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Exploring the complexities in CP work

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  1. Exploring the complexities in CP work Caroline Meffan University of Hertfordshire c.meffan@herts.ac.uk

  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?