Introduction The social work process has changed dramatically within the intervention of child protection. The following paper will discuss the process over the last three decades. Also it discusses the important changes including some methods and skills which have developed. In addition a background of the crisis intervention is discussed. The legal discourse has also been very influential within changing the process especially the Children’s Act 1989. This is clearly discussed within this paper. A critical analysis of the process is included, with paying particular attention to ethics and values.
The early childhood protection intervention has been transferred from a child-oriented approach, whereby intervention was mainly focused directly towards the child. This process is now one of a modest collection of pilot projects to one compromising of a multidimensional domain of theory. While in the 1970s childhood protection was changing to a new era, which consisted of significant social changes. Society began to introduce a new system of developing preventative work to support children and families. This created a much needed support for families, consisting of play groups and youth clubs.
The early methods used within the childhood intervention was extremely weak whereby assessments were not always undertaken or completed with no emphasis on time limits to complete assessments. The analysis perspective was weak and little planning was provided. There was little emphasis on social workers reflectively making notes, with no clear reasons or expectations for the basis of intervention. These methods then highlighted certain issues which consisted of duplication and repetition of information. Furthermore information was not shared freely to incorporate a multiagency perspective.
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The intervening process has been changed to one of a huge economic, social and technological change to compromise a holistic approach. Currently intervention focuses on the service user being the centre of the work with a personalised process. One process frequently used within child protection is the crisis intervention. Its theoretical origins have risen from varied sources and comprised one of a psychoanalytic thinking perspective. Crisis intervention was highlighted by Lindemann (1944) study of grief with the reactions of survivors and relatives after a night club fire.
He concluded that they all shared five similar reactions of guilt, hostility, pre occupation with the image of the deceased, somatic distress and loss of pattern of conduct. Lindemann also found that people needed encouragement to morn. Caplin (1964) goes on to explain that the problem in which an individual faces “stimuli which signals danger to a fundamental need satisfaction and the circumstances are such that habitual problem solving methods are unsuccessful within the time p of past expectations of success”(Caplin 1964).
Rapoport (1967) conceptualised the intervention process particular within the initial stage, referred to now as assessment. In which clients should have immediate access to workers in a crisis situation. The crisis intervention has now moved on to influence coping capabilities within the immediate crisis and not focus on long term therapies such at C. B. T, which can be followed up later when the service user has emerged from the initial crisis. Roberts (1991) designed a seven stage model of crisis intervention, which is to be used as a guide for assessing.
He also believed solution- focused therapy should be incorporated at the same time as the crisis intervention. Roberts also states that crisis intervention should culminate with a restoration of cognitive functioning, crisis resolution and cognitive mastery (Roberts 2000) However a critic perspective is that if such intervention is not handled correctly it may cause distort reality, maladaptive coping strategies, O’Hagan (1991) believes it is time limited, within a constructive period. Parker (1992) designed a crisis intervention flow diagram which is used to assess a referral to crisis intervention.
The crisis theory is used to optimise social functioning therefore enabling choices and maximising respect, so the service user can empower themselves and live an independent life. Although the crisis intervention process has moved forward, it may fail in some aspects of diversity to take into account of different cultures, societies because it was generally developed in a western framework therefore it consists some western cultural assumptions . Middleton (1970) locates the process of assessment firmly in the context of social work values and states “ respect for individual difference is central if the rocess is not going to dis empower the individual but enhance their strengths and coping abilities. The current assessment process is now seen as an art and science and in context is much more dedicated towards social workers involving wisdom, skills, to appreciate diversity and equality. With using a human diversity framework process. Clifford (1998) describes the inter connected elements in assessment. As “assessment has to partake of scientific, theoretical, artistic, ethical and practical elements” (Clifford 1998).
Assessments are now seen as an ongoing fluid and dynamic process and social workers are using this framework. It helps to positively acknowledge that development and changes in people’s lives is a continuous process. (Hepworth, Rooney and Larsen 1997) suggested a second way to categorise assessment in social work is within a time specific formulation. The processes of assessments include the notion of Fooks (2002) joint construction of a narrative exchange model, by making the service user the expert.
Coulshed and Orme (2006) describe how assessments may be understood by its core processes, its purpose of theoretical base. The theoretical base may also influence the process of assessment and could be related to that similar of personal values and beliefs. The assessment process has changed from one of service led process, which just focused on pathology and appeared to ignore service user’s strengths to change. To a personalised process whereby placing the focus on service user involvement at the centre of intervention.
