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‘When is Mark on?’ Judy Doyle Dublin Institute of Technology.

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1 ‘When is Mark on?’ Judy Doyle Dublin Institute of Technology

2 WILFUL NEGLECT OR COLLUSION WITH SILENCE? This presentation examines the gender imbalance in residential child care in Ireland and poses the question; Is this gender imbalance wilful neglect or collusion with silence by stakeholders?

3 HISTORICAL REFLECTIONS Residential Child Care in Ireland has traditionally been provided in a gender segregated manner by religious orders. Residential Child Care in Ireland has traditionally been provided in a gender segregated manner by religious orders. Such reflections are also obvious in our education and health care systems today. Such reflections are also obvious in our education and health care systems today.

4 HISTORICAL REFLECTIONS Hence, the dominance of religious orders such as the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy, in teaching, and in nursing. Hence, the dominance of religious orders such as the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy, in teaching, and in nursing. In the care of children, reformatory and industrial schools have also been traditionally staffed in a gender segregated manner in Irish society, for example, Artane Boys School, Magdalene Laundries In the care of children, reformatory and industrial schools have also been traditionally staffed in a gender segregated manner in Irish society, for example, Artane Boys School, Magdalene Laundries

5 HISTORICAL REFLECTIONS Maeve Binchy has written that, in Ireland, such was the concern regarding the mixing of sexes in education that, not only were the schools segregated by gender but that religious sisters and brothers went to great lengths to ensure that geographically the boys school was placed at the opposite end of the town to the girls school,- ‘never the twain should meet.’

6 Current Climate in Residential Care The Kennedy Report (1970), significantly changed the large institutionalised form of care to the small group home in the mainstream residential care system. However, while commendable recommendations have been made by this and other reports, they have failed to address the feminisation of residential care work in Ireland.

7 CARE WORK AS WOMEN’S WORK Care work, both inside and outside of the home, is perceived as women’s work. Unpaid care work (in the home) is not valued as work (kittay ’99, Lynch’06). Care work, both inside and outside of the home, is perceived as women’s work. Unpaid care work (in the home) is not valued as work (kittay ’99, Lynch’06). Women’s role is statutorily acknowledged in Article in the Irish Constitution (1937) where this role is noted as contributing to the ‘common good of society’. Women’s role is statutorily acknowledged in Article in the Irish Constitution (1937) where this role is noted as contributing to the ‘common good of society’.

8 IMPACT OF INVESTIGATIONS ON GENDER IMBALANCE Abuse in residential care homes has compounded the feminisation of care work. Consequently, social care workers, both male and female, refer to the ‘fear factor’, i.e. the fear of allegations of abuse being made against them, and that in this regard male care workers are perceived as being more at risk from such allegations than females. Abuse in residential care homes has compounded the feminisation of care work. Consequently, social care workers, both male and female, refer to the ‘fear factor’, i.e. the fear of allegations of abuse being made against them, and that in this regard male care workers are perceived as being more at risk from such allegations than females.

9 RECENT STATISTICS IN DIT SC GRADUATES ’01/02=64 Graduates 14Males/50Females ’02/03=74 Graduates 10Males/64Females ’04/05=89 Graduates 13Males/76Females ’06/07=169 Graduates16Males/153Female

10 GENDER BREAKDOWN IN SC STUDENTS IN ITS ’03/04 SC year 1-4,=277, 14M/263Fm ’04/05 SC year 1-4,=339, 21M/318Fm ’05/06 SC year 1-4,=375, 30M/345Fm ’06/07 SC year 1-4,=293, 21M/272Fm

11 Central Applications Office Direct entry for college courses are submitted through the CAO points system DIT tutors are often invited to secondary schools to speak about our courses However, IT’s have no other control over the CAO application process In-service and Progression SC groups do have a greater male representation

12 ‘When is Mark on?’ At the age of 5 Don had experienced two unsuccessful placements in foster care, before he was admitted to residential care with his two brothers. Don never knew his real dad, however, he repeatedly asked for a ‘man keyworker’. Mark, a newly recruited social care worker quickly became a very important person in Don’s life, and much to his delight Mark became Don’s keyworker. Mark, a keen outdoor enthusiast, enjoyed fishing, mountain climbing, wild life and the flora and fauna in the country. Activities that Don wallowed in doing.

13 Don manifested with significant anti-social behaviours and low impulse control. Don’s foster mother complained that, ‘Don was impossible to control’. However, in the presence of Mark, Don was a very different child to observe. Don actively listened to Mark’s advise, and engaged in active planning for Mark coming on duty by preparing for their fishing trips. Don loved to include his brothers in all of these activities. They would spend hours collecting worms and preparing their fishing rods.

