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Lunch and Learn

Child protection, social work and conflict: an introduction to rights focused practice.

28th May 2024 - 12.00pm - 1.30pm

Speaker: Professor Donald Forrester

Rights focused practice is an approach that prioritises the protection and promotion of individuals' rights and freedoms. It involves empowering and advocating for individuals to exercise their rights, ensuring they are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. 

While there are policies and frameworks in place to uphold the rights of individuals utilising health and social care services, such as the Care Act 2014, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, and the Human Rights Act 1998, challenges persist in consistently applying these principles in practice. Issues such as resource constraints, bureaucratic processes, and varying interpretations of rights impact the implementation of a rights-focused approach. Additionally, there have been concerns raised about instances of neglect or abuse within social care settings, highlighting the need for ongoing efforts to strengthen accountability and ensure the protection of individuals' rights. 

The session

This Lunch and Learn session will explore the idea of rights focused practice. In doing so it tackles some big questions like: what is the point of social work or of contemporary children’s services? What is good practice? What difference does it make? And ... Why is it so very difficult? Professor Forrester will outline different types of rights, place social work into a broader historical and political perspective and argue that social work specifically and child protections services in general are an essential profession for any good society. He will then consider the theories and practices we need to work with the tensions and conflicts at the heart of such work, and consider implications for research, leadership and practice of a focus on rights.