Assessing the Influence of Religious Beliefs and Practices on Parenting Capacity: The Challenges for Social Work Practitioners

Posted: 4 Jan 2010  

Jan Horwath

University of Sheffield

Janet Lees

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 2010

Abstract

The 1989 Children Act emphasizes the importance of giving due consideration to the child's religious persuasion. Yet, government assessment guidance provides practitioners with very little assistance in terms of establishing ways in which religious beliefs and practices influence family life. This is concerning at a time when considerable attention is being paid in the media to the negative influences of religious beliefs on parenting and Britain is becoming increasingly diverse. Drawing on a literature review of seventy-seven papers on religion and parenting, consideration is given to some of the challenges encountered by social workers when assessing the influence of religious beliefs on parenting. These challenges include: a lack of clarity with regard to what is meant by ‘religion’; small-scale research studies with limited scope; a focus on perceptions of the influence of religious beliefs; disregard for both social workers' own views about religion and the ways in which these views are likely to influence practice. Moreover, poor preparation on social work training programmes and minimal support from supervisors mean that practitioners do not feel confident exploring religious beliefs and practices with families. All these factors lead to a significant influence in many families' lives being ignored.

Keywords: Anti-discriminatory practice, children in need, religion, children and families, assessment

Suggested Citation

Horwath, Jan and Lees, Janet, Assessing the Influence of Religious Beliefs and Practices on Parenting Capacity: The Challenges for Social Work Practitioners (January 2010). British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 40, Issue 1, pp. 82-99, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1530142 or http://dx.doi.org/bcn116

Jan Horwath (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield

17 Mappin Street
Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DT
United Kingdom

Janet Lees

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
535