Interesting and important items on child welfare we found this week:

Review of Parent and Family Engagement in Child Protection

“While social work practices emphasise people’s self-determination as fundamental to evoking change in parents when care falters, there is global acknowledgment of the struggle child protection authorities have to meaningfully engage parents and families.”

This research paper from 2013, written by Mary Ivec, a researcher at the Australian National University is a must-read for anyone engaged with or working in child welfare.

The paper offers powerful insights into national and international models of engagement with parents going through child protection proceedings and makes a strong case for why, and how, these models need to change.

The summary offers six key recommendations for making child protection processes inclusive and effective:

  1. Think in context (be it the family, the community or the wider system) and do not impose a preconceived theory;
  2. Listen actively by engaging all stakeholders; be clear on what is to be expected; be outcome focused and problem-solving; build commitment by having families find their own motivations to improve; communicate staying power and belief that change is possible;
  3. Engage fairly and respectfully including with dissenting voices, whose experiences can often lead to improved ways of operating;
  4. Embrace systemic approaches — multiple decision-makers and problem-solvers (networked governance) make better decisions than sole decision-makers removed from the front lines. Community collaborations with a coalition of key and diverse partners can assist at a family or a systems level;
  5. Be collaborative in capacity building — shared responsibility requires shared decision-making. The key to the success of many of the models of engagement is to think through all major decisions and to bring the authority for decision-making as close to the family as possible; and
  6. Learn, evaluate and share what is learnt.

You can read the paper here. 

Court orders change in living arrangements for child following parental alienation

A robust summary of this case (Re H (parental alienation) PA v TT and H [2019] EWHC 2723 (Fam)) has been published on Lexis Nexis, which has been produced by solicitor Jenny Bowden.

The case involves a 12 year old boy whose parents were embroiled in a custody battle, which included domestic violence allegations made by the mother, and parental alienation allegations by the father.

This is a complex case, both for the lines being crossed by both parents and the impact of the court’s decision on the child.

You can read the summary here.

Conference on organised sexual abuse 

A one day conference being held in London in March, will look at organised sexual abuse, including ritual abuse, prolonged incest and the intergenerational transmission of sexual violence.

The session is being led by Dr Michael Salter, who we consider to be an excellent academic in this field, and is being co-hosted by the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation.

Additional speakers and participants include Margot Sunderland, Adah Sachs, Kathryn Livingston, Mark Linington, Sue Richardson, Valerie Sinason, and Nancy Borrett.

While this conference is geared at child welfare professionals (and cannot be attended without paying a registration fee), we are adding it here as it may be of interest to our readers. A discounted fee is being offered to students.

The conference takes place on 5 March 2020, at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London, from 10am-5pm.

Michael and other attendees may also tweet during the conference, for anyone who might like to know more about this subject but cannot get to the meeting. You can tweet with Michael at @Mike_Salter. 

You can access the conference schedule and registration page here.

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