Working with Vulnerable Pregnant Women Who Are At Risk of Having their Babies Removed by the Child Protection Agency in New South Wales, Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Child Abuse Review, 2017, 26 (5), pp. 351 - 363
Issue Date:
2017-09-01
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Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. In this paper, midwives' experiences of working with vulnerable pregnant women who were subject to child protection orders in New South Wales, Australia, and faced the possible removal of their baby at birth, known as ‘assumption of care’, are described. A qualitative descriptive approach was used to explore the experiences of ten midwives who had been involved in some 91 episodes of assumption of care. In-depth interviews were undertaken and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data-set. Four themes were elicited that demonstrated how midwives worked with vulnerable women and Community Services during the antenatal period. These were labelled: Reporting – Taking the first step; The woman-midwife relationship remains a priority; Jumping through the ‘community service’ hoops; and Crunch time: The decision… sometimes justifiable sometimes not? Even though the three-way relationship between the woman-midwife-Community Services could be confrontational, it was essential that midwives worked in a positive way with Community Services to improve outcomes for the woman and her unborn child. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ‘Experiences of ten midwives who had been involved in some 91 episodes of assumption of care’. Key Practitioner Messages: Working effectively with Community Services is essential. Sharing information and developing multidisciplinary approaches and pathways will produce the best outcomes for vulnerable newborns and their mothers whilst at the same time supporting health and community workers to work in a cohesive manner to provide quality care. Midwives need to be supported to stay ‘woman centred’. Keeping the woman engaged in the system will help ensure the health of the foetus (baby). Further research is needed to explore the perspectives of all those involved in assumption of care. ‘Midwives need to be supported to stay ‘woman centred’’.
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