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From National Research to Local Practice Example of How a Small Scale Project Informed the Use of Research in Practice Dr FA Watson Previous: Child Protection.

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Presentation on theme: "From National Research to Local Practice Example of How a Small Scale Project Informed the Use of Research in Practice Dr FA Watson Previous: Child Protection."— Presentation transcript:

1 From National Research to Local Practice Example of How a Small Scale Project Informed the Use of Research in Practice Dr FA Watson Previous: Child Protection Coordinator, Bracknell Forest Borough Council Current: Research Officer, Cafcass Contact:

2 Bracknell Forest Borough Council Small urban unitary authority Approximately children on the register per month Children with protection plans constitute a minority of children receiving a service from Children’s Social Care each month Significant proportion of children receive a service through Sec 17 support for children in need Approximately 1 in 4 referrals lead to a Sec 47 investigation; the rest are dealt with under Sec 17 Children Act 1989 Bracknell has a relatively ‘white’ local population with relatively small proportion of residents from visible ethnic minority backgrounds

3 Purposes of the Research To inform service development CSCI identified that “high-performing councils” that “tangibly improve children’s life-chances” have (amongst other characteristics) “performance management systems that track children and their outcomes” CSCI (2007) Children’s Services: CSCI Findings , London: Commission for Social Care Inspection This research would help inform the development of this kind of quality assurance information system

4 Context of the Research Protection plans are a mechanism intended to help ensure children are protected Directly related to the ‘staying safe’ outcome under the Every Child Matters agenda. ‘No delay’ principle runs through the Children Act 1989 which provides a legal context for services Expectation that delay is minimised (e.g. local government performance indicators) Bracknell LSCB already monitored how long children remain on the register Some children were deregistered relatively quickly while others remained on the register for considerably longer

5 Context of Research (continued) Protection plans are intended to be ‘outcome focused’ (ICS exemplars) Outcomes are intended to be ‘measurable’ and as objective as possible Children’s wishes and feelings need to be considered in developing plans Children’s Rights & Human Rights Legal framework enshrines the principle that a child should live with his/her family wherever possible Previous research indicating children want to remain with their family, do not want their family to ‘break up’ but want their parents to receive the help they need to be good parents and want the abuse/neglect to stop.

6 Previous Relevant Research Previous national research has identified risk factors associated with child deaths or serious injuries to children: Peter Reder and Sylvia Duncan (1999) Lost Innocents, Routledge CSCI (2006) Supporting Parents, Safeguarding Children: Meeting the Needs of Parents with Children on the Child Protection Register, Commission for Social Care Inspection, February. Subsequently: Brandon, M; Belderson, P; Warren, C; Howe, D; Gardner, R; Dodsworth, J; Black, J (2008) Analysing Child Deaths and Serious Injury through Abuse and Neglect: What can we learn? London: Dept for Children, Schools and Families

7 Risk & Vulnerability & Outcomes Previous national research has identified some factors related to the child’s characteristics (e.g. disabled children) & some risk factors were related to parents’ characteristics (e.g. parental ill- health) Consider/place the messages from national research within the local context

8 General Research Questions Can identified risk factors[1] assist workers to ‘predict’ outcomes of cases[2], assist in decision-making for cases and thus avoid delay for the child in making positive and effective change? Are outcomes of cases related to the numbers of risk factors in a given case? Are the numbers of risk factors in a given case associated with length of registration? [1]Identified risk factors involving parental characteristics only; risk factors related to child characteristics or family/environmental factors not included within the parameters of this research project [2]Outcomes defined in relation to whether the child was/was not living with family (and which family members) at the point of deregistration.

9 Parental Risk Factors Dynamic Factors  Domestic Violence  Parental Substance Misuse  Parental Mental Health Problems  Parental Other Health (e.g. cancer, disabilities) Static Factors  Parenting concerns when the parents were themselves children  History of the parent having been in care

10 Outcomes –Remaining in the same family –Remain in a reconstituted family –Move to other family –Removal from family to care –Moved to other local authority/registration continued (same family) –Moved to other local authority/registration continued (reconstituted family)

11 Hypotheses (One) Higher numbers of parental risk factors will be associated with greater probability of outcomes involving either care or moving to another family Lower numbers of parental risk factors will be associated with greater probability of outcomes involving remaining in the same family or a reconstituted family

12 Hypotheses (Two) Higher numbers of parental risk factors will be associated with longer periods of registration (i.e. over 15 months) Lower numbers of parental risk factors will be associated with shorter periods of registration (i.e. 15 months or less) Exception Where high numbers of parental risk factors exist and a precipitating event leads to removal from the home (either care or living with other family) deregistration could take place relatively quickly.

