An examination of collaborative working in child protection
Boodhoo, Amanda (2010) An examination of collaborative working in child protection. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.
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Collaborative working between health and social care professionals in child protection work has been generally promoted in the western world as best practice (Laming 2009, HM Govt 2010). Problems in achieving effective collaborative working have beset child protection systems and have been a constant feature in a number of serious case reviews (Brandon et al 2010). Collaboration between professionals of different disciplines is complex and involves interpersonal, interprofessional and interorganisational dimensions.
The aim of this research project was to investigate the extent to which health and social services professionals practising within two health and local authorities perceived that a collaborative approach was adopted between the two agencies when working both with families where there were children in need of services and families where there were children in need of protection. Factors that may enhance or inhibit collaboration were explored.
The sample used was a purposive sample, comprising social workers and health professionals working in one of two boroughs. A case study approach was adopted and data collection involved a mixed approach of both qualitative and quantitative methods. A postal survey across the two boroughs was undertaken, using a questionnaire which was distributed on two separate occasions to allow comparison of the extent to which there was effective collaboration pre and post the Laming Inquiry. The questionnaire included a series of brief vignettes and a multi staged vignette, based on real life cases which were anonymised and were developed to assess the application of thresholds across the two boroughs and across professional disciplines, and to explore collaboration throughout the safeguarding continuum. The questionnaire used a number of open, closed and scaled questions to generate both quantitative and qualitative data. The questionnaire was distributed to a total of 311 practitioners at the pre Laming stage and to a total of 300 practitioners post Laming.
In analysing the responses from participants across health and social care, a number of important themes have emerged. The responses to the vignettes demonstrated different levels of professional participation in work both with children in need and at different stages of the process for children in need of protection. Professionals in the borough with established child in need policies valued the multi-agency approach that was adopted in work where there are children in need of services There was lack of consensus in several of the cases in terms of thresholds of concern; a range of factors that may enhance or inhibit collaboration were identified, including shared thresholds, the practice of informal joint meetings, joint assessment and joint training. The majority of respondents believed the Laming Inquiry had impacted on collaboration in both areas of practice, children in need of services and children in need of protection. Although a number of positive outcomes of the Laming Inquiry were identified, the impact in terms of work load and stress generated as a result of policy change from the Inquiry were highlighted. In analysing responses in the current study, a theme that was very evident was the extent to which the emotional impact of safeguarding work affects the ability of professionals to achieve a collaborative way of working. In reflecting on the findings of the research the following recommendations are made:
In undertaking this current research and reflecting upon the learning that has taken place, as a result of the valuable input from professionals who participated, the following recommendations are made:
Recommendations at the level of practice
1. Health and social care organisations should consider the development of multi-agency practice teams to provide services for children in need.
2. Health and social care organisations should consider the development of multi-agency safeguarding supervision, based on a model that allows reflection, particularly for complex cases and includes the supportive element for practitioners.
Recommendations at the level of policy
3. Health and social care organisations should undertake assessments at the time of policy change to identify the financial and human requirements to resource the change.
Recommendations for future research
4. Further research is undertaken to explore in greater depth the emotional impact of safeguarding work and potential approaches to support professionals.
5. Future research is undertaken to explore the child and young person’s experience of collaborative approaches in safeguarding practice.
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD)|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||collaborative working practices, child protection,|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman|
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
|School / Department / Research Groups:||School of Health & Social Care|
School of Health & Social Care > Department of Health Development
|Last Modified:||18 Jul 2012 11:16|
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