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Adoption support and the negotiation of ambivalence in family policy and children's services

By Barry Luckock


In this paper ambivalent commitments to parenting and family life by the New Labour government are explored by reference to the example of adoption support. Developments in adoption illuminate contrasting expectations in family policy and children's services more generally. Traditional normative concerns to support family status and parental autonomy are unsettled by contemporary anxieties about child outcomes and social mobility. Impatience with the attitudes and behaviour of parents has led to a `progressive universalism┬┐ in which enhanced parenting services and expectations for all are combined with increasingly insistent and targeted interventions for the particularly needy, reluctant or recalcitrant few. At the same time demands for greater service modernization and professional effectiveness have led government to position parents as (potential) consumers too. The paper discusses these policy and practice tensions and concludes that new spaces are being opened up for the negotiation between parents and professionals about rights and responsibilities in family life and its support

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2008.00412.x/abstract
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