The mental health consumer movement initiated the development of the recovery approach, in which self-determination, human rights and the living of a hopeful life superseded merely symptom management for people living with mental illnesses and addictions. To what degree has this reimagined path to recovery shaped social work practice? In this paper we analyse the perspectives of eleven social workers doing child protection work in Aotearoa New Zealand. We examine also the accounts of thirteen parents living with mental illness or addiction who have been involved in child custody investigations in Aotearoa New Zealand. We ask whether the social workers understand recovery as possible for such parents, and if so, how they see it occurring. We found that there is a substantial difference between the way the social workers and the parents conceived of such ‘recovery’. While parents' descriptions of recovery reflected those of the mental health consumer movement, social workers tended to operate with a focus on clinical intervention, symptom and risk management.
Children and Youth Services Review – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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