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PRESENTER: ANDY BILSON, PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK, SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE AND ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN.

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Presentation on theme: "PRESENTER: ANDY BILSON, PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK, SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE AND ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN."— Presentation transcript:

1 PRESENTER: ANDY BILSON, PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK, SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE AND ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA WHY WE NEED TO THINK AGAIN ABOUT HOW TO PROTECT CHILDREN. LESSONS FROM 20 YEARS OF MONITORING PRACTICE

2 INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW This presentation will introduce 1 system study & 3 pieces of action research: Analysis of 20 years monitoring of child protection in Western Australia Prevalence of reports, investigations and substantiations for all Western Australian children born in 1990 or 1991 Prevalence rates for each type of maltreatment Prevalence of maltreatment for Aboriginal children cf. other Australians Changes in prevalence over time System study in English Local Authority in the North West Study of social work with children in Moldova Appreciative research in Bulgaria

3 SOME INITIAL NOTES “Although caution is necessary in interpretation of findings, trends in six developed countries show no consistent evidence for a decrease in all types of indicators of reported child maltreatment” - Gilbert et al, 2012 “The low prevalence of child abuse combined with even the most optimistic estimates of screening effectiveness implies that any child abuse screening program will yield large numbers of false positives—non-abusing families labelled as abusing or potentially abusing. The large social cost of this type of labelling makes such an approach unacceptable.” - Daniel et al 1978 :258

4 SOME STATISTICS ON CHILDREN IN CARE IN ENGLAND ON 31 ST MARCH ,110 children 60/10,000 in population 7,520 (10.9%) had 3 or more placements in Poor educational attainment (many different measures) Emotional and behavioural health of children looked after continuously for 12 months measured using SDQ, 50.1% have a score that is considered normal and 37.5% have a score that is considered cause for concern Offending: 14.1% of boys and 7.2% girls aged convicted or subject to a final warning or reprimand during the year. Children in care who make up 0.57% of the population are 5.08% of all the children convicted or subject to a final warning or reprimand during the year (9 times more likely) Substance misuse: 10.5% of 16 to 17 year-olds have substance misuse problem

5 RELATIONSHIP OF CHILD PROTECTION PLANS AND CHILDREN LOOKED AFTER TO DEPRIVATION IN THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITY IN ENGLAND Rate of Children looked after and on Child Protection Plans on per 10,000 aged 0 to 17 by deprivation decile Source: Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Sparks, T., & Bos, E. (2014)

6 ANALYSIS OF 20 YEARS MONITORING OF CHILD PROTECTION Data and method WA child protection department de-identified data on all reports of child maltreatment and child concerns Study analyses reports for: all reports of concerns, investigations and substantiation 1990 to 2007 cohort of children born in 1990 or 1991 followed until 18 th birthday cohorts of children born in calendar years 1990 to 2008 Note: The rate of children investigated per 1000 aged 0 to 17 was: 7.95 statutorily investigated in England in in Western Australia 2009

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8 50,630 Children born % 6,795 (49.1%) reports and 2,006 (29.8%) children not investigated 13,828 Reports on 6,726 Children 13.3% 4,386 (62.4%) investigations and 2,456 (57.5%) investigated children with no substantiated maltreatment 7,033 Investigations on 4,270 Children 8.4% 11,181 (80.9%) reports, and 4,801 (71.4%) children reported with no substantiated maltreatment and 5,639 (83.8%) children reported not found to be “harmed” 2,647 Substantiations on 1925 Children 1491 “Harmed” 1087 Children 3.8% % of children born in reaching each stage Child Protection Careers in WA All Children born in 90 and 91

9 NUMBERS AND RATES OF ABORIGINAL AND NON-ABORIGINAL INDIVIDUALS EVER REPORTED, INVESTIGATED OR SUBSTANTIATED AND PREVALENCE RATES OF SUBSTANTIATED MALTREATMENT. Non-AboriginalsAboriginals Risk Ratio NumberRate / 1000NumberRate / 1000 Reported Investigated Substantiated Emotional Neglect Physical Sexual

10 RATE OF CHILDREN RECEIVING 1 ST REPORT BEFORE 1 ST, 5 TH & 10 TH BIRTHDAYS

11 ESTIMATED RATE OF ABORIGINAL CHILDREN RECEIVING 1 ST REPORT BEFORE 1 ST, 5 TH & 10 TH BIRTHDAYS

12 RATE OF CHILDREN REPORTED, INVESTIGATED, SUBSTANTIATED AND ‘HARMED’ BEFORE THEIR FIRST BIRTHDAY BY ABORIGINALITY Non AboriginalAboriginal Rate reported Rate investigated Rate substantiated Rate harmed Rate not harmed

13 RATE PER THOUSAND OF CHILDREN HAVING A CARE EPISODE AND THOSE HAVING A CARE EPISODE LASTING MORE THAN A YEAR

14 RISK FACTORS FOR SUBSTANTIATED MALTREATMENT Western Australian study using subset of this data linked to disability and health data found strongest risk factors: child intellectual disability parental socio-economic disadvantage (poverty) parents under 20 years at birth parental hospital admissions – mental health, substance misuse and assault in Aboriginal families socio-economic disadvantage not shown as risk factor but likely that due to proportion in poverty risk is uniformly high (O’Donnell et al 2010)

15 100% 85% 152 children87 families Referrals 83 children37 families 100% 79% 23 children18 families 30% Child in Need Child Concern report 32 families Child Protection 46 children 37%

16 100% 85% Type of Referral and Initial Social Work Action 152 children87 families Referrals 83 children37 families 100% 79% 23 children18 families 30% Child in Need s17 Child Concern report 32 families Child Protection S children 37% Need Investigative Other N/K Families Children Investigative N/K Families Children Need N/K Families Children

