Proactive Child Protection and Social Work
Publication Year: 2016
Protecting children from abuse and neglect is a serious and complex area of social work practice and understanding the critical skills of communicating with and listening to children's voices, and those of their advocates and survivors, is essential. In this new edition of a highly-regarded book, the authors offer a strengthened children's rights perspective and explore four main categories of child abuse - emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and physical abuse. The book also considers legal safeguards and protective processes to increase the creativity and confidence of those undertaking such work.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
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© 2016 Liz Davies and Nora Duckett
First published in 2008 by Learning Matters Ltd. Reprinted in 2009. Reprinted in 2011. Second edition published in 2016.
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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In memory of Helen Mitchell (1.01.1967–26.01.2014) social worker and whistleblower[Page vi]
About the Authors
We acknowledge the contribution of many survivors and whistleblowers, who constantly inform our work, including from the WhiteFlowers campaign. We also remember the children and families in the London Boroughs of Islington and Westminster, and where we worked together in the London Borough of Harrow, as well as young women in the sexual exploitation project Breaking Free, all of whose lives we recalled over and over again in writing this second edition. We thank Louise Cooper and Brian Douieb as without their support this book would not have been completed.
The revised edition of this book comes at an important time for social workers. Amid the changed and changing political context, which is having such a significant impact on children's present and future circumstances, social workers need courage and integrity to fight for social justice for children. To do so they need to be informed by sound evidence such as this book provides.
I first met Liz in 2004, when she made Golly in the Cupboard (Frampton, 2004 – my childhood memoir of growing up as a mixed race boy in children's homes) a key text for social work students. I have since taught many times with both Liz and Nora, contributing my experience and knowledge as a care leaver, survivor and campaigner to social work modules at London Metropolitan University.
The first edition of Proactive Child Protection and Social Work became a key text for UK social work courses and reviews praised its practical relevance. This second edition strengthens a children's rights perspective, updates research evidence and focuses in depth on the unmet, neglected protection needs of children in custody, disabled children, young carers and unaccompanied child migrants. The book also draws attention to changes in policy and political and resource reasons for gaps in the social work response as demonstrated by a wide range of case studies.
As co-ordinator of WhiteFlowers, a loose network of campaigners and whistleblowers, I have worked with both authors. Liz, as the whistleblower for children abused in Islington children's homes, has worked for over 25 years to seek justice for survivors. Together we have raised issues in the media and through political channels, including, in 2015, hosting two unprecedented conferences of survivors, whistleblowers, child protection professionals, lawyers and politicians at the House of Commons.
As in this revised edition, WhiteFlowers provides a voice to survivors and draws public attention to the experiences of victims. On the Belgian march of 1996, over 300,000 people carried white flowers in solidarity with parents of the children kidnapped and murdered by a group of child sex abusers connected to powerful people. On 4 October 2014, more than 50 survivors and whistleblowers held a vigil outside 114 Grosvenor Avenue in the London borough of Islington. As it poured with rain, they laid white flowers and spoke about abuse of children in this council home during the 1980s and 1990s.
Nicholas Rabet was a manager at Grosvenor Avenue children's home. He dressed like a cowboy with big boots and a sheriff's badge and owned an amusement arcade in [Page xii]Sussex. In 1991, Rabet first came to police attention in Cambridge, when photographs were found linking him with a known child sex offender. Later, Sussex police investigated but, despite their best efforts, there was no conviction. Rabet went to Thailand in 1995, was convicted of sexual abuse of 30 boys and then took his own life. Islington survivors say that they were taken by Rabet to Haut de la Garenne, the children's home at the centre of Jersey child abuse.
Many social workers would have visited Grosvenor Avenue just as they visited children in homes across the country where crimes against children are known to have taken place and where children were unprotected. This book is an essential tool for social workers to assist them in hearing the voices of children and noticing the indicators of harm. But as research tells us, hearing and seeing is not enough; children need social work activists and advocates to be courageous in confronting abuse whenever and wherever it happens and pursuing every possible means of keeping children safe. Social workers have a particular duty to children, like those at Grosvenor Avenue, who were in the care of the state. Too many excuses have been made for failings in supporting and protecting young people in care.
