Presentation on theme: "Strengthening families: a new approach to child protection"— Presentation transcript:
1 Strengthening families: a new approach to child protection Presentation to London Safeguarding Children Board ConferenceDecember 2010Joseph Davenport, Barry Luxton, Sarah Peel
2 ContextRecommendation of the SCR into the death of Peter Connelly tasked the LSCB with assuring;“that child protection conferences are administered efficiently, attended assiduously, managed authoritatively and produce decisions which are child-focussed, with child protection plans that are purposeful and authoritative”.
3 Families’ experiences Recent research undertaken by Family Commission in Haringey;Only one of the four mothers felt the case conference was a positive experience.Professionals need to understand how intimidating it is to be so ‘outnumbered’ in a formal meeting;Parents felt they lacked the necessary information about what would happen;Parents feel unprepared and one explicitly complained about not having the paperwork on their case in advance;Families want a more respectful, open, helpful, challenging, but less judgmental form of social work.If families do not trust their social worker, they will play the game of doing what they believe is expected of them but will not really positively embrace change. They will operate in a climate of being ‘observed’ and ‘judged’ - giving little away.
4 Research suggests conferences should Have a greater focus on planningEnable families to present their viewsEnsure all views are grounded in evidencePromote discussion and explore dissentPlace a strong emphasis on relationshipsReduce power inequalitiesBuild on strengths7 of 17Like to be able to tell you that all of these things led us to design in WB a model which delivered to these requirements but actually we didn’t know about the research until afterwards and used it to support implementationIt was essentially a values driven exercise. By then Restotrtive practice and ideas were gaining currency, led by a burgeoning FGC service. The values can be summarised by the restorative window (next slide)
5 Strengthening Families Framework From Minnesota to Gateshead and Brent!Two mentions in the Munro first report (Dr Munro is also due to speak at an international conference in the Netherlands on Signs of Safety approach in Sept 2011)More similarities with than differences from the traditional business meeting format of Child Protection Conferences…ReportsPre-meetings with familiesMulti-agency meeting with parents attendingDecision about harmProtection plan…but designed to help families participate more easily, to help all participants assess risk better and for all to be more engaged in the development of a CP plan.
6 Underpinning influences of SFF Andrew Turnell & Steve Edwards book “Signs of Safety”Focus on risk and safetyKey learning from Family Group Conferences (FGC)FGC & Restorative PracticeUK CP ConferencesMessages from ResearchSigns of Safety and Solution Focused practiceCase Mapping9 of 17FGC and restorative practice – level up the playing field; importance of preparation; everyone getting the chance to have their say, share their information, state their position without being shouted down.Messages from research – also influential in making them want to empower family voicesCase Mapping – say more about that in a minute.So – get on with describing how the model works in practice
8 Key differences Building safety for children at risk of harm Visible and transparent analysis of the information presented to the meetingAnalysis of risks as well as safety/protective factorsEngages professionals and parents as part of the solutionSeeks cooperation thus highlights lack of cooperationThe plan is owned by the conference and is not the work of the chair – improved working together in core groupClearer about outcomes which indicate effective safeguarding – better chance of change or timely decision making.Information is sifted and organised
9 Strengthening Families Framework Danger/HarmRisk StatementsComplicating FactorsSafetyStrengths/Protective FactorsStrengthening Families FrameworkSafety Statement/ Outcomesℴ Detail re: incident(s) Bringing the family to the attention of the agency.ℴ Pattern/family historyGENOGRAM/ECOMAPStrengths demonstrated as protection over timeℴ Pattern/history of exceptionsℴ Risk to child(ren)ℴ Context of riskℴ Condition/behaviours that contribute to greater difficulty for the familyℴ Presence of research based risk factorsℴ Assets, resources, capacities within family, individual/communityℴ Presence of research based protective factors(Grey Area)Description of the child’s careexperience in positive termsOutline Plan1. Keyworker2. Visiting frequency3. Outcomes4. Core Group – who?5. Core Group dates6. Safety bottom lines7. Review CPC dateLohrbach, S. & Sawyer, R (2004) Creating a constructive practice: family and professional partnership in high-risk child protection case conferences. Protecting Children, 19(2):
