‘When they were taken it is like grieving’: Understanding and responding to the emotional impact of repeat care proceedings on fathers

Philip, Georgia, Youansamouth, Lindsay, Broadhurst, Karen, Clifton, John, Bedston, Stuart, Hu, Yang and Brandon, Marian ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1654-1819 (2024) ‘When they were taken it is like grieving’: Understanding and responding to the emotional impact of repeat care proceedings on fathers. Child and Family Social Work, 29 (1). pp. 185-194. ISSN 1356-7500

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There is growing recognition, in the UK and internationally, of the huge costs of recurrent appearances of parents in local authority care proceedings. This paper contributes to pressing policy and practice concerns to reduce recurrence. It presents qualitative longitudinal data from the first study of fathers' experiences of recurrent care proceedings in England. Demonstrating the emotional impact of repeat proceedings and successive loss of children on fathers, in terms of grief, loss and shame, we highlight the trauma and abuse in their developmental histories. We consider complex connections between anger and shame for these fathers, including within the arena of family justice. With the use of literature on complex trauma, shame and parental disengagement, we explore ideas for re-framing fathers', and professionals', resistance to engagement and for better understanding fathers' intense emotions. We suggest that the link between shame and complex trauma and the value of shame reducing, dignity promoting practice in response provide a valuable way forward for working with fathers. As is recognized to be the case for mothers, without holistic, empathic interventions to address the vulnerabilities of such fathers, the risks for children, mothers and fathers are unlikely to reduce.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT: The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Research on Children and Families
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Child Protection & Family Support
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2023 14:30
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2024 01:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/92712
DOI: 10.1111/cfs.13061


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