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Exploring the complexities in CP work Caroline Meffan University of Hertfordshire

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Presentation on theme: "Exploring the complexities in CP work Caroline Meffan University of Hertfordshire"— Presentation transcript:

1 Exploring the complexities in CP work Caroline Meffan University of Hertfordshire

2 The risks There are significant risks when working with families Hostility towards the social worker Misunderstood families Misguided social workers Why do we continue to question social work intervention in CP work

3 Terminologies Safeguarding children Children are the paramount consideration At risk Protect from harm Can we say that they all mean the same?

4 Significant Studies Undertaken Brandon et al (2002) Sinclair and Bullock (2002) London Serious Case reviews 2006-2009 Morris et al (2007) Rose and Barnes (2008) Brandon et al (2008) Munro (2011) Similar issues and outcomes identified

5 The risk perspective The dilemmas posed Premise that agencies are working together Frustrations inherent in social work practice Skills development – risk or uncertainty? No one says! (Who needs to know?)

6 Multiple Problems within Families Parental history London review – Out of 40 children selected 17% of mothers had experienced sexual abuse themselves Chaotic life styles Lack of parenting for them

7 Continued Mental health issues In the London study 60% of the families had a parent with mental health problems. In some instances the SCR found that psychotic illness was only identified after the death of a child

8 Domestic violence DV being seen as a significant problem within families In a number of studies (which offered similar statistics) 47% were identified with concerns around domestic violence Interestingly looking at the different studies approx 26% included an adult with a history of violence, other than DV

9 Daphne Project EU funded Explores Women and their experiences of DV and mental health that has been ignored in recent years Programmes for providers of mental health How do they identify with the impact on the chil

10 Legal/policy context The Children Act 1989 and 2004 Human Rights Act Adoption Act Working together document Social Work Task Force Munro’s review of social work in CP 2012

11 UN Convention Article 19 Who says that it works? How do social workers engage with the article? How does this work alongside the Children Act?

12 Other issues for the families Drug and alcohol problems Mobile families Children with disabled children Issues for those with learning difficulties Housing Poverty Education

13 Engaging with families The hostile family Passive aggressiveness Passive hopelessness Avoidant families The manipulative family

14 Brandon et al Continue to offer biennial analysis of SCRs in order to identify where social work and health professionals need to develop Outcomes and recommendations are similar and there is then the question of what is effective to safeguard children

15 Gender issues Fixed thinking about men Men and male care givers Fear of men Lack of understanding of women as perpetrators/abusers Social workers views on gender considerations

16 Criminal Behaviour More than half of the parents/carers in the cases reviewed by Brandon et al (2008) had a criminal record 6 (15%) of primary carers had a criminal record in the Sinclair and Bullock (2002) study and 14 (35%) secondary carers

17 continued In the Owers and Brandon (1999) study 9 out of 10 parents or caregivers had criminal convictions Brandon et al (2002) 6 out of 10 parents or secondary carers had a criminal record Parental criminality was a feature in 5 of the 12 analysed by Morris et al (2007)

18 Recent studies Brandon et al 2008 - SCRs Vincent 2009 protecting YP Sidebotham 2011- what do SCRs achieve? Sequeli 2012 - Lessons learnt? Brandon et al 2011- study of recommendations Munro 2011b final report

19 Themes The invisible child Chaotic families Being overwhelmed Overwhelmed, unsupported families Family and environmental characteristics Overwhelmed professionals Lack of professional confidence

20 Themes continued Multiple problems within the family Failure to exercise professional judgement Silo practice With these issues to consider and the impact of the work needing to be undertaken, social work is in a particularly difficult position.

21 Finally It would be naïve to think that child abuse and child deaths can be eradicated. However with growing evidence and knowledge perhaps a lesson can be learnt in protecting the vulnerable.

22 Questions How can we truely protect children from violence? What skills are needed to work with hostile families? How do we recognise abuse in families? Is it always the male figure who abuses? What has been learnt in your country?

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