Policy Press

Empowering practice?

A critical appraisal of the family group conference approach

By Carol Lupton and Paul Nixon


Jul 28, 1999

Page count

232 pages




216 x 138 mm


Policy Press
Empowering practice?

This innovative and timely book examines the nature and meaning of 'empowerment' in child welfare and protection, using the family group conference (FGC) approach to decision making as an example. In response to the growing clamour for 'evidence-based practice', the book addresses the central question of how the idea of empowerment can be operationalised and evaluated.

One of the aims of FGCs is to empower children and their families by enabling them more effectively to participate in the decision-making process and by affording them greater control over the outcomes of that process. Empowering practice? critically assesses the available evidence on the empowerment potential of FGCs and examines the implications of the approach for professionals, their agencies and the children and families involved.

Empowering practice? is essential reading for academics and professionals working in a wide range of health, education and social care areas.

"This book provides a welcome intellectual analysis of empowerment. There is a comprehensive literature review, and the topic is located in its policy and practice context with a sound theoretical perspective ... it is to be hoped that it will find its way onto social work courses, and into post-qualification training ... the book should be helpful in advancing a number of very important debates in children and families social work." Community Care

"Empowering practice? is a timely and important book [which] analyses the concept of empowerment with particular reference to child welfare. It is also a measured and comprehensive review of the national and international literature on family group conferences. This balanced book will be of value to academics and practitioners alike." Christine Hallett

Carol Lupton is Director of the Social Services Research and Information Unit, University of Portsmouth.

Paul Nixon is Commissioning Officer, Family Group Conferences, Social Services Department, Hampshire County Council.

Contents: The dilemmas of empowerment; Partnership and empowerment in children's services; Lessons from New Zealand; Empowering professionals?; International perspectives; Empowerment in process?; Assessing outcomes in child welfare Martin Stevens; Empowering outcomes?; Conclusion.

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