Growing attention has focused on the education of children in the child welfare system, particularly those in foster care, but ninety-two percent of children in the child welfare system stay with their parents and their educational needs receive little attention.
Succeeding Together? is an institutional ethnography that analyses front-line accounts from mothers, teachers, and child welfare workers to explore the educational issues facing abused and neglected children outside of foster care. Kelly Gallagher-Mackay examines the complex policy framework and underlying assumptions that shape the practice of collective responsibility for this vulnerable group, shining a light on the implications of their status in-between private and public responsibility. Gallagher-Mackay breaks down collective responsibility into three areas: surveillance and the duty to report, child welfare’s poorly defined responsibility to provide educational supports, and the privatized nature of teachers’ professional responsibility for caring. The involvement of child welfare represents a public judgment that there should be strong, proactive, and coordinated intervention to ensure protection and well-being. Succeeding Together? reveals significant shortfalls in coordination and commitment to the well-being of society’s most vulnerable.