Book review : Dilemmas and decision making in residential childcare by Abbi Jackson

Johnson, Dan (2023) Book review : Dilemmas and decision making in residential childcare by Abbi Jackson. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 22 (2). ISSN 2976-9353 (

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Anyone who has worked in residential care will know that it is full of frequent, varied, and difficult decisions to make. These can occur in intense and stressful situations where decisions can have severe implications. In such situations there can be little chance to carefully think things through. This can place both young people and those looking after them in at least difficult, and at worst dangerous, situations. Jackson’s book offers part of a solution. The book is not an academic study of the ethics or morals involved in providing residential care. Instead, it is a pragmatic and practical look at many examples of dilemmas and decisions. It provides numerous case study scenarios, exploring the decisions made and the reasons for these. It gives practitioners what is often missing in practice: a chance to think. Importantly, Jackson does not rigidly state what is right and wrong. She instead encourages reflection and critical thinking, which is so important in residential childcare. What this book has, that many others do not, is a comprehensive range of examples of practice and exploration of the thinking and reasoning of workers in these difficult situations. By exploring these examples readers can gain many ideas and possible strategies they could apply themselves.

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