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1 So what do families think of Looking After Children? Sue Tregeagle Social Justice and Social Change Research Center University of Western Sydney.

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Presentation on theme: "1 So what do families think of Looking After Children? Sue Tregeagle Social Justice and Social Change Research Center University of Western Sydney."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 So what do families think of Looking After Children? Sue Tregeagle Social Justice and Social Change Research Center University of Western Sydney

2 2 Industry partnership to research: Service users experience of LAC in Australia Explore ways of promoting ‘service user’ perspectives within LAC How information and communication technology could be utilised in further development First step: previous service user studies.

3 3 Service User Research: Qualitative No consultation in development of LAC Pilot studies 1997-8: Canada serviced users (est) 54 surveys +symposium (Kufeldt, Simard, Vachon + quantitative ), Scotland 4 (Wheelaghan and Hill) &20 (Francis- qualitative) and Australia 37 (Wise mixed quantiative and qualitative for ‘mature’children) English generic studies-, Munro and Thomas and O’Kane (numbers unclear, qualitative method), Jones comments Australian established LAC, service user qualitative research 9 young people - Create. Jones- comments

4 4 Limited research base Undertaken early in implementation- system not embedded, sometimes inappropriate forms used. Time frames for assessment short - longest: 12 months Canada, 9 months Australia English findings unclear re LAC use - it is unclear if children were using LAC (Munro, Thomas and O’Kane), including second hand reports (Francis) Methodology variable quality, sampling methods not always described, position of researchers not clear, control in Canada. Whole systems not used - eg Canadian study used AAs Only two Australian studies- did not include birth families

5 5 Study Participants limited Birth mothers, fathers and extended family rarely consulted (only 14 in Kufeldt) Limited numbers consulted participants- 113 (+unspecified studies), larger group tested quanitatively Older children and young people (Create), 10-17 yrs (Munro), 14-17? yrs (Wise), 10-20yrs (Canadian) Participant involvement in design of the research specified rarely (exceptions; WhoCares Scotland and Australia’s Create)

6 6 FINDINGS re LAC DISCOURSE Participation/ involvement in decision making Documentation/ ‘Text’ distribution Transparency / relationship with worker Individualized Planning/ Accountability/ Collaboration Views of Childhood/ Standardisation

7 7 Participation: Positives Increased opportunity to participate “Youth believed that the traditional method of compiling case information never allowed them to have input” (Kufeldt et al p189). More involved than formerly, children helped to remember (Wheelaghan and Hill) Wanted the opportunity offered (Create)

8 8 Participation: Reservations Ability to participate: Concerns about understanding espe impact of literacy and document circulation (Francis, Create) Discomfort at meetings, need for preparation (Thomas and O’Kane undifferentiated study with 28% only using consultation papers (1997). Low level of power and participation in decision making- change in workers, lack of voice in reviews and confidente (Munro) No increase in children’s control over decisions (Wise) Understanding of process: Need for greater :positive engagement, time, comfort, preparation/rights info, feedback‘overwhelmed with professionals’ (Create) No knowledge of complaint process, inadequate advocacy (Munro ).

9 9 Documentation: Positives Greater control over information (Canada) Information goes with young person, eaiser to understand (Create) Captured positives (Canada) Captured information well eg bullying (Francis) RESERVATIONS: Concern by young people about writing down things that may be hurtful to parents (Francis) Concern about recording information in the booklets (Wise)

10 10 Documentation: Reservations Length problematic but unable to determine what should be excluded (Kufeldt), timeframe short for amount (Wise), time (Francis),complex (Wheelaghan) Literacy- Create re adolescents, Francis re young children and learning disability. Visuals (language difficulties)- Create, Francis Overall Format- unattractive, confusing or boring (Wheelaghan and Hill), Francis reported on need for age appropriate forms and requested interactive software Design, layout and language unsuitable for adolescents (Create, Wise reported by carers )