14 ‘When is Mark on?’ Don continuously asked the question, ‘when is Mark on’? He would check and recheck the roster to make sure he knew when he would see Mark again. Alternatively he would often say, when Mark’s shift was over, ‘ah, crap, everything’s crap now- when will you be on again’! Football, climbing mountains and having picnics were also favourite pastimes they shared.

15 ‘CAN MARK FOSTER ME’? Don began to ask for combat trousers and walking boots to wear on these hikes -‘like Mark’s’… while his brother asked for -‘a real walking stick, like Mark’s’… Don began to ask for combat trousers and walking boots to wear on these hikes -‘like Mark’s’… while his brother asked for -‘a real walking stick, like Mark’s’… Although Don did not like sharing Mark with other children in the care home, he would often boast that Mark was, ‘the coolest keyworker’, Don was proud to say this.

16 ‘When is Mark on?’ The implications of relationship building with a positive male role model helped Don in all his relationships, and while he was often quite intolerant of his mother, and with female care workers, Don did improve in his general well-being and in his self-esteem. This change in turn enhanced his quality of life.

17 BALANCED RELATIONSHIPS It is essential that young people who live in State care experience positive relationships that are based on gender balanced staff ratios. It is essential that young people who live in State care experience positive relationships that are based on gender balanced staff ratios. Otherwise, vulnerable needs are being further neglected, by a system of care that is attempting to redress deficits in relationships in an unbalanced manner, a system that cannot be effective in its duty to care. Otherwise, vulnerable needs are being further neglected, by a system of care that is attempting to redress deficits in relationships in an unbalanced manner, a system that cannot be effective in its duty to care.

18 SERVICE PROVIDER’S REQUEST SERVICE PROVIDER’S REQUEST In organising students placements, a request for a male student is often the first question an agency manager will ask of the college tutor. In organising students placements, a request for a male student is often the first question an agency manager will ask of the college tutor.

19 TIME AND SPACE TO ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM The absence of male social care workers in residential child care, and in social care work in Ireland must be named as a problem in order to be addressed. Time and space must be allocated to the debate of this important issue. The absence of male social care workers in residential child care, and in social care work in Ireland must be named as a problem in order to be addressed. Time and space must be allocated to the debate of this important issue.

20 Positive Gender Initiatives Recruitment campaigns have successfully taken place in teaching and nursing professions to redress the gender imbalance in these areas, consequently ratios in male staff numbers have improved Recruitment campaigns have successfully taken place in teaching and nursing professions to redress the gender imbalance in these areas, consequently ratios in male staff numbers have improved

21 SCOTTISH INITIATIVE In Scotland, the Men Can Care Project has addressed the issue of gender imbalance in residential care. This project was financially supported by Kibble and by a European Social Fund grant, which seeks to address gender imbalance in the labour market. (ESF 2004, in Smith 2005).

22 Scottish Initiative, Men Can Care 34 male trainees were recruited and trained under this programme, 32 males completed the course and worked in social care agencies. 34 male trainees were recruited and trained under this programme, 32 males completed the course and worked in social care agencies. The project evaluation highlighted difficulties with traditional recruitment methods. The project evaluation highlighted difficulties with traditional recruitment methods.

23 EVALUATION OF SCOTTISH PROJECT FINDINGS ‘UNTAPPED SOURCE OF MEN WHO WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN CHILD CARE CAREERS ‘UNTAPPED SOURCE OF MEN WHO WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN CHILD CARE CAREERS ‘MEN VALUED EXPLORATION OF MASCULINITY’ ‘MEN VALUED EXPLORATION OF MASCULINITY’ DEBATE OF MEN IN CHILD CARE SHOULD MOVE BEYOND IDEOLOGICAL POSITIONS BASED ON PATRIARCHY DEBATE OF MEN IN CHILD CARE SHOULD MOVE BEYOND IDEOLOGICAL POSITIONS BASED ON PATRIARCHY MALE TRAINING COHORTS MAY CHALLENGE EXISTING VIEWS OF GENDER IN CHILD CARE MALE TRAINING COHORTS MAY CHALLENGE EXISTING VIEWS OF GENDER IN CHILD CARE (Smith, MacLeod, Mercadante, 2005). (Smith, MacLeod, Mercadante, 2005).

24 PROACTIVE COLLOBORATION Stakeholders Collaboration This presentation calls on all major stakeholders involved in residential child care in Ireland, IASCE, IASCW, RMA, IMPACT, IAYPIC, The Children’s Rights Alliance Group and other children’s advocate groups to end the silence on gender imbalance in State care for young people in Ireland.

25 PROACTIVE COLLABORATION This will entail action in collectively lobbying the Minister and the Department of Health and Children to proactively train and recruit male social care workers in order to provide a gendered balanced approach to caring for young people living in State care in Ireland.

26 Gender Imbalance in Residential Child Care Wilful Neglect or collusion with silence?


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