Seminar Series: Keeping children safe - Accounts of parenting in vulnerable circumstances

kylie valentine seminar event

Raising children has become a sharp focus of policy attention. One aspect of this is early intervention. The first years of life are thought to have lifelong effects on cognitive and social outcomes, and demands are placed on parents to meet children’s needs for enhanced cognitive development, attachment, and attention. Another aspect is child protection, particularly the wide distribution of responsibility for reporting parents whose children are believed to be at risk of harm. How do parents in vulnerable circumstances negotiate these two pressures of early intervention and surveillance? How do they navigate their relationships with service providers and parenting norms, especially when they are viewed mostly in terms of risk?

This seminar will report on a project funded under the National Research Agenda for Protecting Children 2011-2014. The project used a positive deviance approach to understand the practices and norms that contribute to positive child outcomes in communities where such outcomes are unexpected or statistically anomalous. The project drew on qualitative data collected during interviews about raising children well with parents who use drugs, and parents with mental illness.

kylie valentine is the Deputy Director and a Senior Research Fellow at SPRC. Her research interests include the impact of human services policies and programs; and the application of methods and concepts from the sociology of knowledge to new areas and concerns, with a specific focus on social disadvantage and exclusion. kylie conducts evaluation research on integrated service delivery and programs for children and families, and has expertise in qualitative methodologies and evaluation design.

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