In The Golly in the Cupboard, I concluded:
With all the wealth and knowledge in our society, such children should be looked on as an opportunity to develop fine adults fully contributing to this world rather than future prison fodder. Society pays for its neglect. Children become Adults.
Protecting young people also involves helping them to develop a strong sense of self-esteem and self-value, and, if society understood and welcomed the real potential of every young person, there would be greater focus on protecting and nurturing every child to achieve that potential. The children's rights approach, presented so consistently throughout this book and grounded in the authors’ experience, promotes a sensitive, respectful response to children who have a right to protection from all forms of abuse.
Diamonds are not grown in flower nurseries but developed through years of pressure underground. Young people surviving care are diamonds. And diamonds do not appear all polished and shiny. You see a glint and then the task is to polish it. That way you will see the glint turn into a sparkle and the sparkle into a jewel.
Phil Frampton www.philframpton.co.uk
Appendix 1- Professional Capabilities Framework[Page 209]
Appendix 2- Subject Benchmark for Social Work[Page 210]5 Subject Knowledge, Understanding and SkillsSubject Knowledge and Understanding
5.1 During their degree studies in social work, honours graduates should acquire, critically evaluate, apply and integrate knowledge and understanding in the following five core areas of study.
5.1.1 Social work services, service users and carers, which include:
- the social processes (associated with, for example, poverty, migration, unemployment, poor health, disablement, lack of education and other sources of disadvantage) that lead to marginalisation, isolation and exclusion, and their impact on the demand for social work services
- explanations of the links between definitional processes contributing to social differences (for example, social class, gender, ethnic differences, age, sexuality and religious belief) to the problems of inequality and differential need faced by service users
- the nature of social work services in a diverse society (with particular reference to concepts such as prejudice, interpersonal, institutional and structural discrimination, empowerment and anti-discriminatory practices)
- the nature and validity of different definitions of, and explanations for, the characteristics and circumstances of service users and the services required by them, drawing on knowledge from research, practice experience, and from service users and carers
- the focus on outcomes, such as promoting the well-being of young people and their families, and promoting dignity, choice and independence for adults receiving services
- the relationship between agency policies, legal requirements and professional boundaries in shaping the nature of services provided in interdisciplinary contexts and the issues associated with working across professional boundaries and within different disciplinary groups.
5.1.2 The service delivery context, which includes:
- the location of contemporary social work within historical, comparative and global perspectives, including European and international contexts
- [Page 211]the changing demography and cultures of communities in which social workers will be practising
- the complex relationships between public, social and political philosophies, policies and priorities and the organisation and practice of social work, including the contested nature of these
- the issues and trends in modern public and social policy and their relationship to contemporary practice and service delivery in social work
- the significance of legislative and legal frameworks and service delivery standards (including the nature of legal authority, the application of legislation in practice, statutory accountability and tensions between statute, policy and practice)
- the current range and appropriateness of statutory, voluntary and private agencies providing community-based, day-care, residential and other services and the organisational systems inherent within these
- the significance of interrelationships with other related services, including housing, health, income maintenance and criminal justice (where not an integral social service)
- the contribution of different approaches to management, leadership and quality in public and independent human services
- the development of personalised services, individual budgets and direct payments
- the implications of modern information and communications technology (ICT) for both the provision and receipt of services.
5.1.3 Values and ethics, which include:
- the nature, historical evolution and application of social work values
- the moral concepts of rights, responsibility, freedom, authority and power inherent in the practice of social workers as moral and statutory agents
- the complex relationships between justice, care and control in social welfare and the practical and ethical implications of these, including roles as statutory agents and in upholding the law in respect of discrimination
- aspects of philosophical ethics relevant to the understanding and resolution of value dilemmas and conflicts in both interpersonal and professional contexts
- the conceptual links between codes defining ethical practice, the regulation of professional conduct and the management of potential conflicts generated by the codes held by different professional groups.
