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Child Language Brokering

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Presentation on theme: "Child Language Brokering"— Presentation transcript:

1 Child Language Brokering
voice power representation Children, Young People and Adults: Extending the Conversation 5 September 2012 Siân E Lucas

2 The research project To explore aspects of brokering in social welfare contexts from two view points: Young people Social Workers To explore the nature of languages used to construct brokering by various actors.

3 What is child language brokering?


5 The three ‘circles’ of English
Crystal (2009)

6 Bilingualism

7 Key social work legislation
Children Act (1989) Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (1999) Every Child Matters (2003) The Victoria Climbié Inquiry Laming (2003) Children Act (2004) The Munro Review (2011) Welfare of the child to be paramount Ascertaining child’s wishes and feelings Avoidance of delay Parental responsibility Due consideration to religion, ‘race’, culture and language Local authorities’ duties to ‘children in need’

8 Legislation London Child Protection Procedures
Local Safeguarding Boards Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000) Human Right Act (1998)




12 12

13 Young People Who for: parents, friends, strangers, family members, extended family, teachers, professionals. Where: home, GP, hospital, school, jobcentre, benefit office, shops, bank education welfare officer, receptionists. How: letters, phone calls, in person. Initiation: planned, spontaneous. Experience: variety, significance, effect. Purpose: emotional, linguistic support, empathy. Benefit: long term, duty, integration, economic. Advanced knowledge: to advocate for parents and to navigate social welfare system & wider society. Suggest that CLB promotes familial integration. Children have more autonomy than assumed - challenges the assumption that children are ‘passive’ brokers.

14 At the… My mum needs papers. Are the paper alright? What you need?
I asked Carlos to tell me what was going on in the picture - Carlos: ok it’s like heh, we’re going t:o like jobcentre and the man, the girl said () ‘what you need’ ‘my mum need e, if the paper is alright, the () if she give you the right paper ’. Then he said alright yeah Researcher: so that’s you, the small one Carlos: yeah it’s me Researcher: and then that’s your mum Carlos: (pointing at image) yeah and that’s the landlor no the jobcentre Researcher: the jobcentre, ok and then? (points to writing) Carlos: Saturday, and I don’t want to go Researcher: alrig(h)t so you’re cro(h)ss because you wanna b:e, what do you want to be doing Carlos: [heh Researcher: instead? Carlos: er ↑sleep chilling heh

15 Iqra Researcher: … and do you ever get anything for it; so do they say oh thank you and give you something or- Iqra: yeah, er one day I went to, I told you about town, that shop and she said do you need Researcher: [yeah Iqra: anything, I say yeah, ice cream heh, heh, she say Researcher: [HEH HEH Iqra: ok and she buy.

16 Mirium

17 Hanna

18 Initial Findings: Social Workers
Social workers’ reluctance to talk about CLB. Argue CLB shouldn’t happen BUT….exceptions. Knowledge: institutional & instinctive threshold. Frustration. Complexities of the social work task. Admit (yet blame) Guilt Acceptance Resolution Denial The resolution cycle

19 Social work Service deficiency (make do, no other option).
Challenges ideas about normalised childhood – responsibilities, burden. In the ‘real world’ and in an ‘ideal world’. The ‘bad social worker’. Shifted onus - parents inability.

20 Non English language speakers
Universal language of social work facilitates essentialist thinking about CLB, however CLB is not an all-encompassing entity. CLB Focus on lack of English neglects important issues such as: access to and quality of services. Contests assumed privilege of bilingualism – in a social work scenario children aren’t supposed to use it, hence it can also be a disadvantage. Marginalised group. A further area where minority groups are discriminated, this is heighted as CLB takes place in the sensitive and often complex arena of social work. Non English language speakers Legislation isn’t applied mechanically. Legislation is of limited value if there is no support to implicate it. Pressure on social workers to limit their time with non-English speakers. Legislation How flexible is social work? Assumption of the conventional social work route to support all families. Association with deviancy – is it ever possible to find ‘real’ perspectives on CLB. Questions the assumed relationship of the child at the centre of intervention. Is CLB indirect discrimination? Social Work

21 Final thoughts: CLB does occur – hidden area of practice.
Pressure on non-English speakers to learn English to receive services. Likely to continue. Difficult to measure impact. Small tragedy in larger social work space.

22 
“…questioning the ostensibly unquestionable premises of our way of life is arguably the most urgent of services we owe our fellow humans and ourselves.” Bauman (1998) Siân E Lucas

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