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Planning Carefully Promoting excellent outcomes for the children of Barnet Jo Fox BSW Consultant Social Worker.

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Presentation on theme: "Planning Carefully Promoting excellent outcomes for the children of Barnet Jo Fox BSW Consultant Social Worker."— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning Carefully Promoting excellent outcomes for the children of Barnet Jo Fox BSW Consultant Social Worker

2 A social worker … once said to me, “I have no time for planning.” … Without a plan, how do we know where we are going, what we are trying to achieve. Although planning for every scenario, every action one might take in life would leave little room for flexibility or surprises, not planning at all might be regarded as leaving too much to chance or even reckless. Planning can reduce “fire fighting,” … having to constantly respond to crisis. Planning can increase opportunities to anticipate problems that are likely to occur or needs that subsequently arise. Decisions can be made on how to handle situations or in some cases may help to avert a potential crisis. (Sheree Kane, ncb, 2007)

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4 Care Plan – what is it? Plans informed by high quality assessments The assessment and plan should determine what is in the child’s best interests eg. to become looked after or whether other support services would be able to meet their needs Sets the framework for the services provided to the child and family to enable the desired goals and outcomes to be achieved for the child

5 Care Plan – who is it for? Child – care plan or child’s plan? All those with parental responsibility Social workers/case managers Carers All those working with the child – effective multi-agency working crucial to outcomes Agencies re collation of need – met/unmet

6 What makes a good one? Needs-based assessment Child participates Participation of all those with parental responsibility, and carers SMART Focused Proactive Brings together other plans Has a contingency plan

7 Service led Not understood by the child Non-participation of other agencies, of all those with parental responsibility, carers not involved Not specific concerning who is responsible for what action, outcomes cannot be evaluated, not achievable nor realistic, no timescales Lacks direction Reactive Separate from other plans No contingency plan What makes a bad one?

8  SMART principles  Motivation is key  You must take the journey together  Choices must be clear and options available  Contingencies must be made  Steps must be incremental and purposeful

9  Ensure there is clarity on lead professional role.  Joint planning early  Clear channels of communication  No jargon  Shared information  Shared understanding of confidentiality and consent  Understand each others role and interests.

10 Messages from research Research –Social workers too optimistic about the likelihood of parental change –Majority of changes of plans were from a plan to return home to one for adoption –Placement moves caused by setting unrealistic timescales Ward and Skuse (2001) Harwin and Others (2003)

11 Promoting diversity ‘… it is clear that all of the local authority’s duties relating to partnership, planning, family support, placement, contact and aftercare must be read in conjunction with the Race Relations Act. Local authorities therefore have a responsibility to ensure that every aspect of service provision for children and their families is non-discriminatory.’ (Richards and Ince 2000)

12 Timescales ‘ All the professional thoroughness and care in the world can be nullified if the child’s emotional resources are over-taxed and capacity to form a healthy attachment is damaged.’ (Lowe and Murch 1999)

13 Detail The more detail in the plan the more likely the plan was to be fulfilled. How the child’s needs might be met Services to be provided Type and details of proposed placement Arrangements for contact and reunification (Harwin and Owen 2002)

14 14 Sequence of professional judgements  Taken from Ann Hollows essay in Calder, M,  This staged decision making is congruent with the planning tasks.

15 Beyond risk management  We often plan intensely to protect the child from significant harm, and how to support families to change  We do not spend enough time looking at how to build the child and families resilience and how to maintain change once it has been achieved.  Our pre-occupation with risk pushes us into harm minimisation instead of planning pro-actively.  We become re-active or worse still, passive – letting the events unfold and overtake our plans.

16 Beyond Risk management  Reparation = making amends  Reconciliation = accept, adjust, settle differences  Restoration = bring back to original state by repairing or re- building

17 Reparation  Children under 4 need us to focus on attachment in our planning  Social and emotional competency is critical to learning and is very difficult to achieve even if all the odds are in your favour  As a child with a damaged attachment the pre-occupation with managing their feelings often overwhelms their ability to manage cognitive tasks  How do we help a small child learn to trust their main care giver and see adults as a dependable and safe source of comfort and care?

