Stigma by association and its impact on community organisations in Australian child protection systems

Sharynne Hamilton, Valerie Braithwaite

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Abstract

    Community workers play an important role in providing support services to parents and families whose children may be placed in out-of-home care by child protection authorities. This paper shows how the stigma attached to parents spreads to discredit community workers who are assisting them and results in stigma by association. Stigma by association was inferred from interviews with 19 community workers from nine different organizations. These workers reported being stereotyped as rejecting the principle of acting in the best interests of the child, treated in a discriminatory and hostile manner, robbed of status recognition, and undermined in their capacity to do their jobs. Most showed a degree of resistance and managed to maintain their commitment to parents and families. Institutional failure to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of community workers, however, undermined the capacity of the child protection authority to map out new pathways for family unification and safety for children.
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyRegNet
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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