Keeping an eye on the child: Key Capabilities and students as leaders in multidisciplinary contexts
Keeping an Eye on the ChildKey Capabilities and students as leaders in multidisciplinary contexts Brigid Daniel Professor of Social, University of StirlingWith thanks to Helen Whincup, Margaret Bruce, Stuart Eno, Judy Kerr and Rona Woodward
Leadership An increasingly multi-disciplinary context raises many questions about who is exercising leadership for whom and in what direction. Social work students look for leadership from the HEI, practice educators, peers on the course and practitioners and managers in placement settings. Social work students can also exercise leadership by bringing new ideas and up to date evidence and theory to practice settings.
Modelling Key Capabilities originally developed in relation to working across all specialisms in social work. By following the spirit of KCs students can model the need to maintain an eye on the child not only across social work, but across disciplines and agencies. Students can thus model a service – user centred approach. Work with adults who have children is enhanced in all settings if it incorporates attention to and respect for their role and identity as parents.
Leadership influenced byKCs The KCs model what is expected by GIRFEC policy (soon to be legislation) and the revised Getting Our Priorities Right (imminent). A number of other initiatives have been influenced and informed by the KCs.
NHS Education for Scotland (2011) CoreCompetency Framework for theProtection of Children. Edinburgh: NES Level 1 The practitioner will recognise and report situations where there might be a need for protection Level 2 The practitioner will contribute to protection children at risk Level 3 The practitioner will implement aspects of a protection plan and review the effectiveness of this Level 4 The practitioner will develop and lead on the implementation of an overall protection plan.
Common Core of Skills, Knowledge &Understanding and Values for the“Children’s Workforce” In Scotland ‘The people who work with children, young people and their families every day, who build up strong relationships and promote children’s rights, are key to ensuring we achieve this vision...’ ‘The Common Core describes the skills, knowledge and understanding, and values that everyone should have if they work with children, young people and their families, whether they are paid or unpaid.’
Essential Characteristics of those who work with children, young people and families in Scotland:A. Relationships with children, young people and familiesB. Relationships between workers Non-discrimination Best interests of the child Right to life, survival & development Respect the views of the child 14 common values
Future settings Students will graduate into a practice world where personalisation and self-directed services will be key drivers within the context of integrated services. Concepts are contested, but the underlying concepts are congruent with the social work values PEs have been promoting for as long as social work has been in existence. The agenda has been somewhat taken from social work. Our students can help us to wrest it back and shape future personalised services that are underpinned by social work values.
From ‘multi-disciplinary’ toIntegrated’ The terms are often not well-defined - ‘terminological quagmire’ (Lloyd et al. al): ‘coordination’, ‘collaboration’, ‘multi-disciplinary’ ‘inter-disciplinary’ The term ‘transdisciplinary’ working has emerged to describe joint working, in partnership with people who use services (Sloper 2004).
Integration Integration tends to be seen as one end of a spectrum that has autonomy at the other. Need to distinguish integrated services from integrated care . Integration can be at ‘macro’ or strategic, ‘meso’ or service; and ‘micro’ or individual user levels; it can also be vertical or horizontal. IRISS suggest that the ‘emphasis should be on service integration rather than on organisational integration’ (IRISS, 2012; Petch, 2011; Reed et al., 2005)
Implications for education andtraining? ‘...there is a range of ways in which education and training can develop to support this structural and cultural shift in care.’ 4 key concepts for multi-professional working: 1. Client-led service 2. Core competencies 3. Shared responsibility 4. Professional identity Hubbard, G, and Smith, J, 2012, Education and training for health and social care multi-professional working and service integration, University of Stirling, Stirling.
‘Stakeholders cited child protection as an example of professionals moving away from being task oriented and only focusing on the tasks that their particularprofession fulfil (e.g. teaching, nursing, social work or policing) to taking collective responsibility for protecting the child.’
