European developments in professional practice with vulnerable children
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Sumary points: - Professional practice to safeguard children is strongly connected to the diverse family patterns and social policy orientations that characterise European countries today. - Three main models for helping vulnerable children are apparent in westrern Europe, with emphases on child protection, paternalistic child welfare and rights. Although the first has been most influential in the UK and Ireland and the other two on the continent, each system experiences tensions between these orientations. - Under a child protection model, vulnerable children and their families ten to receive specialist attention depending on assessed risk levels and the potential for legal action. Elsewhere, they are more likely to be linked to universal services, while use of residential care is also more common. - A similar set of practitioners are present in most European countries, but their roles and functions vary greatly, as do the ways they interact with each other. - The concepts and practices are social pedagogy were developed in central Europe and cannot simply be "copied", but they offer a comprehensive theoretical analysis as a basis for multi-dimensional intervention.