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This essay is made up of two parts, part one and part two. In part one of this assignment I will be responding to a children's case study. I will assume that I am a local social worker and describe how I would apply the law to ensure the needs of any service users and carers are met whilst demonstrating how I would incorporate an anti discriminatory and anti- oppressive approach. I will first outline my problems then show how I will improve their situation whilst applying the law.
Stephanie and Stephen are both very young and as a result to their parents' lifestyle they have been forced to look after themselves. Stephanie has now become a young carer and can no longer enjoy the ‘joys' of being a child. The children are witnessing domestic violence and this will affect them psychologically. The children have already mentioned their bad experiences about living in foster care and refuse to leave their parents. The Children Act 1989 aims to protect children making sure that their rights are fully exercised.
As a local authority social worker I will look into the children's situation and whether they are likely to suffer any significant harm. According to the (Children Act 1989 s47) significant harm is the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in a family life, to make sure that the childrens best interests are met. As the childrens social worker I will work along my statotory guidelines to make enquiries to find out if there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm .
The GSCC (2010) has statutory guidelines which social workers should meet at all times. These guidelines mean that carers, service users and the general public are aware of the the standard of conduct and what sort of service to expect. The Code of Practice for Social Care Workers requires social workers to protect and promote the interests of service users and carer. It also helps to promote the independence of service users while protecting them as far as possible from danger or harm. A social worker should also respect the rights of service users whilst ensuring that their behaviour does not harm themselves or other people. I will make sure that all these apply as I assess and work with all the agencies, children and adults involved in this case.
I will need to do an assessment before I can make any sort of decisions. Coulshed and Orme (2006 cited in Milner and O'Byrne 2002) define assessment as, “an ongoing process in which the service user participates, the purpose of which is to understand people in relation to their environment; it is the basis for planning what needs to be done to maintain, improve and bring about change. Kemshall (1998 cited in Milner and O'Byrne 2002) argued that it is a process of professional judgement or appraisal of the situation, circumstances and behaviour of the service user and it might involve risk assessment.” (pg 3)
According to DCSF (2010) In 2003 the Government published a Green Paper called Every Child Matters. This was published alongside the formal response to the report into the death of Victoria Climbié which lead to Children Act 2004. Victoria was abused and totured by her aunt and the man who lived with them and she eventually died. Every child matters Change for Children sets out the national framework for local change programmes to build services around the needs of children and young people so opportunities are maximised and risks minimised. Once an assessment is done, as a local authority social worke it is my duty to make sure that these children are looked after under the right conditions, be it at home or away from home. Under (section 17 (1) (a) of the Children Act 1989) It shall be the general duty of every local authority to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need.
In relation to stephanie and Stephens case I will do an Initial assessment from the time I receive the referral. I will then call in an inter-agency strategy meeting to decide wether the trheshold (significant harm) has been met, under section 47 of the children act 1989. At this meeting there will be discussions on who will do what in order to make a better life for these children. In this meeting we will have the police (part of the child protection team)- to adress the issues on domestic violence, sustance misuse (for parents), social worker to adress neglect and home conditions issues, school teacher or mentor to address attendance, health worker, the children and parents present. This will enable the local authority social wotrker to gather as much information as possible to help her make a decision in the best interest of the children.
Following the strategy meeting, as the social worker I will then do a core assessment which is a depth study of the family and the children. It will help me gain a clear understanding of the childrens needs and how best these needs can be met. in this assessment I will expore extended family martenal or partenal Parents in the mean time could go to rehab. If all else fails, I will then initiate care proceedings where I will apply for an interim care order to share respondsibility whilst respecting the child's wishes as mentioned under the Children Act 1989 s1 (3)(a) the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned and s1 (3) (c) the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances.
All these people are to be present because Brandon et al (2007 cited in Milner and O'Byrne 2002) stated that where parents are not part of an agreement or part of the result they tend to reluctant to accept any help offered to them. This leads to reassesment which is a waste of resouces. Howver while all assessments should be fluid and on-going , they are rarely successful without the full participation of parents.
The social worker should also take into account section 10 (2) of the Children Act 1989 which gives the court power to make section 8 orders meaning that the person with whom a child lives, or is to live, to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the order, or for that person and the child otherwise to have contact with each other. The wishes of the children should be taken into consideration, Walker (2004 cited in Milner and O'Byrne 2002) conducted a study and found very little evidence of informing or consulting children and young people during an assessment process. He suggests that this might be because social workers are so involved with case management that they have little experience or confidence in direct working with children.
The wellbeing of stephanie and stephen should be at the top of the list whilst making any decisions. We should make sure that the five outcomes of every child matters are met, as stated by Milner and O'Byrne (2002) they should be healthy, in lifestyle and the avoidance of drugs; be safe-cared for and have security and stability; enjoy and achieve-achieve educational and social developments and be able to enjoy recreation; make a positive contribution which includes enganging in dcision making, deal with changes and challenges etc and achieve economc well being which includes engaging in further education and living in a household free from low income.
7. whilst doing my research I will need to be very vigilant and use as many resources as I can find in order to do a complete assessment which is right for stephanie and stephen. Milner and O'Byrne (2002) argue that social workers do not always use researched evidence well. They depend upon a barrage of risk assessment tests despite their poor predictive power. These reports are very powerful and remain durable for as long as they are needed. Taylor and white (2000 cited in Milner an O'Byrne 2002) said that the assessments might have been prepared after one session of fixed questions with parents, which may indicate medium risk yet ignore evidence of high neeed.
7. Whilst s47 enquiries are being made, I will conduct a core assessment. This assessment will concentrate on the harm that has occurred to stephanie or stephen or harm that is likely to occur to them as a result of child maltreatment. This will help to inform future plans and the nature of services required. Decisions about significant harm are very complicated which means that I will need to be very careful in order to obtain the correct result based on the childrens circumtances. There will definitely be a discussion between the statutory agencies and with the child and family.
Mrs W is an elderly lady who's husband recently died. She currently has mobility problems and is unable to cater for herself . she is lonely and could still be bereaving after losing her husband. As an elderly lady I think that she probably fears going into a home and having to lose her home. Her daughter who currently looks after her lives far away and she probably needs to cater for her own family needs as well.
GSCC. (2010). Codes of Practice. Available: http://www.gscc.org.uk/codes/Codes+of+practice+FAQs/. Last accessed 17 February 2010.
Milner J and O'byrne P (2002). Assessment in social work. 3rd ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan
List Of Statute:
The Childrens Act 1989, London :TSO
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