5.1.4 Social work theory, which includes:
- research-based concepts and critical explanations from social work theory and other disciplines that contribute to the knowledge base of social work, including their distinctive epistemological status and application to practice
- [Page 212]the relevance of sociological perspectives to understanding societal and structural influences on human behaviour at individual, group and community levels
- the relevance of psychological, physical and physiological perspectives to understanding personal and social development and functioning
- social science theories explaining group and organisational behaviour, adaptation and change
- models and methods of assessment, including factors underpinning the selection and testing of relevant information, the nature of professional judgement and the processes of risk assessment and decision-making
- approaches and methods of intervention in a range of settings, including factors guiding the choice and evaluation of these
- user-led perspectives
- knowledge and critical appraisal of relevant social research and evaluation methodologies, and the evidence base for social work.
5.1.5 The nature of social work practice, which includes:
- the characteristics of practice in a range of community-based and organisational settings within statutory, voluntary and private sectors, and the factors influencing changes and developments in practice within these contexts
- the nature and characteristics of skills associated with effective practice, both direct and indirect, with a range of service-users and in a variety of settings
- the processes that facilitate and support service user choice and independence
- the factors and processes that facilitate effective interdisciplinary, interprofessional and interagency collaboration and partnership
- the place of theoretical perspectives and evidence from international research in assessment and decision-making processes in social work practice
- the integration of theoretical perspectives and evidence from international research into the design and implementation of effective social work intervention, with a wide range of service users, carers and others
- the processes of reflection and evaluation, including familiarity with the range of approaches for evaluating service and welfare outcomes, and their significance for the development of practice and the practitioner.
5.5 These are sub-divided into four areas.
5.5.1 Managing problem-solving activities: honours graduates in social work should be able to plan problem-solving activities, i.e. to:
- think logically, systematically, critically and reflectively
- apply ethical principles and practices critically in planning problem-solving activities
- plan a sequence of actions to achieve specified objectives, making use of research, theory and other forms of evidence
- manage processes of change, drawing on research, theory and other forms of evidence.
5.5.2 Gathering information: honours graduates in social work should be able to:
- gather information from a wide range of sources and by a variety of methods, for a range of purposes. These methods should include electronic searches, reviews of relevant literature, policy and procedures, face-to-face interviews, written and telephone contact with individuals and groups
- take into account differences of viewpoint in gathering information and critically assess the reliability and relevance of the information gathered
- assimilate and disseminate relevant information in reports and case records.
5.5.3 Analysis and synthesis: honours graduates in social work should be able to analyse and synthesise knowledge gathered for problem-solving purposes, i.e. to:
- assess human situations, taking into account a variety of factors (including the views of participants, theoretical concepts, research evidence, legislation and organisational policies and procedures)
- analyse information gathered, weighing competing evidence and modifying their viewpoint in light of new information, then relate this information to a particular task, situation or problem
- consider specific factors relevant to social work practice (such as risk, rights, cultural differences and linguistic sensitivities, responsibilities to protect vulnerable individuals and legal obligations)
- assess the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, research, policies and procedures
- synthesise knowledge and sustain reasoned argument
- employ a critical understanding of human agency at the macro (societal), mezzo (organisational and community) and micro (inter and intrapersonal) levels
- critically analyse and take account of the impact of inequality and discrimination in work with people in particular contexts and problem situations.
5.5.4 Intervention and evaluation: honours graduates in social work should be able to use their knowledge of a range of interventions and evaluation processes selectively to:
- build and sustain purposeful relationships with people and organisations in community-based, and interprofessional contexts
- [Page 214]make decisions, set goals and construct specific plans to achieve these, taking into account relevant factors including ethical guidelines
- negotiate goals and plans with others, analysing and addressing in a creative manner human, organisational and structural impediments to change
- implement plans through a variety of systematic processes that include working in partnership
- undertake practice in a manner that promotes the well-being and protects the safety of all parties
- engage effectively in conflict resolution
- support service users to take decisions and access services, with the social worker as navigator, advocate and supporter
- manage the complex dynamics of dependency and, in some settings, provide direct care and personal support in everyday living situations
- meet deadlines and comply with external definitions of a task
- plan, implement and critically review processes and outcomes
- bring work to an effective conclusion, taking into account the implications for all involved
- monitor situations, review processes and evaluate outcomes
- use and evaluate methods of intervention critically and reflectively.
