Tag Archives: skills
Have you ever had a day where you have wished that for one moment time would stop, just long enough to allow you to grab hold of everything that is going on and truely understand what is happening. I have worked in child protection for many years and rarely do you find time where you can reflect upon one specific family giving them all of your attention. For this reason I am glad that is protected time, where as a manager and as a Social Worker I can explore people thoughts and expanded on the grey and unknown areas. Although this is a good social work skill, reflecting and critically challenging your anylsis is so important and not always easy, especially with the first assessment, where you may be rushed or pushed to complete because of the pressure of meeting timescales, evasive families or what ever the reason may be assessment can be lost to the pressure of the timescale and any following assessments that have been referred back in. However, despite this I have been reminded recently that this is not always the case!
As a manager I have had to learn to keep an eye on these timescales and ensure they dont slip, but also equally ensure that they are completed with the highest quality of standard to ensure the right outcome is reached – Not for me or my manager, but for the child within each family. Seeing the child, hearing the voice of the child and understanding their position within the family should be easy? After all, there is a multitude of tools, training designed to promote and engage the child to ensure at the mininum that they are given time and space to express their wishes and feelings.
I had recently changed teams, I am starting to like change, I find it keeps my practice fresh and up to date but also more importantly it provides me a challenge! And in doing so I have had to open my eyes to a different way of working a different way of understanding. Risk still remains and plays a big part of my role in reviewing and approving assessments, but now there is a complex element that needs careful consideration and research. I have found myself being challenged by some of my new team who do not agree and this has had an affect on me, making me reflect upon my own practice, my own management style and how I present myself within the team, questioning the decisions that I am making. Concious, that equally they are going through the change process with me, as I challenge and tackle their own practice.
However, no matter what, no matter how precious time is, I still cannot allow the child to be lost within the family and the assessment that I am presented. Furthermore, challenging the blank carpet statement that prevents and blinds the social worker to really unpicking and discovering where the support within a family is really needed or from creating the plan that supports the child in need or the child in need of protection.
Life has a funny way of having patterns, last year my second blog was about assessments. And again this year I am left thinking about the effect of assessments especially when they have been done badly.
An assessment is being described “as the beginning of helping another person or family” and an “to aid the planning of future work together” (Taylor and Devine, 1993) The “Assessment is the process of systematically gathering and analysing information about the client, family and context.” (Taylor and Devine, 1993)
So there is a clear focus of what assessments are and what the function of the assessment should be. However, is it always this easy! the method of intervention is key, and the workers ability to gather and analyse the information is essential.
The need to complete an accurate assessment is essential in order to safeguard and protect children. Part of the assessment is about the context of the family, what am I observing? and what does this mean? It is here where a worker needs to be confident and able to probe into the history of the parents to fully understand their parenting and own childhood.
And this is where I am glad that the issue of time-scales are being removed, because in some families the trust to disclose this information can take longer to earn. Or there is a risk that the wrong conclusion could be reached.
This week I have met a family in crisis, left ripped apart from an assessment that had assessed them as abusive, neglectful and controlling. The benefit of completing this assessment has not helped either the family or the young person. The young person has now experience a double rejection and has no contact with their family.
The danger is in the method of gathering information, when factual information is misunderstood. Or leading questions have developed a picture you have created and closed questions have not adequately challenged the information you have been given.
For this family the trust in social care is destroyed, the relationship with their child is lost. For those that complete assessments remember your aim and consider the models and tools that you are going to use to gather your information. Remember to allow the family to tell their story and challenge inconsistency’s and probe.
There is no silly questions, and I remind the family that I do not live their life and I want to understand so need to know everything no matter how big or small. It is also important to have a good team around you to be able to bounce thoughts off and check for gaps in the information you have to answer your questions.
I hope this time next year, I will not be looking back again on this subject. However, I fear that unless more time can be found and given to complete better quality assessments I may be.