10 The role of Conference Chairs; RolesThe role of Conference Chairs;ActiveFacilitativeDirectiveChallengingEnablingExpectations of professionals;Clearer focus on analysis of risksEngagement in the protection plan
11 Key elements Chair meets family first Layout of room Refreshments Style of chairing (facilitative)Family can be helped to complete genogramSuccinct presentation of informationFamily gets opportunity to respondClear and transparent focus on risk, danger, harm, complicating factors and safetyRisk statementPlan – focus on bringing about changeDecision
12 The conference set up White Board 11 of 17 Preparation and seating The shape of the seating is different – a horseshoe in front of the whiteboard. The arrows (click them in if they are not there) represent contributions from participantsNote the arrows – say more about that laterWhite Board
13 Potential benefits/challenges Shifts the balance of powerSignificant change in the approach of chairsImportance of multi-agency ownership and engagementShould have a system wide impactThe focus must be on risksRequires professionals to synthesise and analyse informationDevelops intervention plans rather than monitoring plans – requires different skill set
14 Implementation - Haringey Presentation and discussion at LSCBRole of CPAs in early planning for the ICPCDevelopment work with CPAsMulti-agency briefings for social workers, TMs and partner agenciesReport and minutes formatsPracticalities – room, whiteboard and refreshments
15 The Brent Experience Initial Stages; Began by observing a conference in West BerkshireDiscussion with the Chair’s on implementing theapproach in Brent.Challenges were the different approach for Chairs toconferences, lack of money to implement significantchanges, and limits on room size and locationsWould other agencies embrace new approach?How would we evaluate its effectiveness?
16 The Brent Experience Implementation; Chairs agreed to share experiences and give it a go(one opted to retire)Two multi-agency outreach sessions arranged todemonstrate and explain the new modelInitial feedback was that new approach is embracedAgreed a timescale for beginning the new format andevaluation period by conference attendeesKept the conference room arranged the same, but addedwhite board as focal point. Chair mainly stands to writeAll done for a cost of approx. £500 (two white boards,some supplies, training room rentals, and biscuits!)
17 White Board is natural focal point Conference Room LayoutWhite Board is natural focal pointWhite Board
18 Current Risks/ Concerns Safety/Protective Factors On The White BoardCurrent Risks/ ConcernsHistoric/Complicating FactorsGrey AreasSafety/Protective FactorsStrengths/ PositivesHow significant is the harm or risk of harm to the child(ren)?Low HighDifferent Colours used for professionals family, and Social Care.How likely are the children to suffer harm without Social Care’s involvement?Low HighDesired OutcomeActionsBy WhoBy WhenSally no longer experiences the emotional harm from domestic violence in the home.Social worker to refer mother to a domestic violence agency to explore safety planning and cycles of abuse.Social WorkerMotherWithin 2 weeksASAP
19 The Brent Experience Results; Feedback from professionals and family members arethat 68% in favour of new formatAnecdotal evidence shows less conflict with families,less adversarial format, more engagement with planGreater understanding by family and professionals as towhat the concerns are, acknowledgement of strengths,and grey areas that need to be done or assessed furtherMore discussion and debate amongst participants on theplan and decision makingCP Plans much SMARTer and built for purposearound the children and family’s needs.
20 The Brent Experience Unexpected Results; Professionals and Social Workers are increasinglyincorporating the 5 categories into their assessments andreports to conferenceSocial Work managers using categories in supervision tohelp gain better understanding and insight into casesKey Complaints;Takes too long!“We should have always done them (conferences) this way,I don’t know why we didn’t” - Health Visitor, 20+ years experience
21 Hackney Experience Context of Reclaiming Social Work Influences are: Strengthening FamiliesFamily Network MeetingsBehavioural and Systemic Approach
22 Hackney’s introduction of New Conferencing Broad consultationNumber of workshops for agenciesInternal workshops for Hackney CYPSTraining for Chairs – Solution Focussed/Signs of Safety/ Systemic workWork with case holding Units to promote Signs of Safety assessment tools for children.
23 For further details… West Berkshire Signs of Safety Website Signs of Safety WebsitePresenter Contact Details