At their best, special funding measures provide opportunities for imaginative service development when the ability to innovate through mainstream budgets is increasingly constrained. Special funding usually aims at some form of positive discrimination, and in the case of the Urban Programme, it is towards multiple deprivation in local areas. There are important professional questions to be asked about the definitions of deprivation and the effectiveness of area-based projects, as well as the usefulness of particular types of work, in evaluating such developments. This article reports on a joint evaluation of four differing projects, but with a broadly `community development' approach, in urban areas in Scotland. It describes the evaluation methodology, identifies the objectives of the projects and discusses themes and problems common to the four projects: user participation; service provision; and social context.
This article is based upon the first stage of a research project on statutory child care reviews in Scotland and explores the role of reviews in the decision-making processes for children in local authority care. It argues that the position of the chairperson of reviews has an important role in locating child care reviews in the organizational structures of the Social Work Departments. The designation of the chairperson also has implications for the objectivity of the child care review. The nature of the conclusions of child care reviews is also explored and it shows that this is a complex issue reflecting the child care review's relationships to other decision-making bodies and the manner in which the delegation of authority for the chairing of reviews is structured.
This second article based upon the first stage of a research project on statutory child care reviews in Scotland explores the perceptions of the functions of reviews. It identifies a number of primary functions (monitoring, decision-making, coordination of information, making earlier decisions more specific, reassessment of earlier decisions, and long term planning) which can be viewed together as elements in a rational model of decision-making. With certain provisos, this model allows us to distinguish analytically the explicit purpose of child care reviews. It shows that although a number of other functions (administration, check on work input of social worker, inform management of problems, staff development) take place in reviews these are not perceived as necessary to reviews and as such can be considered secondary functions
There has been controversy for several years about the role of child care reviews - are they for decision-making or only for monitoring the progress of children in care. At the heart of this debate have been questions of involvement of children, parents and professionals from other agencies. This article takes forward these arguments based on research in two Scottish social work departments. As well as reporting and discussing the key issues, it identifies when and how different people (children, parents, social work department staff and other professionals) participate in reviews. It also addresses the specific implications of the external monitoring and decision-making role of the Children's Hearings system.
This article attempts to highlight the pressing need for social work to take more account of the existence of alcohol problems being experienced by many elderly people. Surveying the available sketchy data, it would appear the perhaps as many as 15% of elderly social work clients may have alcohol related problems. The article continues by considering whether a discernable pattern of elderly drinking is identifiable, concluding that the greatest problems relate to the severity rather than the numbers having alcohol related problems, also coupled with an inability to access existing treatment services. Additionally, the article contends that there are ethical pitfalls in promoting interventions which rest upon stereotypical assumptions or purely technical considerations. In conclusion some of the main implications of the survey for social work practice are drawn out.
This article discusses emerging work in mainstream social work practice with perpetrators of child sexual abuse. It emphasizes the importance of adopting a structured and planned approach in the development of practice with perpetrators of child sexual abuse. The article describes a three phase model of working which structures work around: assessment and planning (establishing factual information about the offender and the offence; assessment and the construction of a risk profile; establishing the basis for monitoring the perpetrator in the community; development of a contractual basis for work); intervention (the professional network in monitoring the offender; detailed attention needs to be paid to offender attitudes; discrepancies between offender language and behaviour need to be identified and challenged); and closure (the development of the offender's own awareness of risk factors in respect of his potential for further offending; the development in the offender of learned routines for diversion from situations of risk; work actively seeks to develop and encourage examples of positive, assertive behaviours; work actively seeks to develop and encourage an increase in age appropriate relationships and expansion of the offender's non-abusive social network). It also discusses the necessary organisational supports for practice: training, supervision; and management.
This article describes the development of integrated child care services in Scotland with a particular focus on the role of residential child care provision. It discusses changes in Social Work Department policies and the impact this has had on their relationship with the Children's Hearings system. Recent research shows the pattern of use of residential and foster care in three Social Work Departments and issues in the development of residential services are identified. Three particular examples of service integration are described: residential outreach work; a centre for young people under an integrated management; and multi-agency youth strategies. Social work and education services in Scotland are in the process of radical change. In the context of the integration of child care services, the paper discusses the impact of local government reorganisation and changes in child care legislation.
Activities and opportunities for young people are restricted in rural areas. The effects of 'labelling' young people and their families can lead to social exclusion and discrimination. The literature of social work in rural areas has tended to focus on the 'macro' aspects of community development as opposed to the 'micro' aspect of working with individuals, families and groups. This article describes one project working with young people in difficulty in a rural area of Scotland. It assesses the effectiveness of the work of the project which involves: groupwork; individual work; work with parents; and work with other agencies. It argues that projects such as this can provide scope for innovation, flexibility and responsiveness to local needs in working with troubled young people and their families.
This paper is based on research funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation looking at change in services for children and young people in difficulty and the implications for inter-disciplinary working. The research is based on 80 interviews conducted with key individuals at local and national level (policy makers; managers and practitioners in agencies commissioning and providing services for families and children; professional organizations; consumer and user groups). It describes and analyses the changes in health, social work, education and the Children's Hearing system. The purchaser/provider split; local government reorganization and the Children (Scotland) Act will all affect collaboration in planning and service delivery for children and young people in difficulty. It identifies the potential problems and opportunities resulting from these changes and highlights the emerging issues relevant to provision of services.
