Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Christina Clarke

    —    Bring harmony into a family unit.

    —  Obtain assistance to the family unit.

    —  Monitor/PCT surveillance.

    —  Preventative Targets.

    —  Identify and administer.

    —  Meetings.

    —  Outcome.

  1.   Bring harmony into a family unit—A Social Worker is a community adviser/administrator. They should be trained in how a family, no matter how big or small, should acceptably function. Bringing into a family unit suitable boundaries and discipline. A Social Worker should not be entering a family home to target and split up a family unit. Their initial contact is to be approachable and advise on ways to bring harmony to that family unit. They should be hands on—with methods—to turn around the dysfunctional family.

  2.   Obtain assistance to the family unit—Parents often see unusual behaviour in their children prior to the professionals, due to spending much of their time together. A Social Worker should be asking what help has been offered that family. Obtaining further assistance to that family. After all, a Social Worker is not a medically trained specialist. The Social Worker supports the family through any problems and befriends the family to again obtain a harmonious family unit.

  3.   Monitor/PCT Surveillance—The Social Worker, during contact with the family unit, logs all contact and help given. The Social Care Team send a request to the PCT to monitor only the family concerned and to all log all contact with that family. The health visitor would carry out weekly visits in order to ascertain no further problems arising. Should there be further developments the Social Worker is informed via the professional—for the Social Worker to re-visit the family unit and put right anything that has developed. The PCT and Social Care stop surveillance after two years have elapsed and family unit is functioning to a better level.

  4.   Preventative Targets—Help and assistance to a family unit that turns a family unit around for the better is a preventative process than removal of the child. By all professionals concerned their logs must show what help or guidance they have given that family unit. If a profession has not provided any help, then the system has let down that family. The family is therefore not at fault, but that of the system. All logs are important in order to make any further decisions. Help may be by means of employing a cleaner to training or do the housework (deducted from family unit income), the help may be from identifying a medical condition via a specialist and support given for the family unit with means of care and/or respite. The help may be from the Social Worker providing parental guidance. All of which is logged.

  5.   Identify and Administer—A qualified specialist having identified a concern of severe harm to a child or children has a direct line to the Social Worker on the case. The Social Worker firstly sees the child (therefore being protected). The Social Worker contacts the family. The Social Worker also calls the CPC for backup. The Social Worker logs the process and the CPC handles the case. The Social Worker through any court process asks all professionals for a copy of there logs on that family. This is for cases of severe abuse, where harm to a child would continue. If community professionals were doing their jobs correctly they would ascertain the severe case quite quickly. Schools play an important part in this, as they could use education to identify the cause and also ask children to say or write. if anything bad happens, who would they tell. From this they know that the person they would tell could be advised on highlighting areas of concern and directing such concerns to the system. As a first point of contact for an issue, the person a child is likely to tell needs to be prepped in their role to protect that child. As the Social Worker is not a trained expert in every area of life—it is important that they administer (correctly) the help and concerns of outside professionals. It is the Social Worker's job to collate all information to be presented to a Judge if necessary.

  6.   Meetings—Should only be required if the child is to be or has been removed from the family unit. The parent at this stage would have to be fully versed on the outcome of their actions. The meetings are to give the child or children protection against any more severe harm. The meetings can still incorporate a care plan for the foster carer, but also needs to take into count the long term future of that child.

  7.   Outcome—because of preventative targets, very few children, unless being severely harmed, would be left in foster care. At a saving of £400 per week per child the saving could go to assistance, holidays and specialist help for the birth family unit. Those unfortunately that with regret end up in foster care need twice weekly support from the Social Worker. To again provide help or assistance to that child and/or foster carer. Rewards for bad behaviour in care must stop. The child affected by circumstances at a young age still need to be guided on the rights and wrongs of their actions. A good response deserves a good treat. Children that have the fortune of being adopted from foster care are again monitored for two years via the PCT surveillance and Social Care. This is to ensure the new parents are not placing the child into further harm.

  Overall, the Social Care system doesn't have to be a harsh one. Social Care needs to provide a positive outlook. The feedback in cases are from trained medical, educational professionals—the Social Worker is the community support worker that brings in any help or training needed into the family unit to put right any dysfunction. The protection and care of children is paramount to all professionals and lay persons, but the professionals need to be very hands on with the community in order to prevent any unnecessary suffering. However, if a child has had a traumatic upbringing, they should not be targeted by Social Care in their adult life. The Procedure stated in my bullet points would cover any new eventuality.

February 2008

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 20 March 2008