavour that is cyc. Yet in the absence of any meaningful debate about the nature and place of residential child care, it can seem easier to reduce the job to one that can be broken down into a series of discrete tasks and to manage the workforce through ever greater regulation and discipline. All of this impedes the development of an appropriate and distinct professional identity for cyc.

Possibilities
Historically, Scottish approaches to residential child care reflect family, community and broadly educationally based preferences. In that sense, Scotland can draw similarities with other traditions of practice, which do not locate direct service delivery for children and youth within the social work profession. Northern European countries, favour a social pedagogy model which assumes a broadly educational focus to practice and to the training of those working with children and youth across a variety of settings. Canada, most North American states and countries such as South Africa, train workers specifically for child and youth care. The nature of the task is increasingly being considered in relation to working with families (Garfat). Closer to home a renewed interest in ideas of social pedagogy is emerging in England where The Dept. of Health has commissioned the Thomas Coram Unit at the University of London to undertake comparative research across European models of practice. A new book (Moss and Petrie 2002) offers alternative conceptualisations of childhood, drawing on ideas from social pedagogy and argues for a move away from children’s services to children’s spaces. The Social Education Trust, comprising practitioners and academics with an interest in residential child care, is also taking that debate forward in England. Developments in the Republic of Ireland view the proposed registration of workers there as an opportunity to establish a discrete professional identity for child and youth care (McElwee 2001).

It is worth considering, in the face of the problems of recruitment, retention and professional identity confronting residential child care in Scotland and the UK, that across the North Sea in Denmark, the social pedagogue model of training is that country’s most heavily subscribed of all professional training courses. This might suggest that work with children and young people is not itself unattractive but does require a conducive and validating professional context.

The Crossroads
Scotland stands at something of a crossroads in terms of what the future holds for child and youth care.

There are positive developments, such as the establishment of SIRCC. The residential care pathway on the Diploma in Social Work and the development of the Masters programme holds out the hope of enhancing the standing of the discipline. Such glimmers of light however are potentially extinguished by some heavy clouds overhead. The ‘dumbing down’ of the type and level of qualification deemed appropriate to the task does not augur well for the recruitment or retention of appropriately committed and insightful staff, nor indeed for the attainment of professional status. There is an insularity and a lack of ambition around current policy directions which belie Scotland’s occasionally enlightened approaches to children and youth. If child and youth care is to develop as a profession it would do well to look back and learn from it’s own historical and cultural traditions of practice and to look outwards from current reality to consider some of the possibilities offered by other traditions. This calls for a reappraisal of the assumptions and relationships which currently define the field here.

References

Abrams, L. (1998) The Orphan Country, Edinburgh: John Donald

Adams, R. Dominelli, L. and Payne, M. (1998) Social Work: Themes, Issues and Critical Debates Basingstoke: Macmillan

Carlebach, J. (1970) Caring for Children in Trouble, London: RKP

Checkland, O. (1980) Philanthropy in Victorian Scotland: Social Welfare and the Voluntary Principle, Edinburgh: John Donald

Corby, B. Doig, A and Roberts, V. (2001) Public Inquiries into Abuse of Children in Residential Care, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Coulshed, V. and Orme, J. 3rd edition (1998) Social Work Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave

Department of Health (1998) Caring for Children Away from Home: Messages for Research Chichester Wiley

Fulcher, L. (1998) Acknowledging Culture in Child and Youth Care Practice, Social Work Education, 17, 3

Fulcher, L. (2001) Differential Assessment of Residential Group Care for Children and Young People. British Journal of Social Work 31

Furnival, J. McQuarrie, A. and Smith, M. (2001) A Review of Residential Child Care in Scotland, University of Strathclyde

Garfat, T. and McElwee, C. N. (2001) The Changing Role of the Family in Child and Youth Care Practice. Journal of Child and Youth Care Work

Heron, G. and Chakrabarti, M. (2002) Impact of Scottish Vocational Qualifications on Residential Child Care: Have they Fulfilled the Promise? Journal of Social Work Education

Lane, D. (2001) The Radisson Report, The Social Education Trust

McElwee, N. (2001) The Registration of Child and Youth Care Practitioners as a Distinct Discipline in Ireland: Becoming Aware that we are Aware. Journal of Child and Youth Care Work

Millar, J. (2002) unpublished MSc assignment, University of Strathclyde

Milligan, I. (1998) Residential Care is not Social Work Social Work Education vol. 17, 3

Moss, P. and Petrie, P. (2002) From Children's Services to Children's Spaces London: Routledge/ Falmer

O’Hagan, K. (1996) Competence in Social Work Practice: a Practical Guide for Professionals London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Scotland, J. (1969) The History of Scottish Education Vol. 2 London: University of London Press

Scottish Executive (2002) Children Looked After in the Year to 31 March 2001. Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication

Seed (1974) Should Any Child be Placed in Care? The Forgotten Great Debate 1841 - 74 British Journal of Social Work 3, 3

Frondigoun, E. and Maclean, K.and Hosie, A. (2002) Residential Child Care Qualifications Audit Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care

Smith, M. (1988) 'Ragged Schools Guthrie' unpublished MEd essay, University of Edinburgh

Smout, C. (1977) The Scottish People 1560 –1830 Glasgow, Fontana/Collins

HMSO (1992) Another Kind of Home - Skinner Report, Edinburgh

HMSO (1997) Children's Safeguards Review - Kent Report, Edinburgh

Triseliotis, J. (1988) Residential Care from a Historical Perspective, in Wilkinson, J.E. and O'Hara, G. (eds), Our Children: Residential and Community Care, London: NCB

Triseliotis, J. and Marsh P. (1996) Ready to Practice? Social Workers and Probation Officers: Their Training and their First Year in Work, Aldershot: Avebury.

The Author Mark Smith was a practitioner and manager in child and youth care settings in Scotland over a period of twenty years. He is currently Course Director of the MSc. in Advanced Residential Child Care at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.