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dc.contributor.authorKeddell, Emily
dc.identifier.citationKeddell, E. (2016). Interpreting children’s best interests: needs, attachment and decision-making. Journal of Social Work, 1–10. doi:10.1177/1468017316644694en
dc.description.abstractSummary Many decisions in the child welfare arena revolve around the concept of ‘children’s best interests’, but determining what they actually consist of is contestable and subject to conflicting criteria. This article describes the content of ‘children’s best interests’ discourses used by social workers and parents as part of decision-making rationales. Findings This study found that the construction of children’s ‘best interests’ was underpinned by concepts related to children’s needs. Needs were framed as emotional needs best met by family relationships, and theorised primarily using attachment theory. This resulted in decisions that tended to favour stability over change, as children’s distress on separation, indiscriminate affection, and difficult behaviours were interpreted as evidence of attachment problems that should lead to decisions to retain stable caregiving arrangements. The use of attachment theory was not straightforward, and illustrates the uneasy juxtapositions of conflicting discourses impacting on child welfare decision-making, particularly the influence of policy orientation. Applications These conflicts highlight the contested child welfare domain, and the contextualised interpretations required of attachment theories in decision-making contexts in order to make sound decisions for specific children. Implications for practice and education are discussed.en_NZ
dc.publisherSAGE Publicationsen_NZ
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Social Worken_NZ
dc.rightsAttribution 4.0 International*
dc.subjectAttachment theoryen_NZ
dc.subjectbest interestsen_NZ
dc.subjectchild abuseen_NZ
dc.subjectdecision makingen_NZ
dc.subjectsocial constructionismen_NZ
dc.subjectchild and family welfareen_NZ
dc.subjectchild protectionen_NZ
dc.titleInterpreting children's best interests: needs, attachment and decision-makingen_NZ
dc.typeJournal Articleen_NZ
otago.schoolSociology, Gender and Social Worken_NZ
otago.openaccessAbstract Onlyen_NZ
dc.rights.statement© The Author(s) 2016en_NZ
dc.description.refereedPeer Revieweden_NZ
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Attribution 4.0 International
Except where otherwise noted, this item's licence is described as Attribution 4.0 International