Whose agenda? Issues of power and relationship when listening to looked-after young people

McLeod, Alison (2007) Whose agenda? Issues of power and relationship when listening to looked-after young people. Child and Family Social Work, 12 (3). pp. 278-286. Full text not available from this repository.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2007.00493.x


Listening to children and young people is for social workers a legal requirement, it is also believed to lead to better outcomes and is increasingly promoted in policy. The practice of listening is, however, rarely straightforward, and this is particularly the case with socially excluded groups. As a result, the voices of the marginalized are less likely to be heard. In this paper the author draws on interview data from a research study into communication between social workers and looked-after children for the light it sheds on why effective dialogue with disaffected young people can be hard to achieve. It is argued that much that appears unsuccessful in an interaction can be understood in terms of power plays, with young people resisting the adult's agenda and trying to impose their own. True listening to disaffected young people requires time, so that a trusting relationship can be developed. It also demands an acceptance that the adult agenda may be flawed and a willingness to consider alternative possibilities. This can challenge the preconceptions, not just of individual workers, but of agencies and of national policy-makers.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Child and Family Social Work
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1365-2206
Departments: Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS) > Children, Youth, Families and Community Work
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 15:52
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 20:01
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2751
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