18 Reparation -  Children over 4 need us to focus on improving parents capacity for warm and sensitive care giving and address specific family issues.  As children start to interact with other adults on a regular basis and begin to develop a sense of self – they need congruence and affirmation from their parents/carers to support this newly developed independence.  How do you plan to build a child’s sense of self and support their parents/carers to behave with congruence towards them as they explore and learn?

19 What works to improve parenting?  Relational practice Authenticity, openness, mutual respect, responsiveness, presence (Freedberg, 2008)  Reflective practice Critically aware, curious, analytical, ethical (Crawshaw, 2008)  Partnership practice Active involvement of parents and practitioners, equality with regard to decision making, complementary expertise Negotiation and agreement, mutuality and respect

20 Reconciliation  How can we help children and their families find ways to forgive each other?  Parents who cannot resolve their own past parenting issues will find it hard to manage the emotions and challenges of parenting their own children. They need support to reconcile themselves with their past and move on into a different parenting future.  What plans can we make to support parents to reconcile with their own past?  Children who cannot live with their parents grapple with the rejection and hurt – how do we support them to accept their parents as they are instead of what the child would have them be?

21 Restoration  Challenge the assumption that : placement = bad / discharge = good  Studies suggest that social workers can promote reunion by engaging parents in joint planning, supporting them to maintain excellent contact that repairs as well as safeguards.  For which child is a return home likely to be beneficial?  What needs to change for them to return home?  How much time does the child have for that change to happen?  What do we need to do in the short, medium and long term to support this restoration?

22  Backward chaining – setting parents and children up to succeed and then building in the difficult steps  Behaviour modification – looking at changing the environment to artificially stimulate change  Cognitive therapy – working with the parent to separate their issues from their child’s needs  Brief solution focused therapy - providing short term goals that can be measured and achieved and built on  Di Clemente & Procheska cycle of change – focusing constantly on the parents capacity and motivation in planning and reviews.

23 Parallel planning with family  Shared goals and values - check out assumptions  Look for information that will test potential ways of understanding and helping  Also be open to new ways of understanding and helping that are rooted in the information that is emerging  Plan to build resilience within the family

24 Reflexivity  Process where we are critically aware of the impact of ourselves and our belief systems on the assessment and the service-users’ response to this  Includes, gender, race, professional status, agency culture dominant theories  Check out constantly that you are not verifying, assuming or confirming your own bias in planning.

25 Building hypothesis  Hypothesis is a testable proposition  Understanding the family situation and the best way forward  How difficulties are experienced (particularly by child)  May include antecedents

26 Sources of hypothesis  Service-user explanations – listen and take seriously  Practitioners explanation, practice wisdom  Evidence-based practice, wide reading of research  Theory, having and using ideas

27 partnership working  Constantly check out views with others  Clear expectations of behaviour and outcomes  Supervision critical  Consultations with other agencies as part of planning process  Avoid groupthink  Share the load – everyone should be working towards the agreed outcome.

28 1)NEEDS/STRENGTHS What children and young people require to thrive for their health and development in order to maximise their opportunities to reach their full potential as they move towards adulthood and beyond. The NEED belongs to the CHILD. If you start the plan with the child’s name it helps keep you clear on the aim of the plan – to secure the child’s health and well being through a series of actions usually carried out by the responsible adults to support that child to achieve ATTACHMENT, REGULATION and COMPETENCY in their life.

29 OUTCOMES The outcome is the miracle question – if this child had: warm available care that promoted a good attachment; was able to learn how to self regulate their emotions in a safe environment; and develop a competence sense of themselves as someone who could make choices in their life – WHAT WOULD THEY LOOK LIKE?

