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Putting the UK child protection journey in context Jo Fox 10 August 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Putting the UK child protection journey in context Jo Fox 10 August 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Putting the UK child protection journey in context Jo Fox 10 August 2011

2 Holding the child in mind

3 Media coverage of social work Climbie social worker guilty A social worker in the Victoria Climbie abuse case is found guilty of deliberately not attending a public inquiry into the girl's death. Climbie social worker guilty Council blunder halts Climbie inquiry Climbie official had 'psychotic illness' NSPCC 'delayed action' over Climbie Climbie council 'left children at risk' Council boss apologises to Climbie inquiry Victoria's relative 'warned social services‘ Taken from BBC coverage of Climbe Guardian coverage of Shoesmith Community care coverage of social work image in media

4 Laming 2001 - 2003 “…I was persuaded because the range of services involved meant that the whole system had been in some way in touch with Victoria and yet it didn’t protect her. So the thing that persuaded me to do it was the possibility of making recommendations to improve the safeguarding of children so this kind of thing can’t happen again.” 4 Victoria Climbe 02/11/91 – 25/02/2000

5 Laming review 2009 “ It has been put to me that it is inevitable that some adults, for whatever reason, will deliberately harm children. That may well be so. Nevertheless, it cannot be beyond our wit to put in place the means of securing their safety and proper development.” Lord Laming, March 2009, pg 10, The protection of children in England – a progress report. 5 Peter Connelly 01/03/06 – 03/09/07

6 The Munro report “I want to be clear from the start that there are no simple quick-fix solutions to improving the child protection system. A key question for the review is why the well- intentioned reforms of the past haven’t worked. Piecemeal changes have resulted in a system where social workers are more focused on complying with procedures. This is taking them away from spending time with children and families and limiting their ability to make informed judgements”. “Professionals should rightly take responsibility when things go wrong but they need more freedom to make decisions, more support and understanding, and less prescription and censure. Too often social workers are either criticised for breaking up families or for missing a case of abuse. But the system they work in is built around predicting a parent’s ability to look after their child, which is never certain”.

7 Government response to Munro report There is now a significant opportunity to build a child- centred system that: values professional expertise; shares responsibility for the provision of early help; develops social work expertise and supports effective social work practice; and strengthens accountabilities and promotes learning.

8 Four themes arising from Munro 1. Valuing professional expertise 2. Sharing responsibility for the provision of early help 3. Developing Social Work expertise and supporting effective practice 4. Strengthening accountabilities and creating a learning system

9 A continuum of needs and services

10 Supporting the workforce Social work necessarily ‘messy’ Not easily defined or contained Many interactive and unpredictable factors Managing uncertainty on a daily basis

11 Framing practice By supporting the practitioners to understand the issues for the child through: – assessment – planning – intervention – review 11 Gathering relevant information Analysing information & Reaching professional judgements Making decisions & planning interventions Intervening, service delivery and/or further assessment Evaluating & reviewing progress The Child

12 CHILD Safeguarding & promoting welfare Common Conceptual Framework through-out the System Health Education Identity Family & Social Relationships Social Presentation Emotional & Behavioural Development Selfcare Skills CHILD’S DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS PARENTING CAPACITY FAMILY & ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Basic Care Emotional Warmth Stimulation Guidance & Boundaries Ensuring Safety Stability Wider Family Housing Employment Income Family’s Social Integration Family History & Functioning Community Resources

13 Unintended consequences Shift from case worker to case manager with less emphasis on relational work and more on the administrative and organisational functions of working with people to organise others to do the ‘therapeutic interventions’ Social workers feeling more like administrators and behaving in that way Managers overseeing process and procedure rather than practice and relational inter-action

14 The recommendations for change Social Work Reform Board created the “Professional Capabilities Framework” College of Social work Principle child and family social workers A Chief Social Worker

15 The Integrated Children’s System

16 ICS – the intention To provide a robust framework to carry out the social work tasks of Assessment Planning Intervention and review; Through the systematic collection, testing and analysis of information using a child centred, holistic lens. 16

17 Put Practice before I.T. 17 “Lessons learnt, boxes ticked, families ignored” Munro, 16/11/2008

18 The unintended consequences Workers feeling de-skilled Up to 80% of time spent in front of computer Complex workflow blocking professional judgement and dictating responses Time limited assessment periods impacting on quality of service delivery to children Flattening out of the framework for assessment into a tick box recording system

19 How did organisations understand service delivery? Through the development of a managerial structure that included audit; Serious case reviews inspections Key performance indicators Supervision This added up to a regulated approach to interrogating information which focused on the ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’ An ‘us and them’ environment where people did what they were checked up on. A focus on understanding activity rather than understanding outcomes

20 The KOLB Cycle

21 Relationship breakdown Break down in the relationship between the main parties led to an environment where no-one was able to ‘trust’ each other to do the job properly

22 Making relationships count

23 The child’s journey from needing to receiving help

24 It’s this

25 Knowledge and skills 25

26 “Not everything worth counting can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts”

27 Munro on the current audit regime A central tenet of managerialism is that workers are self-seeking and, in absence of the profit motive, this suggests that artificial incentives must be created to drive up attainment. Targets, performance indicators and assessments have therefore been constructed to motivate the workforce, failing to appreciate that, for most who work in the helping professions, altruism is a strong motive The Child Protection Workforce – a case for Change (2011, p9) noted that there were ‘high levels of commitment in the workforce Data should not be seen as an unambigious measure of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but taken in an overall context

28 Key performance indicators Can these be usefully re- framed as: “is what does this organisation do each day making a good difference to the lives of children and their families?” “How do I contribute to that?” How do I make sense of the stories that children and families tell me about their experiences? “Doing less of the wrong thing is not the same as doing the right thing” The challenge is how to use measures to help in understanding and improving the work that is done with children and families. Reflection in action and on action – learning as we go


30 Timeliness Working within the child and families frame Understanding the impact of decisions on child development Planning for the emerging adult Using the systems to plan interventions that matter to the child and family

31 Discussion

32 Jo Fox BA BSW Consultant Social Worker Child Centred Practice Ltd 12 Beech Lane Cockermouth Cumbria CA13 9HQ United Kingdom Tel: +44 7881 524 068

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