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Free social work webinar: Beyond the toxic trio

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Time: 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Price: free
Speaker(s): Dr Rick Hood

Free social work webinar: Beyond the toxic trio

Beyond the toxic trio: new evidence of demand typologies in child protection, with Dr Rick Hood, Kingston University and St Georges, University of London

Wednesday 28th October 2020, 2.00 - 3.30pm


The term 'toxic trio' refers to the idea that children are at much higher risk of experiencing abuse and neglect when certain factors combine in the family environment, namely domestic violence, parental mental illness (and/or learning disability), and parental substance misuse. Despite concerns about its negative overtones, the term has become widely used in child protection policy and practice, and is now embedded in many of the institutional and legal contexts in which child welfare assessments and interventions are carried out. Yet there is surprisingly little evidence to substantiate the concept of the toxic trio. In this seminar, Dr Rick Hood presents results from a comprehensive study of children's social care data in six English local authorities, which shows the extent to which different assessed needs and risks were actually found in families receiving statutory services and which clusters were associated with intervention at higher operational/legal thresholds. The findings raise significant questions about the accuracy and usefulness of the toxic trio as a way of conceptualising risks to children. Some suggestions as to how the sector might use typologies of demand to inform Early Help and community-based prevention will be made to prompt debate and discussion.

System conditions and inequalities in children's social care

System conditions and inequalities is a large two-year research project on children's social care funded by the Nuffield Foundation and in partnership between Kingston and St Georges, and the University of Huddersfield. To find out more about the study, and to download summaries and reports, please visit the the project website.

If you have any questions about the seminar or the underlying research, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


Booking is essential to attend this event.

For further information about this event:

Contact: Anastasiya Stravolemova
Tel: 0208 725 4735