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Tracing an Ethic of Care in the Policy and Practice of the Troubled Families Programme

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Document pages: 12 pages

Abstract: Drawing upon the Trace method developed by Selma Sevenhuijsen (2004), this paper has traced the discourse constructed in two key Troubled Families Programme (TFP) policy documents through the lens of care ethics, highlighting tensions between ‘care’ and ‘justice’ orientations in the neoliberal family intervention model. It is argued that whilst the family intervention model advocated has the potential to provide families with support underpinned by an ethic of care, the TFP s managerialist tendencies also create challenges to the integration of care ethics within such services. Given that the programme s financial framework generates considerable opportunity for local variation in policy implementation, the ethics of care offer a valuable moral framework by which to evaluate local practice. Moreover, engaging with a distinctly feminist ethic of care renders visible to family support services the inequalities produced through the gendered distribution of ‘caring’ responsibilities, and highlights the need for interventions to address rather than reinforce these inequalities.

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