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Parental help-seeking and the moral order. Notes for policy-makers and parenting practitioners on 'the first port of call' and 'no one to turn to'.

Research output: Other contribution



The topic 'help-seeking' is of international interest. However, there is only a very limited literature concerning help-seeking in child welfare and a distinct dearth of studies that have examined the social organisation of parents' decisions to seek help. Recent developments in child welfare services in England and Wales have seen the introduction of a raft of initiatives that aim to deliver parenting support to a broader range of parents; however, these initiatives are not well grounded in an evidence base concerning parental help-seeking. Focusing on the organisation of talk-in-interaction in interviews and focus groups, this study examined parents' normative and inter-subjective understandings about help-seeking. The study found that when considering the welfare problems of parenting (variously described as 'domestic', 'normal' or 'on the home front'), participants routinely made relevant the binary 'inside/outside' the family, indicating the central (normative) relevance of the category 'family' for this kind of support. Outside (professional) help was very much a residual option, only to be considered on the basis of 'no-one to turn to'. The findings are discussed in relation to national strategies that seek to normalise support for parenting and issues of international relevance to do with professional identification and diagnosis of need.

Bibliographic note

RAE_import_type : Internet publication RAE_uoa_type : Social Work and Social Policy & Administration