30 S pecific M easured Achievable Realistic Timely

31  Services are tasks carried out by the adults who should be supporting the child.  A service can be a person like a foster carer doing a particular task i.e listening to a child about their concerns or it could be an organisation providing or doing a particular task/s that can meet a particular need i.e a counselling service providing trauma counselling.  PARENTS are part of the SERVICE package offered to children. Meeting their needs, and the needs of the larger family should be seen as part of the package that will serve the child.

32 Reviews  Part of the continuous assessment process, the review should focus on what is working, what has changed, what needs to be adjusted and what does the child look like now?  It should focus on the ongoing development of the child through each cycle and adjust the plan accordingly.  It should monitor parental change and motivation and the ability to sustain this behaviour against the child’s needs.  ARE WE MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THIS CHILD – not this is what we have done.

33  It is extremely important to record needs that have been identified and have not been met or cannot be met and the reasons for this. This information is important for the strategic planning and highlighting issues affecting the ability to meet identified needs.

34  It is important that the child and family are able to understand the plan. Social work jargon can be confusing and vague, which is why we try to avoid using it when talking to families. We should also try to avoid writing it in the plans that families have to understand. For example, rather than:  The class teacher has informed that CHILD A’s ability to form appropriate peer attachments is significantly affected by the aggressive attitude and behaviour that she frequently displays. Subsequently she is isolated which is hindering her social and emotional development.  It is unlikely that you would say this to a family, so keep it simple:  CHILD A’s class teacher has said CHILD A is isolated. She has no close friends in school, because she hits other children and they tend to avoid her as a result.

35 Reaching conclusions  Reaching saturation point – drawing conclusions  Never going to be indisputable  Conclusions that look forward rather than back (solution-focused)  Flexible to changing circumstances

36 Views of reviews  ‘They weren’t frightening, they were boring more than anything. They were boring because you just sit. But I used to find that they’d talk over me and not to me, that was the main thing.’  ‘Sometimes it is not that child that can’t talk it’s adults that don’t understand.’

37 Views of reviews (cont.)  ‘I feel that reviews do help in a way if you understand what is going on. You have to make sure that you know what you want, you make your decisions and you have to make sure that they are carried out. It’s a good time to get things off your chest.’ ( Lanyon and Sinclair 2005)

38 Children’s Participation  ‘The routine fact of their attendance should not be taken as a sign of participation. There is a sense in which their attendance has become an administrative norm rather than something that has led to changes in the meeting format…’  ‘Further thought needs to be given to new ways in which young people can be given a more central, informed and comfortable role in the review process.’ (Grimshaw and Sinclair 1997)

39 What would make the meetings easier?  Preparation  Support and familiarity  Informality  activities  food  toys  Getting away from sitting around talking  ‘You have a right to a reason for every decision, whatever age you are.’ ( Lanyon 2005)

40 Children should expect  To receive all the help possible to identify how they feel about what has happened to them and what they want to achieve in the future.  To have their views heard and any decisions made explained to them.  To have access to an advocate or other supporter.  To have important relationships preserved for them and to have people around them that they can trust and who will remain in their lives. (Voice for Child in Care 2004)

41 Six aspects of participation  'the choice which the child has over his or her participation  the information which s/he has about the situation and her or his rights  the control which s/he has over the decision-making process  the voice which s/he has in any discussion  the support which s/he has in speaking up  the degree of autonomy which s/he has to make decisions independently.' (Thomas 2000)

42 A model of levels of participation Children/young people make autonomous decisions Children/young people’s views are taken into account Children/young people share power and responsibility for decision-making with adults Children/young people are involved in decision-making (together with adults) Kirby, Lanyon, Cronin & Sinclair (2003) Building a Culture of Participation, DfES.

43 Reviewing & Monitoring Progress How do we know we’ve made a difference?  Assessment Framework  IRO  Plans as “live” tools  Multi-agency working  Involve the child


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