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    Cross-National Understandings of the Purpose of Professional-Child Relationships: Towards a Social Pedagogical Approach

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    International Journal of Social Pedagogy

    UCL Press

    Social pedagogy, relationships, instrumentality, personal self, children in care

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        A reassertion of the value of relationships in UK practice with children in care is underway after a period when outcome focused work obscured their importance. But little is specified in the training requirements for foster carers or residential care workers about how to construct and maintain high quality relationships. This paper presents evidence from a study of understandings of professional-child relationships in three continental European countries that are informed by social pedagogy and from social pedagogues working in England. Four purposes of relationships are identified that hinge on questions of whether the relationship is about facilitating another objective such as building children’s skills, participation in society, taking action on their behalf, or about being together in an ethical encounter. The paper then discusses the role of trust in relationships and the deployment of the self. It concludes by identifying four practical indicators for social pedagogic professional-child relationships. They should be: present and future orientated; founded on practical actions; they require awareness of how the worker uses their ‘self’; and a supportive organisational environment.

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        Most cited references 3

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        Reading Bauman for Social Work

         Mark Smith (2011)
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          Participation of children and young people living in institutional care

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            Relationship-Based Social Work and Its Compatibility with the Person-Centred Approach: Principled versus Instrumental Perspectives


              Author and article information

              Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, UK
              Author notes
              Correspondence to: C. Cameron, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, 27/28 Woburn Square, London WC1H OAA, United Kingdom. Email: c.cameron@

              *Dr Claire Cameron is Reader in Education at Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London where she has carried out numerous studies of the children’s workforce, many of them cross-national, and studies of children in public care. She is a leading figure in the development of social pedagogic approaches to practice with children and young people in the UK.

              International Journal of Social Pedagogy
              UCL Press (UK )
              1 January 2013
              : 2
              : 1
              : 3-16
              Copyright © 2013 The Author(s)

              This work is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-NC-SA) 3.0, which permits re-use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided any modifications of this material in anyway is distributed under this same license, is not used for commercial purposes, and the original author and source are credited

              Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 26, Pages: 15


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