17 100% 85% Type of Referral and whether Service Received 152 children87 families Referrals 83 children37 families 100% 79% 23 children18 families 30% Child in Need Child Concern report 32 families Child Protection 46 children 37% Service3 (4%)3 (8%) Families Children Service 22 (48%)13 (41%) Families Children Service10 (43%)9 (50%) Families Children

18 SERVICE PROVISION 61 (40%) not known at referral ‘Service’ Offered in 35 (23%) cases Empty assessments Search for reason to close 23 domestic violence 1 CP Monitoring 1 Support Services Provided Accommodation1234% Monitoring1131% Support 3 9% ADL/OT 3 9% CAMHS 2 6% Play scheme 1 3% Counselling 1 3% Psychiatric treatment 1 3% Financial payment 1 3% Total35

19 100% 85% 152 children87 families Referrals 83 children37 families 100% 79% 23 children18 families 30% Child in Need s17 Child Concern report 32 families Child Protection S children 37% Type of Referral and Possible CAF CAF38 (46%)20 (54%) Families Children CAF 4 (9%)4 (13%) Families Children CAF7 (30%)5 (28%) Families Children

20 INITIAL RESULTS Referrals accepted and progressed. Week ending referrals accepted Week ending referrals accepted Week ending referrals accepted Week ending referrals accepted Week ending referrals accepted Week ending referrals accepted 30.1% reduction in referrals accepted.

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22 SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN MOLDOVA Key features of social development relevant to child protection are: Strengths-basis acknowledging and focussing on family and community assets and aiming to promote resilience Social investments that enhance capabilities including: “employment placement, childcare, adult literacy, micro- enterprise, and asset savings accounts” (Midgley & Conley, 2010: xii–xiv) Interdisciplinary focus including promoting access to housing, medical care, education, and recreational facilities Community focussed working with communities to combat social exclusion Advocacy based rather than a narrow preoccupation with practice with families and children

23 ACTIVE ASSESSMENT Workers assess family strengths and needs across six wellbeing domains: living conditions, family and social relationships, behaviour, physical and mental health, education, employment household economy

24 REPORTED OUTCOMES OF ACTIVE APPROACH, MOLDOVA 2014 Results for 127 children completing prevention programme in Moldova and 67 with post completion follow up. Similar results for larger group in Bulgaria: Better relationships: Decreases in risks due to poor relationships between mother and child (33.9% falls to 3.1%); Father and child (67.7% falls to 33.9%); and between parents (85.8% falls to 37.8%) Employment and household economy: The number of households where no-one worked fell from 78.0% to 24.4% and by the end of the programme only 11% had no stable monthly income compared to 81.8% at the initial assessment. Improved Housing: 5 risk factors, fall from 45.7% to 12.6% in temporary housing and from 75.6% to 14.2% without basic utilities/furniture. For 67 with follow up increase from 7 (10.4%) to 41(61.2%) with no risks Safer Environment: E.g. number of children living in families with verbally and/or physically aggressive behaviour fell from 67.7% to 7.1% for the 127 who completed the programme. Less alcohol and illegal drug problems: Still a problem for some children but excessive alcohol use fell from 55.1% to 16.5% and illegal drugs fell from 5.5% to 1.6% Improved health and development: Fall from 33.9% with health problem to 14.2% and developmental delay fell from 49.6% to 11.8% Education: more attended preschool care and better attendance at school or kindergarten, more children received support for school work and less struggled with academic skills

25 WHAT MIGHT A CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEM STRIVE TO ACHIEVE Take a social development approach to support families and communities and combat social exclusion and poverty Limit child protection investigations to cases with indications of serious harm Create a virtuous spiral reducing use of looked after system Provide support and counselling to victims of maltreatment

26 THE VIRTUOUS CYCLES Increased and improved levels of cooperation and coordination of services by Health, Education, Social Care and other “Mainstream” agencies Increased ability of all services to assess and meet children’s needs leading to reduced levels of unnecessary child protection investigation Improved focus on most vulnerable children and increased levels of diversion from substitute care More resources released and made available for intensive family support More resources released and made available for children in need services

27 REFERENCES Bilson, A., Cant, R. L., Harries, M., & Thorpe, D. H. (2013). A longitudinal study of children reported to the child protection department in Western Australia. British Journal of Social Work, bct164. Bilson, A., & Larkins, C. (2013). Providing alternatives to infant institutionalisation in Bulgaria: How gatekeeping can benefit from a social development orientation. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(9), Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Sparks, T., & Bos, E. (2014). Child welfare inequalities: new evidence, further questions. Child & Family Social Work. Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Sparks, T., & Bos, E. (2014). Inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: the intersection of deprivation and identity. Child & Family Social Work. Daniel, J., Newberger, E., Reed, R. and Kotelchuk, M. (1978) ‘Child abuse screening: Implications of the limited predictive power of abuse discriminants from a controlled family study of pediatric social illness’, Child Abuse and Neglect, 2, pp. 247–59. Gilbert, R., Fluke, J., O'Donnell, M., Gonzalez-Izquierdo, A., Brownell, M., Gulliver, P.,... & Sidebotham, P. (2012). Child maltreatment: variation in trends and policies in six developed countries. The Lancet, 379(9817), Harries, M., Cant, R. L., Bilson, A., & Thorpe, D. (2014). Responding to information about children in adversity: ten years of a differential response model in Western Australia. Child abuse & neglect. O’Donnell, M., Nassar, N., Leonard, H., Jacoby, P., Mathews, R., Patterson, Y., & Stanley, F. (2010). Characteristics of non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal children and families with substantiated child maltreatment: a population-based study. International journal of epidemiology, 39(3),


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