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Exploring the complexities in CP work. Caroline Meffan University of Hertfordshire c.meffan@herts.ac.uk. The risks. There are significant risks when working with families Hostility towards the social worker Misunderstood families Misguided social workers

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exploring the complexities in cp work

Exploring the complexities in CP work

Caroline Meffan

University of Hertfordshire


the risks
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
  • Safeguarding children
  • Children are the paramount consideration
  • At risk
  • Protect from harm
  • Can we say that they all mean the same?
significant studies undertaken
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

the risk perspective
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?)
multiple problems within families
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
  • 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
domestic violence
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
daphne project
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
legal policy context
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
un convention
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?
other issues for the families
Other issues for the families
  • Drug and alcohol problems
  • Mobile families
  • Children with disabled children
  • Issues for those with learning difficulties
  • Housing
  • Poverty
  • Education
engaging with families
Engaging with families
  • The hostile family
  • Passive aggressiveness
  • Passive hopelessness
  • Avoidant families
  • The manipulative family
brandon et al
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
gender issues
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
criminal behaviour
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
  • 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)
recent studies
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
  • The invisible child
  • Chaotic families
  • Being overwhelmed
  • Overwhelmed, unsupported families
  • Family and environmental characteristics
  • Overwhelmed professionals
  • Lack of professional confidence
themes continued
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.

  • 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.
  • 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?