The book has had positive reviews from several publications, some of which are included here:

Community Care (March 2009) – Charlotte Pearson

★★★★ – “a must-have for all those working with, planning for or studying the health and social care of children and their families”

Read the full review

Higher Education Academy (March 2009) – Margaret Simms

“I would recommend highly to teachers and higher level students studying to work in roles where expertise in multi-professional practice are much needed.”

Read the full review

Children & Young People Now (10 September 2009)

Helen Goody, assistant director for themes co-ordination, Centre for Excellence and Outcomes (C4EO)

“This book is a collection of contributions from a range of experts who work or have worked in the key professions that are crucial in delivering the Every Child Matters framework. Each chapter covers one of these key professions: those working in schools, early years and children’s centres, health, playwork, and social work. The chapters set out the background for each workforce sector, its current challenges, implications for integrated working, plus issues, dilemmas and future trends. Most importantly, the sector’s contributions to the five Every Child Matters outcomes are also given.

This is one of the most useful and clearly written publications I have seen on where we are in relation to the children’s workforce and the journey towards integration of services to meet the needs of children and their families. The importance of improving outcomes for children in the early years sector comes through strongly and the tension between children’s centres providing all services and more targeted services was very familiar.

I was particularly interested in some of the points raised about evidence-based practice; why it is important and some of the reasons for taking it into account when making decisions. In general, practice is ahead of policy and we have to look to what professionals are currently doing and learn from this. This book is an extremely clear account of current practice, which I know I will return to during the course of my work.”

Sarah Hosken –

Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood

Volume 10 Number 3 2009


Book Reviews

Making Sense of Every Child Matters: multi-professional practice guidance

This reader contains a collection of pieces by a range of professionals. It is edited by Dr Richard Barker, a social worker and teacher with extensive experience of working with services for children and families in the UK and overseas. Each chapter outlines the ways in which a particular sector has put the Every Child Matters agenda into practice. The authors present honest accounts of how their sectors have interpreted the directives and effected change over time. They also outline the challenges and constraints faced by their professions as a result of new government policy, entrenched professional traditions and ongoing demographic stories. In each section the authors suggest possible ways forward and begin to chart future actions. The guidance is specifically about English policy. Richard Barker goes through the history of legislation and highlights a cyclical story of tragedies, policies and changes. In this way, the book begins with the background to Every Child Matters and the Children’s Act of 2004. It goes on to describe how the visions enshrined in the Act are in the process of becoming a reality on the ground. Every author in the collection affirms the advantages of integrated working and suggests how this might be effectively achieved. Integrated working is the descendant of multi-professional working, which failed to fully consider the needs of the child. This book is an excellent resource, not only for professionals in England, but for any nation or body in the process of moving towards fully integrated working.

I read the book from the perspective of an early years education and care professional. The fact that for most of my career I have been working in and supporting early years settings posed no barrier to my ability to access the different sections of the book, including those on nursing and social work. On the contrary, I was struck by the common values and aims between the services as well as the recurring issues and challenges faced by each sector.

I would recommend this book to undergraduate and postgraduate early years students. The book is clearly laid out and separated into disciplinary themes. It contains useful tables, diagrams, references and case studies. It is a user-friendly tome, with shaded boxes of key points, scenarios to consider, descriptions of professional roles and chronological tables. The reader does much more than give information, however. It describes the living story of the Every Child Matters implementation as one which aspiring and long-established professionals can play a part in and shape. It refers to Every Child Matters as a moving force, creating a different pattern in every local authority as it is interpreted over time and in different contexts.

There are a growing number of practical guides to Every Child Matters as well as a plethora of student readers with dedicated chapters on the subject. Richard Barker’s edition includes a uniquely integrated approach to the subject of integrated working. The multi-perspective structure of the book matches its key theme of integration. In other words, both form and content support an integrated approach. There is no hierarchy of chapters, just as there is no hierarchy of professionals involved with children. The child remains securely centre stage. This reader contains in-depth accounts of how organisations have moved towards Every Child Matters from a range of different professional backgrounds. I believe Barker’s edition represents a significant step in the right direction for students and professionals. The book serves as a signpost for each profession to look beyond its own way of working and encounter other models. It represents a meeting of different professionals and perspectives on a common theme and begins to develop a united language – an integrated language for effective integrated working.

Where could this new integrated textbook be located? Does it belong to the field of child welfare, social work, nursing, playwork or early childhood care and education? I suggest that this

book requires a new common field to be named: the Field of Integrated Working, for students on inter-professional courses. There now exist a growing number of multi-professional or integrated courses designed to support aspiring professionals to collaborate effectively for the good of every child. An example of this is the ‘transformed curriculum’ for health professionals developed by Mayers et al (2006) at the University of Cape Town. With the same motivating values, this collection of succinct perspectives on Every Child Matters supports the early years workforce to work in a skilled, systematic and synchronised way in order to most effectively support every child to remain healthy and safe and to ensure that every child enjoys their childhood, achieves well, makes a positive contribution and achieves economic well-being.

Sarah Hosken

London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

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