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Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Principles and Practice in Communicating With Children
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Communicating with children in assessments Why do it? Context / background Benefits Good practice Cautions
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Who says we have to involve children? The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child The Children Act 1989, the Children Act 2004 The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need (2000) S11 Guidance (2005) Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006)
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Who says...? (cont) Every Child Matters agenda The context of consumer rights Local policy My manager My professional standards
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Messages from inquiries Communicating with children protects them Laming found evidence of no, or limited, conversations with Victoria Climbié ‘In reality, the conversations with Victoria were limited to little more than “hello, how are you?” The only ‘assessment’ completed involved the writing down of limited and sometimes contradictory information provided by Kouao’
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Messages from inspections ‘The National Assessment Framework for Children in Need is well understood in almost all councils. The majority of assessments of children and their families are satisfactory. A significant minority do not include children and families sufficiently or incorporate all key information.’ From ‘Making Every Child Matter’ CSCI (2005)
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 But also from CSCI ‘We see some excellent assessments that: fully involve the child and their parents and take their views into account make full use of information from the range of agencies involved with the child and family and link it together effectively take account of cultural issues and influences, using the skills of specialist staff where appropriate
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 But also from CSCI (cont) assemble a holistic picture of the child in their family, that weighs the significance of information from all sources to determine the nature and extent of risk to them use that information and exercise skilled professional judgement about the issues to be addressed and needs to be met.’
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Involving children works Children feel listened to, taken seriously, and this helps them to deal with difficult situations When children are involved in decision- making and planning, the plans are more likely to be successful Services developed with the influence of children and young people are more likely to meet their needs
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Good practice 1: Build competence By providing information so that children and young people can contribute meaningfully By giving time and explanations so that they can properly understand the issues and the process By being clear about what will be discussed, and the likely consequences. Be straight about the boundaries of confidentiality By giving access to independent advocacy services if required
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Good practice 2: Practical considerations Pay attention to venues and who will be present. Children should be involved in deciding who, when and where Provide interpreters if required Think about what tools and techniques you will use. Preparation and planning Think about the use of new technologies
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Good practice 3: Create the right culture Children are more likely to talk to people they know and trust – it takes time to build trust Feedback and discuss the outcomes, what happened Follow up – do what you said you would do Be flexible in response to what children and young people say
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Good practice 4 : Child-led assessments Start with what is important to the child Go at the child’s pace – gradually build a picture of their needs Attend to positives as well as negatives Forms / tick boxes / checklists don’t always work well for children
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Children’s responses Developmental considerations – children’s understanding at different ages, adolescents’ willingness to engage (but don’t forget individual differences) Cultural differences Adverse events affecting children’s responses
Communicating with Children © National Children's Bureau 2006 Cautions Sensitivity to children’s plans / schedules Don’t let children down – be reliable, honest and accountable Support carers to support the child involved Involve other trusted adults outside the family Don’t just talk – try other methods
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