5.6 Honours graduates in social work should be able to communicate clearly, accurately and precisely (in an appropriate medium) with individuals and groups in a range of formal and informal situations, i.e. to:
Skills in Working with Others
- make effective contact with individuals and organisations for a range of objectives, by verbal, paper-based and electronic means
- clarify and negotiate the purpose of such contacts and the boundaries of their involvement
- listen actively to others, engage appropriately with the life experiences of service users, understand accurately their viewpoint and overcome personal prejudices to respond appropriately to a range of complex personal and interpersonal situations
- use both verbal and non-verbal cues to guide interpretation
- identify and use opportunities for purposeful and supportive communication with service users within their everyday living situations
- follow and develop an argument and evaluate the viewpoints of, and evidence presented by, others
- write accurately and clearly in styles adapted to the audience, purpose and context of the communication
- [Page 215]use advocacy skills to promote others’ rights, interests and needs
- present conclusions verbally and on paper, in a structured form, appropriate to the audience for which these have been prepared
- make effective preparation for, and lead meetings in a productive way
- communicate effectively across potential barriers resulting from differences
- (for example, in culture, language and age).
5.7 Honours graduates in social work should be able to work effectively with others, i.e. to:
Skills in Personal and Professional Development
- involve users of social work services in ways that increase their resources, capacity and power to influence factors affecting their lives
- consult actively with others, including service users and carers, who hold relevant information or expertise
- act cooperatively with others, liaising and negotiating across differences such as organisational and professional boundaries and differences of identity or language
- develop effective helping relationships and partnerships with other individuals, groups and organisations that facilitate change
- act with others to increase social justice by identifying and responding to prejudice, institutional discrimination and structural inequality
- act within a framework of multiple accountability (for example, to agencies, the public, service users, carers and others)
- challenge others when necessary, in ways that are most likely to produce positive outcomes.
5.8 Honours graduates in social work should be able to:
7 Benchmark Standards
- advance their own learning and understanding with a degree of independence
- reflect on and modify their behaviour in the light of experience
- identify and keep under review their own personal and professional boundaries
- manage uncertainty, change and stress in work situations
- handle inter and intrapersonal conflict constructively
- understand and manage changing situations and respond in a flexible manner
- [Page 216]challenge unacceptable practices in a responsible manner
- take responsibility for their own further and continuing acquisition and use of knowledge and skills
- use research critically and effectively to sustain and develop their practice.
7. 1 Given the essentially applied nature of social work and the co-terminosity of the degree and the professional award, students must demonstrate that they have met the standards specified in relation to both academic and practice capabilities. These standards relate to subject-specific knowledge, understanding and skills (including key skills inherent in the concept of ‘graduateness’). Qualifying students will be expected to meet each of these standards in accordance with the specific standards set by the relevant country (see section 2).Typical Graduate
7.2 Levels of attainment will vary along a continuum from the threshold to excellence. This level represents that of typical students graduating with an honours degree in social work.Knowledge and Understanding
7.3 On graduating with an honours degree in social work, students should be able to demonstrate:
Subject-Specific and other Skills
- a sound understanding of the five core areas of knowledge and understanding relevant to social work, as detailed in paragraph 5.1, including their application to practice and service delivery
- an ability to use this knowledge and understanding in an integrated way, in specific practice contexts
- an ability to use this knowledge and understanding to engage in effective relationships with service users and carers appraisal of previous learning and experience and ability to incorporate this into their future learning and practice
- acknowledgement and understanding of the potential and limitations of social work as a practice-based discipline to effect individual and social change
- an ability to use research and enquiry techniques with reflective awareness, to collect, analyse and interpret relevant information
- a developed capacity for the critical evaluation of knowledge and evidence from a range of sources.
7.4 On graduating with an honours degree in social work, students should be able to demonstrate a developed capacity to:
- apply creatively a repertoire of core skills as detailed in section 5
- communicate effectively with service users and carers, and with other professionals
- integrate clear understanding of ethical issues and codes of values, and practice with their interventions in specific situations
- consistently exercise an appropriate level of autonomy and initiative in individual decision-making within the context of supervisory, collaborative, ethical and organisational requirements
- demonstrate habits of critical reflection on their performance and take responsibility for modifying action in light of this.
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