Residential child care and mental health practitioners working together

Smith, Mark and Carroll, Denise (2015) Residential child care and mental health practitioners working together. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 14 (3). ISSN 1478-1840

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This article reports on research and professional development activities across six European countries, including Scotland, looking at the boundary issues that arise when children require both residential child care and mental health services. It locates Scottish findings within a wider European context. The intention of the project was to enhance mutual understanding and improve inter-professional working between the two services through the development of a joint training programme. However, the research identifies widespread and persistent divergences in the status and respective expectations of the two groups of professionals. It is suggested that these differences are not readily resolved through simple exhortations for better inter-professional working but may reflect more fundamental divides in status but also in professional knowledges. A conclusion that might be drawn is that residential workers cannot rely on the kind of expert support they might like from mental health professionals and hence have to find ways of addressing children's mental health difficulties within contexts of everyday care.

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