a1 Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELSIS) incorporating the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC). firstname.lastname@example.org
The increasing predominance of practices associated with risk and ‘risk management’ within social work has been noted in recent years. Some writers have observed threats to fundamental values of social work and cite the problem of risk-aversion and excessive caution. In residential child care settings in Scotland, the author and colleagues noted an increasing problem of ‘risk averse’ practice in relation to very basic and nonrisky outdoor activities such as trips to the beach or cycling. This article gives an account of various policy and guidance responses that were developed as regulatory authorities began to recognise the dangers of over-protection and the growth of written ‘risk assessments’ within small-scale group homes that were intended to provide ‘homely’ care for children and young people. The article notes the contribution of training in social pedagogy, which has recently been undertaken by some residential staff in Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom. One of the impacts of this training has been a reported decrease in risk-averse practice including a greater willingness to undertake outdoor activities. The reason why the adoption of a social pedagogic approach might challenge risk-averse practice is tentatively suggested.
c1 address for correspondence: Ian Milligan, University of Strathclyde, 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow G13 1PP, United Kingdom.