How Nurture Protects Children: Nurture and narrative in work with children, young people and families
Jim Rose London: Responsive Solutions 2010 150 pages 14.99 [pounds sterling]
This is a book with a message. It highlights current flaws and limitations in the way we work with vulnerable children and young people. Rose sets out to provoke reflective thinking within organisations and among managers and practitioners--including social workers and educators--about how we can keep relationships at the centre of what we do. This requires less bureaucracy and more creativity in all services for looked after children, children in need and those engaged with youth justice. Rose emphasises the important role of residential workers, foster carers and teachers in providing relationships. He advocates the use of nurture groups as a means of protecting relationships in schools, as well as urging us to explore how this approach can be extended into other domains.
This is not a theory-based book, although the principles of attachment theory are specifically referred to. In this sense, I felt the title was a bit misleading. We don't learn how nurture protects children; the reader is referred to other sources if they want to explore the science underlying the main thesis. Instead, the author uses his own experience, based on a long career of working with vulnerable children and young people.
This central message is presented in a clear and varied way, with the more negative aspects of services dwelt upon at some length. I suspect that few practitioners or managers would disagree; what is less clear is how to address these flaws. It is easy to be aware of the limitations of bureaucracy and inspection, harder to design overarching services that can address these limitations at the same time as managing restrictive budgets. Rose provides some answers to this dilemma through his discussion of nurture groups, with an emphasis on providing services wherein reflection and curiosity are...