By using this in assessment it can positively build on service users strengths to help ensure anti oppressive practice, with an emphasis on self responsibility. Saleeby states “ the strengths perspectives focuses on positives with the intention of increasing motivation, capacity and potential for making real and informed life choice” (Saleeby, D. 2006). With an emphasis on using the C. P. R model. Assessments undertaken now are to consider a wide variety of factors; for example the environment, living system, culture and diversity which can impact on the service user.
Social workers are now adopting new approaches in assessment for example “to think out of the box” . Therefore insuring a multi disciplinary approach and holistic overview to take into consideration all aspects of the service user’s life. The principles of intervention and assessment are to insure it is child-centred; using informed child development theory’s within the framework to promote equality. With involving interagency services to build strengths, with the understanding that it will be a continuous process to adopt change and empower service users.
The Department of Health (2000) published its own framework for assessment to ensure assessments secure the well being of children and provides a systematic way of analysing children within their family and wider community. This framework pays attention to the legislation of the Children’s Act 1989. The legal discourse is a contested domain it has influenced the process of child intervention in many ways. As defined by Ball (1996) “the body of rules whereby a civilized society maintains order and regulates its internal affairs as between one individual and another, and between individuals and the state” (Ball 1996).
Legal discourse is divided into two areas, the statutory law which is the current legislation. The children’s Act (1989) was implemented to change the process of intervention to ensure all children are protected not just vulnerable children, which was the main focus of previous intervention. This changed the assessment process to include many children from different backgrounds and cultures, making this law highlighted the importance that a child from any background and culture is protected. Earlier intervention seemed to focus on the lower, working class or families in poverty.
The act sets out guidelines to promote and ensure wellbeing and equality for all children. The act promotes that children should be best kept within the family home unless the case is in extreme circumstances of abuse or neglect. Bowlby highlights that children need secure attachment, therefore promoting the well being of all children within their family unit. Children were no longer removed as quickly from their family surrounds and placed into institutions and care for the fear of maternal depravation. Bowlby’s theory highlighted, if a child does not form a secure attachment it could significantly impair their future mental health.
Another aspect of legal discourse is the case law which was established by previous case reasoning’s and case findings. It can be referred to, to help change legislation and to avoid unnecessary mistakes within the intervention process; the laming report (2003) was used in this way to help to ensure no further such cases as the tragic death of Victoria Climbie would occur again. The legal discourse is used to promote social work values and ethics, thus ensuring social justice to protect and ensure the wellbeing of all children.
However a critic can be taken from (Dung 1984) he is concerned that despite a veneer of objectivity and neutrality. Statutory law can be used as a vehicle to improve Eurocentric and middle-class norms on working class and non- European families. Conclusion In conclusion to this paper it can be clearly seen that assessment and intervention has moved forward in the last three decades to place the service user at the centre of involvement, to empower and enhance their quality of life. It now promotes the wellbeing of all children not just the vulnerable.
Bowlby’s attachment theory is very much used within social work and has influenced the legal discourse and practice of social work . As we can see the crisis intervention as positively moved forward by the influence of various theorists. Legal discourse is important to ensure we can learn by our practice by case laws and the statutory law insurers’ equality and protection. References Coulshed V & Orme, J. (2006) Social Work Practice: An introduction (4th Edition). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Clifford, D (1998). Social Assessment Theory and Practice a Multi-disciplinary Framework.
Aldershot: Ashgate. Howe, D (1992). An Introduction to Social Work Theory. Aldershot: Arena Fook, J (2002) Social Work Critical Theory and Practice: London. Sage Fowler J (2003) A Practitioners Tool for Child Protection and the Assessment of Parents. London: Jessica Kingsley. Healy, K. (2005). Social Work Theories in Context. Basingstoke. Palgrave Macmillan Hepworth, D. Rooney, R & Larsen, JA (1997). Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills (5th Edition). London: Brooks Cole Publishing. Laming H (2003). Victoria Climbie Inquiry Report: C.
M 5730: London: The Stationary Office Middleton, L (1997) The Art of Assessment: Birmingham Venture Press O’Hagan, K (1986) Crisis Intervention in Social Work: Basingstoke MacMillan Parker, J. (2007b). The Process of Social Work: Assessment, Planning, Intervention and review in M Lymbery & K. Postle (Eds) Social Work. A Companion for learning: London. Sage. Payne, M (2005) Modern Social Work Theory (3rd Edition), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Roberts A, (2000) Crisis Intervention Handbook. Oxford University Press Saleeby, D. (2006). The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice (4th Ed. ). New York: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon
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