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Are Participation and Child Protection Mutually Exclusive?. Henrietta Foulds Naomi Iliffe Central Sydney Scarba Service. Collaborative Research Project between The University of Western Sydney and The Benevolent Society Annette Michaux (TBS) Jan Mason (UWS)

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are participation and child protection mutually exclusive

Are Participation and Child Protection Mutually Exclusive?

Henrietta Foulds

Naomi Iliffe

Central Sydney Scarba Service

slide2
Collaborative Research Project between

The University of Western Sydney and The Benevolent Society

Annette Michaux (TBS)

Jan Mason (UWS)

‘Facilitating Children’s Participation in Child Protection Processes: the Starting Out With Scarba project’

Presented at the Ninth Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect 2003

outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation
  • Brief discussion of research
  • Findings of research

The Benevolent Society - Central Sydney Scarba Service

  • How Scarba was involved in research
  • Impact on Scarba and how research facilitated
  • How Scarba developed tools/processes to increase children’s participation in CP setting
research project rationale
Research Project – Rationale

Involving children in decision making

processes emphasised by legislation

  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child(1989)
  • Children and Young Person’s (Care and Protection) Act 1998
difficulties in implementing participatory aspects
Difficulties in implementing ‘participatory’ aspects
  • Lack of research on tools/processes
  • Adult focus and children’s views silenced
  • Definition
  • Can increase risks to child in Child Protection
  • Adult as gatekeepers
  • Children’s views are canvassed but not necessarily have the outcome they want
research project
Research Project

Central Sydney Scarba Service

  • Tertiary child protection service-ongoing DoCS involvement
  • Outreach
  • Long term casework and counselling
  • Multi-disciplinary team
  • Redfern
  • Demographics- domestic violence, parental drug use, mental health issues, isolation, single parent families, inter-generational abuse etc
research project method
Research Project - method
  • IV workers individually
  • Focus groups for workers
  • IV clients – adults and children
  • File reviews

Limitation – small study

research project key findings
Research Project – key findings
  • Children’s voices absent
  • Assessments adult dominated
  • Assessment process risk based contrasted with parents’ focus on needs
  • Conflict in implementing simultaneous protection and participation principles
research project key findings cont
Research Project – key findings cont.
  • Effectively engaging children takes longer and requires different skills
  • Children require more engaging
  • Where abuse, children distrust adults but want more say
  • Tensions in UN convention principles in opposing constructions of children
process for scarba being part of this research project
Process for Scarba being part of this Research Project
  • Foundation-current research
  • Team discussions / space for dialogue
  • Draw on workers’ professional experience
  • Non threatening environment
  • Acknowledge difficulties of CP and participation
  • Critical evaluation of Scarba model
  • What is Participation? - philosophy, tool, process, principle
  • Build on workers’ commitment to children and better practice
  • Consultant – Mary Jo McVeigh
tools processes developed by scarba
Tools/Processes developed by Scarba
  • Scarba identified and developed processes and specific tools to both increase and enhance children’s participation in their initial assessments and ongoing work

Illustrate by way of a case presentation

case scenario
Case Scenario
  • Mum
  • Dad
  • Peter (6 years)
  • Newborn

Referral information

  • Previous DV, homelessness, parental drug use, limited parenting skills, behavioural difficulties with Peter and medical concerns with newborn due to prematurity
scarba initial assessment
Scarba Initial Assessment
  • Assessment agreement with parents
  • 2 sessions with Peter and Mum
  • Scarba Booklet
  • Folder of donated work to explain service
scarba initial assessment cont
Scarba Initial Assessment cont.
  • Week 5 and 6 focus on Peter
  • Participation – child’s perception
  • Right not to participate
  • Variety of mediums used, previous reliance on spoken words
  • PPM’s – before / after sessions Peter
  • PPM’s agenda item - Participation
scarba assessment report writing
Scarba Assessment – Report writing
  • Participation heading – how participated
  • Peter’s views listed separately
  • Chance to read report separately (age dependent)
scarba ongoing work
Scarba ongoing work

Play Therapy with Peter for 6 months:

  • Consent – informed consent for specific pieces of work
  • New consent form
  • Policy of donated work
  • Feedback forms – different ages
children placed in oohc during scarba s work with them
Children placed in OOHC during Scarba’s work with them
  • Scarba policy change in working with children in OOHC
  • Benefits for Peter of this ongoing relationship with worker
  • Outcome versus process
scarba tools processes cont
Scarba Tools/Processes cont.
  • The use of photos of children
  • Negatives
  • Images for marketing purposes
  • Groups – Art Day, Circus, DV
  • Supervision – checklist
  • PPM – every agenda has participation
  • Including children’s views in evaluating our tools
outcomes for scarba workers
Outcomes for Scarba Workers
  • Worker more in touch with child / emotional impact
  • Increased worker understanding and connectedness with child’s experience
  • More accountability to child
  • Focus constantly shifts back to child
  • More aware of adult / child imbalance
  • Clinical work - workers talk more with parents about their children
  • Workers’ model for parents a more respectful attitude to children
implications for scarba service
Implications for Scarba Service
  • Time consuming, more demands on Manager
  • Emotional impact on workers
  • Identified participation is a process – not do it!
  • Requires more resources/training and support
  • Both energising and draining/reignites passion for working with children
  • Influence of other agencies willingness to embrace principal of participation
  • Requires more advocacy for child
conclusion
Conclusion

Participation

- can make a difference in promoting children’s interests

- Involves policy and practice changes fraught with difficulties and challenges

- Specific tools and processes can be used to increase children’s participation in a child protection setting

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Are Participation and Child Protection Mutually Exclusive?

Henrietta Foulds

Naomi Iliffe

Central Sydney Scarba Service

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