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Young people and “county lines”: a contextual and social account

Young people and “county lines”: a contextual and social account This paper aims to present an analysis of a “county lines” safeguarding partnership in a large city region of England. A critical analysis of current literature and practice responses to “county lines” is followed by the presentation of an analytical framework that draws on three contextual and social theories of (child) harm. This framework is applied to the partnership work to ask: are the interconnected conditions of criminal exploitation of children via “county lines” understood?; do interventions target the contexts of harm?; and is social and institutional harm acknowledged and addressed?Design/methodology/approachThe analytical framework is applied to a data set collected by the author throughout a two-year study of the “county lines” partnership. Qualitative data collected by the author and quantitative data published by the partnership are coded and thematically analysed in NVivo against the analytic framework.FindingsCritical tensions are surfaced in the praxis of multi-agency, child welfare responses to “county lines” affected young people. Generalising these findings to the child welfare sector at large, it is proposed that the contextual dynamics of child harm via “county lines” must be understood in a broader sense, including how multi-agency child welfare practices contribute to the harm experienced by young people.Originality/valueThere are limited peer-reviewed analyses of child welfare responses to “county lines”. This paper contributes to that limited scholarship, extending the analysis by adopting a critical analytic framework to a regional county lines partnership at the juncture of future national, child welfare responses to “county lines”. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Children's Services Emerald Publishing

Young people and “county lines”: a contextual and social account

Journal of Children's Services , Volume 16 (1): 17 – Feb 17, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1746-6660
DOI
10.1108/jcs-10-2020-0063
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to present an analysis of a “county lines” safeguarding partnership in a large city region of England. A critical analysis of current literature and practice responses to “county lines” is followed by the presentation of an analytical framework that draws on three contextual and social theories of (child) harm. This framework is applied to the partnership work to ask: are the interconnected conditions of criminal exploitation of children via “county lines” understood?; do interventions target the contexts of harm?; and is social and institutional harm acknowledged and addressed?Design/methodology/approachThe analytical framework is applied to a data set collected by the author throughout a two-year study of the “county lines” partnership. Qualitative data collected by the author and quantitative data published by the partnership are coded and thematically analysed in NVivo against the analytic framework.FindingsCritical tensions are surfaced in the praxis of multi-agency, child welfare responses to “county lines” affected young people. Generalising these findings to the child welfare sector at large, it is proposed that the contextual dynamics of child harm via “county lines” must be understood in a broader sense, including how multi-agency child welfare practices contribute to the harm experienced by young people.Originality/valueThere are limited peer-reviewed analyses of child welfare responses to “county lines”. This paper contributes to that limited scholarship, extending the analysis by adopting a critical analytic framework to a regional county lines partnership at the juncture of future national, child welfare responses to “county lines”.

Journal

Journal of Children's ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 17, 2021

Keywords: Race; Child welfare; Extra-familial harm; County lines; Social harm

References