Accentuating the Positive: Resilience and desistance approaches - Malcolm Hill

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Professor Malcolm Hill. Glasgow School of Social Work.

Session 2 - Building Better Childhoods, Understanding Contemporary Childhood. Chair Dr Bronwen Cohen, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland.

Getting It Right for Every Child: Childhood, Citizenship and Children's Services, Glasgow, 24-26 September 2008.

http://www.iriss.org.uk/conference/girfec

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Accentuating the Positive: Resilience and desistance approaches - Malcolm Hill

  1. 1. ACCENTUATING THE POSITIVE Malcolm Hill University of Strathclyde RESILIENCE AND DESISTANCE APPROACHES
  2. 2. WAYS OF SEEING CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE ROBUST PASSIVE ACTIVE VULNERABLE THREATENING VICTIMS LEARNING COMPETENT DEFICIENT
  3. 3. Sympathetic but critical review of RESILIENCE & DESISTANCE
  4. 4. INTEGRATED SERVICES Benefit from INTEGRATED THEORY
  5. 5. RESILIENCE DESISTANCE DOING WELL DESPITE SEVERE ADVERSITY CEASING TO OFFEND, TAKE DRUGS ETC. CAPACITY TO COPE WITH LIFE’S CHALLENGES e.g. Abuse, Family breakdown, Poverty, Bereavement, Community disasters Care and protection referrals Offence referrals Developmental problems Persistence of problematic behaviour
  6. 6. RESILIENCE DESISTANCE Developmental psychology Child & adolescent psychiatry Child & family social work Some education & care settings Criminology Sociology Probation/Criminal justice Addictions Main settings and scope Mostly children Also adults and families Mostly young adults Also young people
  7. 7. Shared Themes We can learn a lot from understanding how people ‘naturally’ get over or out of problems Based on studies examining the impact of events, informal supports and opportunities – sometimes alongside professional intervention The lessons from those who succeed in overcoming adversity and behaviour problems can be applied to those who have not succeeded (so far) Belief that individuals need not be trapped by their circumstances and history
  8. 8. Shared Themes Getting over or out of problems can involve different factors or processes compared with those that ‘caused’ problems in the first place Resilience / desistance factors Risk factors Psycho-social problems and offending Recovery
  9. 9. Shared Themes Fit with frameworks that emphasise capacities and resources , rather than deficits e.g. salutogenesis, health promotion, strengths-based and solution focused- practice The approaches are positively and/or future oriented in contrast to risk reduction and problem-solving approaches And social capital……….
  10. 10. Lists of Factors (Resilience) <ul><li>Intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Self-belief </li></ul><ul><li>Humour </li></ul><ul><li>A supporter/advocate/champion </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement in organised activities </li></ul><ul><li>Etc. etc. etc. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Interaction of INDIVIDUAL - FAMILY - COMMUNITY processes Resilience is not (usually) about lone, heroic efforts but combined efforts, external supports and opportunities
  12. 12. Desistance Interaction of PERSONAL OPENNESS TO CHANGE + EXTERNAL OPPORTUNITIES Life-stage 1. early teens - weak attachment to negative life-style and peer group - concern about consequences - ? avoidance of formal processing (Smith) 2. late teens - new friends/mentor/opportunities/meaning - sense of responsibility e.g. partner, child - wish to avoid formal processing - wish to replace ‘damaged’ identity 3. (adulthood)
  13. 13. Resilience & Desistance Neighbourhood influences Children in disadvantaged neighbourhoods benefit in safety and behaviour from access to: low cost organised and transformative activities pro-social friendship groups extended kin with additional resources opportunities outside the area
  14. 14. TIMING OF INTERVENTION Prochaska and Di Clemente When people are not committed to change , the focus should be on engagement and consciousness raising When they have become genuinely prepared to change , the focus should be on behaviour change and alternative social relations & identity When they have changed , the focus should be on relapse prevention
  15. 15. TIMING OF INTERVENTION Major life transitions encourage openness to change Therefore scope for building wider and deeper resilience capacities or behaviour changes
  16. 16. <ul><li>Assessments should cover actual and potential strengths/resources – </li></ul><ul><li>not just risk and need </li></ul>SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR SERVICES A key professional role is to work with existing self-restorative forces and promote personal and network resources The form of intervention takes account of the stage of preparedness to change
  17. 17. <ul><li>Vital elements: </li></ul><ul><li>Modifying attitudes and perceptions of self and others </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating links to informal supports/role models </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging activities/social associations that offer skills, trust, alternative identities, responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Helping to take advantage of educational or employment opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Seeking to secure stable accommodation </li></ul>SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR SERVICES
  18. 18. Drawbacks For example Neglecting root causes e.g. poverty, parenting Over-simple, individualised labels Implicit blame of the non-resilient and non-desistant Overlooking the apparently resilient and desistant Taking credit for successful interventions based on other approaches
  19. 19. Advantages For example Consistency with holistic, integrated services Positive orientation energising staff Service users feeling more respected Emphasis on partnerships between professionals and informal helpers – network members, mentors, volunteers Highlighting role of services like leisure and careers
  20. 20. CONCLUSIONS Fruitful to consider similarities and differences in the ways children and families ‘get out of’’ a) psycho-social problems b) problematic behaviour Adds to competence/strengths perspectives Applicable to a wide range of settings and methods Complement but should not replace attention to risks, problems and underlying causes Encourage a creative shift in direction
  21. 21. THANK YOU
  22. 22. Selected References <ul><li>Daniel, B. and Wassell, S. (2002) The Early Years , School Years, Adolescence , London: Jessica Kingsley. </li></ul><ul><li>Farrall, S. and Maruna, S. (2004) 'Desistance-focused criminal justice policy research. ' The Howard Journal 43(4): 358-367. </li></ul><ul><li>Hill, M., Stafford, A., Seaman, P., Ross, N. and Daniel, B. (2007) Parenting and resilience , York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. </li></ul><ul><li>Luthar, S. S. (2003) Resilience and Vulnerability: Adaptation in the Context of Childhood Adversities , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>McIntosh, J. and McKeganey, N. 2000 'The recovery from dependent drug use’, Drugs: education, prevention and policy 7(2): 179-192. </li></ul><ul><li>McNeill, F. and Whyte, B. (2007) Reducing Re-offending , Cullompton: Willan. </li></ul><ul><li>Seaman, P., Turner, K., Hill, M., Walker, M. and Stafford, A. (2006) Parenting and Children’s Resilience in Disadvantaged Communities , London: NCB. </li></ul><ul><li>Smith, D. J. (2006) Social Inclusion and Early Desistance from Crime . Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. </li></ul>

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