13 Data Gathered Case information about children Data already readily available through the electronic and paper records held for each child by Children’s Social Care No new data gathered (e.g. no questionnaires or interviews of practitioners or children or parents) Information available up to the point of deregistration for each child (i.e. information obtained after that point not included within the research project)

14 Research Sample All children on Bracknell Forest Borough Council’s child protection register at some point between 01 April 2005 and 31 March 2006 (i.e. one budget year) – 90 children in total Some children registered prior to April 2005 (e.g or 2004) (e.g. earliest date within July 2003) Some children only just registered in March 2006 and were on the register in 2007/2008 budget year (e.g. latest date within |December 2007) Two children subject to serious case reviews (related to issues prior to registration – fabricated illness) Note: children receiving a service who were not on the register were not included in this research (e.g. disabled children receiving support under Sec 17 Children Act, children in care, care leavers)

15 Basic Information Sex 52(58%)Female 38(42%)Male Ethnicity 76(84%)White 14(16%)Black/Asian/Dual

16 Basic Information (continued) Categories of Registration 29(32%)Neglect 40(44%)Emotional 16(18%)Physical 5 (6%)Sexual Age (at point of registration) 68(76%)Age 10 or under 22(24%)Age 11 or under

17 Identified Risk Factors per Child No of FactorsNo of ChildrenPercentage None One Two Three Four Five Six Total

18 Identified Risk Factors per Child Risk FactorsNumberPercentage domestic abuse substance misuse mental ill-health other health parenting history history of care1011.1

19 Outcomes of Registration by Child OutcomeNumberPercentage same family reconstituted family other family removed to LA care moved & registered with other LA total

20 Did they remain in their families? Same family % Reconstituted family % Other Family % Removed to LA care % Total – ex moved to OLA % Clear majority remain somewhere within their family network:70.7% Majority have to ‘move families’ (other family & care categories combined): 52.5% Significant proportion of families needed to make significant changes in family structures for children to remain within network (reconstituted & other family combined): 45.1%

21 Did the numbers of risk factors influence whether the child remained in the family? Two or fewer risk factors – Total = 36 (excluding children who moved to OLA) Same family % Reconstituted 822.2% Other family 616.6% LA care 925.0% Three or more risk factors – Total = 46 (excluding children who moved to OLA) Same family 817.4% Reconstituted1021.7% Other family % LA care1634.8%

22 Did the numbers of risk factors influence the length of registration? Two or fewer risk factors – Total = 36 (excluding children who moved to OLA) Up to 9 months2055.5% 9 to 15 months 411.1% Over 15 months1233.3% Three or more factors – Total = 46 (excluding children who moved to OLA) Up to 9 months % 9 – 15 months 715.2% Over 15 months %

23 Implications for Direct Practice Are social workers clear with families from the outset of work about the how high a proportion of families make changes in structure/living arrangements? Are social workers clear with families from the outset of work about the numbers of problems identified and about the link between numbers and outcomes of where children live (i.e. do they present families with a realistic picture of what might happen)? Are social workers clear with families about the length of time it takes to address problems?

24 Strategic Uses (part one) Better awareness of significance of domestic abuse problems leading to: closer collaboration with Domestic Violence Forum and development of programmes to address gaps in local provision (e.g. perpetrators programme, victim’s support group) guidance about assessment/thresholds within LSCB child protection procedures multi-agency domestic violence awareness training resources for schools (PSHE curriculum)

25 Strategic Uses (continued) Changes to the routine monitoring by the LSCB of children with protection plans Inform the work of the LSCB QA and Audit Group in developing a set of monitoring/data requirements for partner agencies Better awareness of the complexity of inter-related problems of families where children are at risk of significant harm Awareness the data from this project led to wider questions about what differences/similarities existed between children receiving support services (i.e. no child protection plan).

26 Strategic Uses (continued) Children’s Services information systems can be used to gather/analyse data routinely which assists strategic planning and the development of more effective practice There is a role for researchers to work closely with LSCBs and local authorities in developing information systems and processes so they yield analysable information that supports practice development


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