Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

‘If parents are punished for asking their children to feed goats’: supervisory neglect in sub-Saharan Africa

Laird, Siobhan

Authors



Abstract

Summary: In the United States and the United Kingdom supervisory neglect of children is premised on a construction of childhood which characterises children as essentially vulnerable and in need of constant care and protection by parents. This Western conception has been transmitted to the countries of the sub-Sahara via the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, the socio-economic and cultural context of African countries differs significantly from those of the United Kingdom and the United States. The incorporation of a Western hegemonic idea of childhood into the national laws of African countries creates fundamental contradictions in the application of criteria for adjudging the adequacy of parental supervision in the sub-Sahara. Drawing on secondary data, this article explores these contradictions and proposes alternative considerations in the conceptualisation and assessment of supervisory neglect.
Finding: The combined effects on households in the sub-Sahara of economic conditions, ascribed gender roles and the reciprocal duties held by children to assist their families, contest established indicators and thresholds for supervisory neglect. The concept of societal neglect together with the application of the Haddon Matrix provides a more apposite framework for reducing the risk of significant harm to children.
Application: All African countries, excepting Somalia, have introduced the Convention on the Rights of the Child through domestic legislation. The findings of this study are pertinent to policy-makers and social workers in the sub-Sahara. They also invite Western scholars to critically engage with dominant notions of supervisory neglect and re-appraise its applicability in cross-national contexts.

Citation

Laird, S. (2016). ‘If parents are punished for asking their children to feed goats’: supervisory neglect in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Social Work, 16(3), https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017315572037

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 14, 2014
Publication Date May 1, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 5, 2016
Journal Journal of Social Work
Print ISSN 1468-0173
Electronic ISSN 1741-296X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017315572037
Keywords Social work, child neglect, child protection, cross-cultural, cultural diversity,
international social work
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/34626
Publisher URL http://jsw.sagepub.com/content/16/3/303.full
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf

Files


supervisory neglect in africa.pdf (120 Kb)
PDF

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





You might also like



Downloadable Citations