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Children and Families with Long Term and Complex Needs Who are they and where do they live? Eurochild Conference Malta - November 2007 Dr John Devaney.

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Presentation on theme: "Children and Families with Long Term and Complex Needs Who are they and where do they live? Eurochild Conference Malta - November 2007 Dr John Devaney."— Presentation transcript:

1 Children and Families with Long Term and Complex Needs Who are they and where do they live? Eurochild Conference Malta - November 2007 Dr John Devaney and Dr Trevor Spratt Queens University Belfast Preventing social exclusion of children and young people in Europe: participation and early intervention

2 The State We Are In In the UK we are have a population of over 60 million people (11.5 million children) – yet we live on a small land mass Policy is directed from central government in Westminster although there are 3 devolved regional governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales The UK has the sixth largest world economy and eleventh highest GDP per capita But levels of relative child poverty are still very high (approx 2.4 million children)

3 Every child deserves the best possible start to life, to be supported as they develop and to be given opportunities to achieve their full potential. Children who grow up in poverty experience disadvantage that effects not only their own childhood, but also their experience as adults and the life chances of their own children. Support for todays disadvantaged children will therefore help to ensure a more flexible economy tomorrow. Gordon Brown Chancellor of the Exchequer (2003: Section 5.4)

4 The Effects of Adversity At any one time, children in public care make up about 0.5 per cent of all children. But one quarter of the adult prison population has been in the children's care system at some point. Around a third of children in public care end up as NEETs (not in employment, education or training). The daughter of a teenage mother is twice as likely to become a teenage mother compared with a daughter of an older mother. Boys with a convicted father are over three times more at risk of being convicted of a crime than those with a non-convicted father. 125,000 children have a parent in custody - and 65 per cent of children with parents in prison go on to offend. People with no qualifications are seven times more likely to be unemployed and five times more likely to be low paid than people with higher education. More than half of female drug users have dependent children. 41 per cent of problem drug-using parents had a child who had repeated a school year. Tony Blair (2006)

5 Current Government Conceptualization of Issue Link between childhood experiences and adult outcomes Multiplicity of problems in childhood Interaction of problems may be more than additive The problems tend to be both persistent and pernicious Children as an Investment Future orientated

6 New Labour has moved towards a progressively more targeted approach to child welfare in the last twenty years, from a generalised focus on social justice and inequality centred on social class and family, through a narrower focus on social exclusion and now to a more utilitarian focus on social investment. Fawcett, Featherstone and Goddard (2004: 159)

7 Looking Back to Look Forward

8 The Relationship Between Childhood Experiences and Adult Social Exclusion (Feinstein et al., 2007)

9 The Relationship Between Childhood Experiences and Adult Social Exclusion Odds ratios for family risk if occupation of father is SEG 5 (Feinstein et al., 2007)

10 The Effect of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Adult Outcomes Recurrent physical abuse Recurrent emotional abuse Contact sexual abuse An alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household An incarcerated household member Someone who is chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalised or suicidal Mother is treated violently One or no parents Emotional or physical neglect The ACE study

11 Number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE Score) WomenMenTotal 034.5%38.0%36.1% (36.1%) 124.5%27.9%26.0% (62.1%) 215.5%16.4%15.9% (78.0%) 310.3%8.6%9.5% (87.5%) 4 or more15.2%9.2%12.5% (100%) Cumulative Effect of Adversity

12 The Effect of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Adult Outcomes

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14 Looking Forward to Look Back

15 What should Governments do? Individuals V Communities Targeted V Universal Prevention V Remedial

16 Individual Community Universal Targeted Preventative Remedial

17 Who are these children and Where do they live?

18 The Challenge Currently no database to identify who these children are Options: - set up a database - use other indicators as a proxy

19 Research Question Are the children most at risk of social exclusion in adulthood already known to social services?

20 Northern Ireland Longitudinal Survey Linking of administrative and statistical datasets Comparable to studies in England and Wales, and Scotland Based on 2001 census data, birth and death registrations and demographic data derived from health registrations 500,000 individuals included (28% of the Northern Ireland population) Inclusion of social care data is unique within the UK

21 Children and Families known to NILS Children and Families in deprivation Children and Families known to Social Services

22 Challenges Practicalities Stigma Moral Hazard

23 Future Intentions If families with long term and complex needs are disproportionately found in the population known to social services then…. We would intend to more closely examine the operational silos more closely i.e. Looked After Children, Children on the Child Protection Register and Children in Need. As well as track the outcomes of the children of such families over time using the co-joined data sets.

24 Research Questions What proportions of families with long term and complex needs are captured in each silo? What are the pathways and processes between adverse experiences in childhood and poor adult outcomes? Does the current configuration of social services represent the best way to meet the needs of families with long term and complex needs?

25 References Blair, T. (2006) Our Sovereign Value: Fairness Speech given to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation 5 September 2006 Available at: Chancellor of the Exchequer (2003) Budget Report 2003: Building a Britain of economic strength and social justice. London, H.M. Treasury. Fawcett, B., Featherstone, B. and Goddard, J (2004) Contemporary Child Care Policy and Practice. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Feinstein, L., Hearn, B., Renton, Z., Abrahams, C. and MacLeod, M. (2007) Reducing Inequalities. London, National Childrens Bureau.

26 Bibliography Anda, R.F., Felittie, V.J., Bremner, J.D., Walker, J.D., Whitfield, C., Perry, B.D., Dube, S.R. and Giles, W.H. (2006) The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood: A convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 256: Cabinet Office and Social Exclusion Unit (2007) Reaching Out: Think Family – Analysis of the Families at Risk Review. London, Cabinet Office. Devaney, J. (in press) Inter-professional working in child protection with families with long- term and complex needs. Child Abuse Review Feinstein, L. and Sabates,R (2006) Predicting adult life outcomes from earlier signals: identifying those at risk. London, Institute of Education. Heckman, J. (2006) Investing in Disadvantaged Young Children is an Economically Efficient Policy Paper presented at the Committee for Economic Development, New York, 10 January HM Treasury (2007) Aiming High for Children: Supporting families. London, The Stationery Office. HM Treasury and Department for Education and Skills (2007) Policy review of children and young people: A discussion paper, London, The Stationery Office. Spratt, T. (in press) Identifying families with multiple problems: Possible responses from child and family social work to current policy developments British Journal of Social Work Spratt, T. and Devaney, J. (in press) Identifying families with multiple problems: Perspectives of practitioners and managers in three nations British Journal of Social Work

27 Children and Families with Long Term and Complex Needs Who are they and where do they live? Dr John Devaney and Dr Trevor Spratt Queens University Belfast Preventing social exclusion of children and young people in Europe: participation and early intervention


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