11 11 Documentation Checklist format problematic- Francis Copies not received, didn’t see what was recorded, wanted documentation prior to meeting (Create, Wise) Uncontrolled distribution (Munro) Privacy and confidentiality concerns: too personal (Munro)

12 12 Individualized planning/ accountability/ collaboration: Positives Appreciated Increased accountability of workers Francis EIRs save repetition- (Francis) Questions appropriate/ needs full implementation (Create, Francis) Detail of information appreciated- Francis (including range of questions), Jones, Create Relationship with carer improved (Wise) Investment worthwhile (youth 88%, 100%parents), learnt anything new (53% youth, 50% parents), eg reestablished birth family relationship. Self id. of problems (Canada)

13 13 Planning: Reservations Followup and issues still not completed (Francis), need to tell people why issues not implemented (Create) Families not strongly involved (Wise) Collaboration between agencies not strong (Wise’s comment) Some questions not asked (Francis) Need to focus on independent living skills, and relationship with parents/siblings (Create) Mistrust of process (Wise)

14 14 Transparency/Relationship: Positives Better able to identify issues Kufeldt eg selfcare with older adolescents, opened up hidden issues. Helped to remember and ‘sort’ out things Wheelaghan and Hill Better able to talk about themselves Wheelaghan, Hill, Francis. Better quality of relationship with workers, enjoyed time (Canadian symposium) compared to bureaucratic tendency (Francis) Shared responsibility was appreciated (Jones) Relationship improvement (Wise 2003)

15 15 Transparency/Relationship: Reservations Questions on sensitive issues concerning (Kufeldt), too personal and potentially hurtful (Francis) or sensitive (Wise) Mistrustful of process and not frank on issues (Wise) Impersonal nature of relationship- Munro More personalised support needed than just the the documentation process (Create) Class bias (Francis)

16 16 Views of childhood: Reservations Children’s agency not considered - autonomy issues for over 12s, ability to make mistakes discounted (Munro) Lives segmented,compartmentalised and not holistic (Francis) Adult agenda (Francis comment on vegetable consumption) Children’s view of contact/ attachment overruled eg contact with mother requests ignored (Munro) Children’s right to privacy not appreciated- contraception, sexual behaviour (Kufeldt et al, Francis) Not confirmed by Create Aftercare-Create wanted more work on needs at independence, however Canadian study appreciated this aspect of LAC especially self-care skill issues.

17 17 Findings ‘preference for LAC’ Canada: 44% youth were positive, 27 somewhat 88% and 100% parents saw LAC as worthwhile, 53% youth and 50% parents reported learning something. Overall anxiety but pleased questions asked. Scotland: Francis-generally favorable response but flagged issues Australian service users: Create- Questions necessary, improvement over previous system but attention to forms and participation required. –Wise- benefits identified from completing records England: too limited to comment

18 18 Summary Reservations Participation: requires better implementation, information on rights and support (Create), control no greater (Wise) Documentation: –Poor circulation/distribution/ feedback of documentation (Create, Francis), – length (Francis, Kufeldt et al) is problematic but positives include detail, questions, increased accountability, streamlining data collection –Literacy- need for kid friendly language and format,visuals, sensitivity to age/disability. ( Francis, Create) –Privacy/Confidentiality: nature of questions, privacy recording, access to information (Kufeldt et al, Francis, Wise, Munro)

19 19 ……..Summary Reservations 2 Planning -not strong on involvement of families, follow-up, worker implementation of whole process (Wise) Focus on aftercare inadequate(Create) Relationship with workers early concern (Francis), sensitivity of issues noted Discourse on childhood- greater attention to agency and the growth of independence

20 20 Further research needed: Now that LAC is established Over longer term of use In Australians, especially indigenous Australians From a wider range of participants: birth parents and extended families, younger children Other subjugated or emergent issues With proposed merge with pre-placement assessment With use of technology- could pen and paper technology be improved?

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