Options for education and training Continuity of multi professional education Joint teaching and learning A common undergraduate teaching programme Joint placements Leadership courses Case studies and joint care plans Basic architecture
The Key Capabilities Effective Communication Knowledge and Understanding Professional Confidence and Competence Values and Ethical Practice
The term ‘child care and protection’ is used to refer to a broad spectrum of activities including the prevention of harm, the promotion of the welfare ofvulnerable children and the provision of therapeutic support following abuse or neglect rather than the investigative interviewing process.
Practice learning opportunities Ethical Meaningful Outcomes for service user, student and organisation Creative links within and between teams
Early concerns Flexibility is good, but has downside especially as different HEIs address KCs differently. The focus on children could overshadow other specialist areas. Creativity can be good, but there are also dangers of a more tokenistic response. IRISS (2008)
Problems Belief that evidencing KCs means doing children and families work. ‘Bolting on’ a piece of work from a c&f setting just to meet the requirement. Tick box approach. Assumption that is only applies to young children. Assumption that it only applies to a narrow, forensic definition of ‘child protection’. Missed opportunities in other settings. Is it out of step with increasing moves towards ‘people’ / ‘public’ protection structures?
Danger of fuelling risk aversion ‘Risk society’ increasingly preoccupied with anxiety about all manner of risks and with risk prediction and regulation (Beck, 1992; Giddens, 1999) Social work activity is inextricably associated with many perceived social risks such as substance misuse, anti-social behaviour and child abuse. Escalating anxiety about risk has been tracked by escalating social work activity to predict, manage and contain risk.
The concept of risk has moved from a neutral term, describing the likelihood of an event occurring, to a negative concept focusing exclusively on the likelihood of something ‘bad’ happening Munro (2007) The proliferation of risk assessment frameworks aimed at preventing ‘bad’ things happening has appeared to be an unstoppable tide, ‘The big problem for society (and consequently for professionals) is establishing a realistic expectation of professionals’ ability to predict the future and manage risk of harm to children and young people.’ (Munro, 2011; p. 18).
Risk-taking – adult services ‘Risk-enablement’ is promoted, and is described as being concerned: ‘ …with managing these risks effectively and finding a balance between the need to protect vulnerable people and promoting the rights of the individual. Individuals will be allowed to take informed risks if they understand their responsibilities and the implications of their choices ‘ (in-Control website).
Examples of evidencing KCs Student in a prison setting noticed the range of different approaches and strategies different men took in relation to their children: ‘working away’ from home phone and letter contact but discouraging visits encouraging visits and contact. Student identified the differences and assessed the implications for prisoner and children at the time and on release.
Student in a criminal justice team, working with a man about to be released from custody home to partner and children. History of offending, domestic violence, substance misuse and concerns about attachment of children to both parents. Good communication amongst prison social workers, LA social workers (C&F and CJ), health visitor and substance misuse worker – all providing their own expertise, keeping a focus on needs and safety of the children . KCs used to explore ethical dilemmas in supervising the service user , avoiding stigma of offending history and monitoring wellbeing and safety of the children.
Student in a drug and alcohol setting using Cycle of Change with a lone parent – considered also the implications for parenting capacity and for the child of the intervention. Student working with older people being re-settled at home after illness – assessed the potential impact on grandchildren of the increased caring responsibilities their mothers had assumed. Day care setting for people with dementia – student reviewed the child protection policy in context of more outreach and community based activity.
Day care setting – student working with people with dementia produced a leaflet for children about dementia. Useful information to aid discussion with families of people with dementia. Another worked with a social care officer to deliver an awareness raising session on dementia to a local P7 class – many already had experience of dementia in family / community.
Students as leaders Students demonstrate leadership for all disciplines in how they approach the issue of children in all settings: students are good at asking questions e.g. ‘does this person have any children?’ students are good at curiosity e.g. ‘I wonder what the impact might be upon children – in the community, in the school, in the family etc...’ students read the literature e.g. lifespan work that helps explain the impact of the past upon the present; ecological work that looks at inter- connectedness.