Research Output
Jumping Through Hoops: Families' Experiences of Pre-birth Child Protection
  This chapter considers the mobilities of families subject to child protection involvement at the threshold of the birth of a new baby. The author presents data arising from an ethnographic study of child protection social work with unborn babies. This study aimed to draw near to social work practice within the Scottish context through mobile research methods and included non-participant observations of a range of child protection meetings with expectant families. Research interviews were sought with expectant mothers and fathers, social workers and the chair persons of Pre-birth Child Protection Case Conferences. Case conferences are formal administrative meetings designed to consider the risks to children, including unborn children. This chapter focusses on the experiences of expectant parents of navigating the child protection involvement with their as yet unborn infant. The strategies that parents adopted to steer a course through the multiple possibilities in relation to the future care of their infant are explored here. Three major strategies: resistance, defeatism and holding on are considered. These emerged as means by which expectant parents responded to social work involvement and which enabled their continued forwards motion towards an uncertain future.

  • Date:

    25 October 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Emerald Publishing

  • DOI:


  • Funders:

    Economic and Social Research Council


Critchley, A. (2019). Jumping Through Hoops: Families' Experiences of Pre-birth Child Protection. In Families in Motion: Ebbing and Flowing through Space and Time, (135-154). Bingley: Emerald.


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