How do workers around the world balance risk and support to ensure that their practice meets the ever-changing needs of children and their families? Renowned authors Marie Connolly and Kate Morris join forces to explore the frameworks and ideas which have shaped contemporary child and family welfare practice. From definitions of abuse to assessment models, they examine the knowledge base which lies at the heart of safe and effective statutory practice with children and families. Drawing on examples from a range of English-speaking jurisdictions, the book explores: - How to engage families, including participatory approaches and the role of the Family Group Conference - How to create positive out-of-home environments for children, discussing foster, kinship and residential care and adoption settings - How to improve professional decision-making through supervision and other organizational frameworks. At a time when child welfare systems across the globe are undergoing review, Understanding Child and Family Welfare provides a timely exploration of the reform agendas which will shape future practice. With sharp analytic insights into the difficulties and dilemmas which characterize this field, it is fundamental reading for all students studying child and family support or child protection, as well as for practitioners working within children and family settings.