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ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Transforming a piece of string into a safety net Strengthening the System.

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Presentation on theme: "ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Transforming a piece of string into a safety net Strengthening the System."— Presentation transcript:

1 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Transforming a piece of string into a safety net Strengthening the System

2 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 How long is a piece of string? Something that you say when someone asks you a question that you cannot answer about how big something is or how much time something will take. 'So how long will that child be in care?' 'How long is a piece of string?’ Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms © Cambridge University Press 1998

3 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Safety net A system or arrangement that helps you if you have a problem. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms © Cambridge University Press 1998

4 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 The care system in Australia - Last year, there were 266, 745 reports to statutory child protection services nationally - More than double the number of reports received 5 years ago (115,471) and steadily increasing - 27,188 children living in out-of-home-care, numbers of children in care also steadily increasing Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007; 2002

5 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 In NSW there are 10,623 children and young people in out-of- home care* In Australia there are 27,188 children and young people in out- of-home care° In Australia there are 5,028,793 children and young people years¨

6 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Continuing tensions between policy and practice Policy ‘It is preferable for every child to grow up in their family’ NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian - Policy Statement Practice When a child is removed the larger care system pays little attention to reunification Petre and Entricken (1995)

7 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Forensic Approach Focus on ‘risks’ Focus on symptoms (child abuse and neglect) Short-term Deficit focus Adversarial Crisis response (tertiary) Documentation Case management Therapeutic Approach Focus on ‘needs’ Focus on causes (holistic approach to family) Long-term Strengths focus Empowerment Preventative (secondary) Engagement Case work

8 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Current risk and protective factors classified into four domains: - Parent or caregiver factors - Family factors - Child factors - Environmental factors and there could be a fourth factor - the system

9 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 The system mirroring solid therapeutic approaches Interventions for severely distressed Parent-Child relationships

10 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Theoretical Underpinnings - Attachment theory - Trauma-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapies - Approaches based on the development of Reflective Functioning

11 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Working Hypotheses - Good intentions exist in both child and parent - ‘Accurate Empathy’ will uncover these good intentions - Diverse behavioural and emotional symptoms are ‘relationship systems’ - Relationship issues are Intergenerational - These Intergenerational issues operate through distorted perceptions of current relationship events

12 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Working Hypotheses - That reducing the burden of shame and - Providing distance and a reflective ‘looking’ space - Is what facilitates the parent being able to examine honestly their relationship with their child. Give the parent what we want to give the child

13 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Systems approach - adopting the therapeutic Key elements - Good intentions - Accurate Empathy - Relationship systems - Reducing burden of shame - Reflective space - Examining relationship - Give what you want to get

14 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 What Works?

15 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Assessment Key elements - Realistic time frame - Reflective functioning - Neurodevelopment - Attachment

16 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Individual - the child Contact - From a strengths based approach - Natural and supported setting - Regular visits - Timeframe during visit - Ongoing - Shared and meaningful activities - Shared challenges & triumphs

17 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Family System - Planned not passive reunification - Balancing timely reunification with adequate family capacity building - especially when there are mental health and alcohol & other drugs (AOD) issues - ‘good enough’ is ‘good enough’ - engaging in realistic research

18 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Family Reunification Key elements - Strengthening the family while the children are in care - Empowerment - Building relationships - Developing networks - Modelling, mirroring, re-parenting Key elements - Strengthening the family while the children are in care - Empowerment - Building relationships - Developing networks - Modelling, mirroring, re-parenting

19 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 While in care the child needs to experience positive interactions Key elements - The care environment needs to be realistic - Strengths based care - Identify areas of resilience - Support relationships - The care environment needs to be realistic - Strengths based care - Identify areas of resilience - Support relationships

20 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Programs - Burnside - Intensive Family Based Service (IFBS) - Centacare - Family Network Program (FNP) - Barnardos - Temporary Family Care (TFC) - Boystown - Preventative Program - Marist Youth Care - Family Restoration

21 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Key Challenges - Demand - Lack of capacity in prevention services - Collaborative frameworks - Whole of government approaches - Information sharing - Case planning and service provision

22 ACWA Reunification Forum December 2007 Emerging Opportunities - ‘Joined up’ responses - Relationship building - Collaborative research - Government initiatives - Community experience


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