Parenting in fear: Child welfare micro strategies of Nigerian parents in Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Parental engagement with British child-rearing normative practices and policies has been a source of conflict between Black African parents and professionals involved in child-safeguarding in Britain. These professionals include teachers, police, healthcare practitioners such as health visitors, nurses and doctors, and most importantly, social workers, because Children Act 1989, section 47 legally tasks social workers to investigate child-safeguarding concerns. Child-rearing norms and practices across all four UK countries are largely similar, although substantive legislative differences necessitate the application of only child welfare laws/policies of England and Wales in this study. This article focuses on Nigerian parents' experiences of British child welfare system, tensions ensuing from those interactions and how parents mitigate them. Insights are drawn from 25 in-depth semi-structured interviews and two focus group discussions with Nigerian parents living in Greater London. Honneth's recognition theory and Fraser's participatory parity undergird the conceptual framework. The findings reveal an interplay of the structural forces of race, power and cultural differentials on participants' thinking processes and actions. Thus, suggesting that social workers perpetuate the British public's misrecognition of Nigerian parents through uncritical social work practices, which are implicated in further disempowerment of Black African parents, to the detriment of the families' well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-444
Number of pages18
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
Early online date15 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • African
  • Child safeguarding
  • Experiences
  • Parents
  • Social workers
  • Strategies

Cite this