Professor Brid Featherstone

Brid Featherstone is Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield. She worked as a social worker and team manager before becoming a full-time academic. She has an international reputation in the areas of gender, fathers and child protection. Her co-authored book (with Sue White and Kate Morris) Re-imagining hild Protection: towards humane social work with families has been highly influential and an article with White and Morris 'A marriage made in hell: early intervention meets child protection’, British Journal of Social Work, 44, 1735-1749 won the Kay McDougall prize for article of the year in 2015.


This presentation explores key features of the current child protection policies across a range of countries. and articulates the need for a different approach. It draws from the social model as applied in the fields of disability and mental health, to begin to sketch out more hopeful and progressive possibilities for children, families and communities. The social model specifically draws attention to the economic, environmental and cultural barriers faced by people with differing levels of (dis)ability, but has not been used to think about ‘child protection’, an area of work that is dominated by a focus on risk and is highly individualistic in its focus. . This area has paid limited attention to the barriers to ensuring children and young people are cared for safely within families and communities, and the social determinants of much of the harms they experience have not been recognised because of the focus on individualised risk factors.

The presentation will highlight key ideas for policy and practice based upon the analysis developed in the book, Protecting Children: A Social Model by Featherstone, B., Gupta, A., Morris, K. and White S. to be published by Policy Press in 2018.
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