There is increasing concern about the abuse of children in residential and foster care. Information on the abuse of children is reviewed and three types of abuse are identified: the physical and sexual abuse of children; programme abuse and system abuse. Developments in organisation, management and procedures to prevent abuse by staff and carers in residential and foster care in the UK are highlighted. Three crucial aspects in safeguarding children are stressed: listening to children; the selection, support, and training of staff and carers; and promoting openness through the involvement of families and the community. While improvements have undoubtedly taken place in policy and practice, there can be no room for complacency. The UK experience, therefore, has important lessons for practice in all countries. Children in care have often experienced abuse and neglect in their own home environment; the least they should expect is safety from abuse when in care
While there have been a small number of high profile cases of the abuse of children by hospital staff, there has been relatively little attention paid to the child protection issues for children staying in hospitals. Drawing on a conceptual framework from work on institutional abuse, we identify three types of abuse: physical and sexual abuse; programme abuse; and system abuse. Physical and sexual abuse can be perpetrated by medical professionals and hospital workers, it can be perpetrated by other children, or it can be perpetrated by the child's own parent(s). Research evidence from the United States suggests that the rate of abuse in hospitals is higher than in the family home. Programme abuse occurs when treatment and care falls below normally accepted standards. Recently, a tragic case of programme abuse concerned the unacceptably high death rate of babies undergoing heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary. System abuse is the most difficult to define but concerns the way in which child health services fail to meet the needs of children. Recent reports have highlighted inadequate services for children and young people, lack of priority given to children's services, and geographical inequalities in the provision of services. Three crucial aspects in safeguarding children from abuse are highlighted: listening to children; the selection support and training of staff; and external systems of inspection, monitoring and standards. The recent government agenda which has placed quality at the centre of NHS service developments are discussed. Only by addressing the abuse of children in hospital openly and honestly will effective child protection be possible.
The principal aim of this community study was to devise a model - to be employed by a Council in the east of Scotland - for engaging local people in the identification and assessment of expressed need and unmet need in relation to early years services. A collaborative approach with community members was used to identify issues, and to devise and partially pilot a model for future use in creating a 'dialogue' between the Council and its constituents. This paper outlines the methodology of the model and focuses on the successful aspects of the methodology and the obstacles encountered. The findings can be extrapolated onto many contexts where there is a desire to move towards developing an authority-community approach and, as such, will be of interest to policy-makers and practitioners alike.
While all children may be the victims of abuse, disabled children are particularly vulnerable. This paper explores the views of professionals working with children using alternative/augmented communication systems on the issues relating to communication about abuse. Interviews were carried out with 20 staff from eight establishments for disabled children across Scotland. It describes the range of alternative/augmented communication systems used and the barriers to communicating about abuse. Staff generally accepted the importance of providing the appropriate vocabulary in augmented communication systems, but systems that provide such vocabulary were not widely used. Staff considered that a major difficulty concerned the level of understanding disabled children might have about concepts of abuse. They were unsure how the appropriate vocabulary could be introduced in a natural way and how links could be made between the signs and their meanings. Staff saw themselves as those most able to protect the children, but it was felt that discovery of abuse was more likely to come from them noticing physical signs, behaviour or mood changes rather than from the child communicating explicitly about abuse. The need for appropriate training and increased coordination between social work, health and education is highlighted.
This article explores findings from a recent research project, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and contextualizes these in a discussion of some current thinking about inclusion and exclusion. Although the research found that it was possible to prevent disciplinary exclusion from school and that inter-agency working was central to this, nevertheless strategies for preventing disciplinary exclusion often meant that young people were no longer very fully included in the mainstream school curriculum. This has implications for how we think about and use the idea of inclusion in practice and raises questions about how we can include the most challenging young people into inclusion theory and practice. This research was carried out in Scotland, and the article also discusses some key differences in policy and practice from England.
This paper explores dilemmas and tensions between two models of school based inter-agency meetings to prevent disciplinary exclusion from school. The first model is characterised by innovative practice developed through long established professional relationships and addresses both individual and strategic issues in supporting young people who are at risk of disciplinary exclusion from school. The second model strongly emphasises the right to participation of young people and their families in school based inter-agency meetings. Research participants in three Scottish councils (parents, pupils, teachers and other professionals) had identified school based inter-agency meetings as key to the process of inter-agency working to prevent school exclusion.
High profile scandals of abuse and poor outcomes of children in residential child care have contributed to a government focus on improving the quality of services. There has also been a significant effort to promote the rights of children and young people. In Scotland, there have been a number of national developments which include national bodies to regulate social care services, the social care workforce and to co-ordinate the training of residential child care staff; legislation to enhance the protection of children; and the creation of the role of Children's Commissioner to promote children's rights. As well as these national measures, it is important to place the developmental and emotional needs of children and young people in residential care at the centre of quality services.
Some five thousand children and young people are in residential and foster care in Scotland. Many experience poor outcomes and concern about the quality of care has led to a number of government initiatives including the registration of care services and the social care workforce. Children and young people in state care experience a high level of mental health problems. Mental health services, however, have not served this vulnerable group well. The issue of the mental health of children and young people is now high on the government's agenda. A national needs assessment has set out an important agenda for the development of services. In addition, a number of innovative projects have focused on meeting the mental health needs of children and young people in state care. It is important that these developments lead to integrated and flexible mental health services in order to improve outcomes and well-being of children and young people in state care in Scotland.