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CHILDLINE (Trinidad and Tobago). Parallel Session 3. The role of child helplines as access point to child protection systems with a special focus on improving referral mechanisms and case management. Parallel Session 3.

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parallel session 3
Parallel Session 3

The role of child helplines as access point to child protection systems with a special focus on improving referral mechanisms and case management

parallel session 31
Parallel Session 3

Effective Case Management is needed to provide a structure which enables counsellors and referral partners to offer counselling and follow up in a planned and purposeful way to each client.

What are the main requirements of Effective Case Management:

  • Ability to offer an appropriate plan as soon as a case is received.
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Parallel Session 3
  • Each Plan must be tailored to the specific needs of the case:
    • The counsellor has to decide what type of intervention is to be offered.
    • Who are the partners to contact for the best available outcome for the case.
    • The case is then referred to partner or partners promptly.
    • The main partners are likely to be:
      • The Police
      • National Family Services
      • Child Protection Agency
      • Health/medical facilities
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Parallel Session 3
      • Social Workers
      • Education System (Student Support Services)
      • Children’s Residences
      • Family Court

Counselling is one of the most frequent interventions offered to clients on the helpline.

How is counselling offered:

  • By the counsellors on the helpline itself.
  • By referral to specialist counsellors for face to face counselling.
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Parallel Session 3
  • Counselling by the helpline
    • Cases where child is not at risk of harm.
    • The likely issues may relate to identity, self-esteem, relationships etc.
    • Likelihood of positive outcome over the helpline or via online counselling
    • The child is able to understand what the counsellor is saying, which depends on language, age and level of development of child.
    • Referral is not usually required.
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Parallel Session 3

2. Counselling by Specialists

  • Serious cases when it is determined that a specialist professional is needed, sometimes over an extended period
  • Cases of trauma from abuse or neglect
  • Cases of children with special needs, such as developmental issues, when counselling by the helpline would prove to be of little help
  • Cases of depression or threat of suicide
  • Cases of extreme anger with risk of violence to self or against others.
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Parallel Session 3
  • Counselling generally may require repeat sessions, even on the helpline, but more so in specialist sessions.
  • Counselling requires patience and consistent therapy by both the client and the counsellor.
  • Counselling, to be successful, must be participatory, the client must recognize the need for help and is willing to be helped.
  • Counselling must be easily accessible to children, especially those in remote and difficult to access locations, and those without the means to access much needed interventions.
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Parallel Session 3

Effective case management demands active and consistent follow-up after a client has been referred to a partner organisation. For example, the referral of a child to the Police or Social Worker does not the end of the case for the helpline. In its activity log must be recorded dates when the helpline counsellors would follow up with the referred partners to ensure the case is being handled appropriately and on a timely manner, in the child’s best interest.

requisites of best practice for a child helpline
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Access – It needs to be available and accessible by children at all times. Violence can occur at any time and any where. We must be there 24/7 for the children as and when they need us.
  • Free – Children at risk often do not have the money to pay for phone calls, even if they have a cell phone. Helplines need to work with the national telephone service providers to ensure all calls to the helpline are FREE, even if they originate from another telephone provider: Cable & Wireless, Digicel, Flow etc. We must have a TOLL FREE NUMBER accessible by all children!
requisites of best practice for a child helpline1
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Confidential – Children and callers need to be assured that what they disclose to the helpline is confidential, and is not passed on to others without their consent. Exception may be when a child is in imminent danger and the police or medical services need to intervene immediately. Adults, such as neighbours and relatives who report on children at risk of neglect and abuse also require this assurance of confidentiality.
requisites of best practice for a child helpline2
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Staff Screening – Staff must be carefully screened for suitability to work with children. Obtain certificates of good character from the police, check references, previous employers to ensure there is no record of unsuitable behaviour, such as child molestation. Once employed, staff need to be continuously monitored, assessed and trained to ensure compliance with best practice on child protection.
requisites of best practice for a child helpline3
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Data Collection – All calls received must be logged into a database and client management system, such as CRM by Microsoft. This enables the helpline to track the management of each case, ensuring that needed actions are taken in timely manner. Referrals to other agencies are also recorded, with date and time of follow-up actions. At a glance, all relevant history is available, so staff on all shifts can take action as needed.
requisites of best practice for a child helpline4
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Data Analysis – Data analysis shows what is happening in the helpline. The trends such as geographic locations, age groups, gender, types of calls etc will guide policy and service delivery to protect children who are at risk in particular communities or schools. Data collection and analysis is often neglected as an important tool in child protection.
requisites of best practice for a child helpline5
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Outreach – Helplines are often thought of as people working in a call centre, answering calls from children. However, best practice also requires that a helpline engages in Outreach services:
  • To promote the availability of the helpline services so children know who to call when they need help.
  • To conduct workshops in schools and communities on issues such as alternatives to violence, what to do when faced with violence in different settings.
requisites of best practice for a child helpline6
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Data collection and analysis also highlight specific locations where children are at risk. Outreach carried out at these locations to both the children and adults in the communities serves to help eliminate or reduce the incidence of violence against children.
  • Child protection is not about sitting in air-conditioned offices to provide help or counselling to children in remote or depressed areas. We need to take our services to these children who often do not have the means to access our services. Children cannot be asked to travel long distances to receive face to face counselling!
requisites of best practice for a child helpline7
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • Collaboration – Effective and efficient child protection cannot be achieved by any one organization or sector or country. It requires close and genuine collaboration among stakeholders and agencies, such as the Police, National Family/Social Services, doctors and health facilities, counsellors, and safe homes where children at risk can be placed.
requisites of best practice for a child helpline8
Requisites of Best Practice for a Child Helpline
  • This collaboration needs to take place at the community level, at the national level, and at the international level.
  • Together , we can and will make a difference in the protection of our children from violence and harm.

Thank You.