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AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE INTER-AGENCY WORKING AUSTRALIA & AMERICA . JULIE LAWRENCE LECTURER IN SOCIAL WORK . INTERAGENCY RESEARCH. Australia (Victoria) Comparable with similar services developed in the United States of America (Connecticut) during the 1990s.

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an international perspective inter agency working australia america
AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVEINTER-AGENCY WORKINGAUSTRALIA & AMERICA

JULIE LAWRENCE

LECTURER IN SOCIAL WORK

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

interagency research
INTERAGENCY RESEARCH

Australia (Victoria)

Comparable with similar services developed in the United States of America (Connecticut) during the 1990s

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

slide3

THE INTENSIVE FAMILY PRESERVATION SERVICES

(FAMILIES FIRST)

  • An Evaluation of the Pilot Programme (2002)
  • Funded by the Department of Health and Community Services, Victoria
  • Examined Issues in collaboration with other agencies
  • A Child Protection Service & Family Support Services (Fostering)

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

families first
FAMILIES FIRST

Voluntary family support services

Small Pilot Programme

Two family workers, a supervisor, and an office manager

Referrals of children at imminent risk

Avoidance of ‘worst case scenarios’

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

families first specialist services
FAMILIES FIRSTSPECIALIST SERVICES
  • Has a therapeutic core to the work
  • Health & disability programmes
  • Substance Misuse Counsellors
  • Psychiatric Services Available

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

interagency relations and the front line worker
Interagency Relations and the Front-Line Worker
  • Wimpfheimer et al (1990) offer some principles for collaborative work.
  • Pre-conditions for successful collaboration…
    • Mutuality & Timing
    • Authority
    • Influence & Creativity

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

interagency relations
Interagency Relations…
  • These preconditions frame the experience of the front-line worker. Often these workers...
    • Receive & make Referrals
    • Act as advocates for the deployment of resources
    • Interpret policies & Discover unmet needs
    • Build or sabotage an interagency climate

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

social work task force england
Social Work Task Force(England)

‘Social Workers must play a leading role in keeping adults and children safe and thriving but cannot act successfully on their own: they rely on cooperation and action by other agencies and professions’

www.dcsf.gov.uk (2009:62)

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

methods
METHODS

Efforts made to explore the experience of front-line workers in interagency work

First 18 months dealt with 32 families

Case records were analysed

Interviews with Families First caseworker and Protective Services Workers

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

methods10
METHODS

Group and individual discussions with managers and caseworkers – service system issues

Local service providers in other agencies were interviewed

Arrival and performance of Families First

Invited to ‘stakeholder meetings’

Conclusions from the evaluation were shared at the end of the study period.

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

families first what worked well
Families First What Worked Well

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

what worked well
What Worked Well…

At policy Level both the Government and non-Government worked in Collaboration

Development of interagency philosophy – a shared focus

Planning for Staffing & Training

Establishing a framework for Evaluation

Both staff groups receptive to training

A senior link person appointed - referrals

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

what difficulties were experienced
What Difficulties were Experienced…

Referral Rates varied from across the service area

Some workers made ‘over-enthusiastic’ referrals – before the nature of risk was identified

Some CPS workers felt ‘stuck’ with hard cases

Professional judgements came into question about assessment recommendations from the CPS and whether the IFPS was appropriate

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

added difficulties
Added Difficulties…

Families First workers struggled to develop an identity recognisably different

Raised expectations by families

Refusal of children/young people to cooperate

Marriage & relationship referrals remained unfulfilled

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

analysis implications
Analysis & Implications

These observations echoed the report noted from the U.S.A. experience

Greater emphasis needed upon relations with other family support services (fostering)

Families do not perceive themselves to be ‘hemmed in’ by collusive professionals

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

analysis cont
Analysis Cont…

The Stayers: chronically troubled families…

IFPS has a role in terms of offering families hope – the surprise of discovering new skills and resources

IFPS has a distinctive focus for a brief period of service

IFPS is emotionally charged work – antagonism can flare up between agencies

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

in summary
In Summary…

A continuing struggle about separateness and the articulation of protective goals.

The establishment and maintenance of these common goals while allowing differentiation of means

Attention to risk and purpose suggests questions the referring CPW and the receiving IFPS worker might ask themselves and each other!

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

bibliography
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Campbell, L. (2002) Interagency Practice in Intensive Family Preservation Services. Children & Youth Services Review Vol.24 (9/10) pp701-718.

Department of Health (2009) Social Work Task Force: Building a safe, confident future. London: The Stationery Office.

Fraser, M. Pecors, P. Haapala, D. (1991) Families in crisis: The impact of intensive family preservation services. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

bibliography20
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lindsey, D. (1994) Family preservation and child protection: Striking a balance. Children and Youth Services Review 16, pp279-294.

Scott, D. (1993) Inter-agency collaboration: Why is it so difficult? Can we do it better? Children, Australia (18) pp4-9.

Wimpfheimer, R. Bloom, M. Kramer, M. (1990) inter-agency collaboration: Some working principles. Administration in Social Work 14, 89-102.

Julie Lawrence (PhD) Literature Review

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