Social workers, Police, Teachers, Nurses, Housing, Youth workers etc, have all been heavily criticised over the years for not working together, yet can we confidently say we have moved on from that. I have not evidenced change, we continue to work in silo, independent systems, different roles and responsibilities.
We all independently work within our own guidelines, processes, access our own resources, because we all have differing roles and responsibilities, yet we all share the same aim, to #safeguard children, families and adults, so why are we not sharing what we know and the resources that each profession is accessing, which would enable us to learn and diversify our skill sets and to ensure that families receive a more collaborated response.
What we do know is that, this country has one of the best child protection systems in the world. Every day, thousands of people at the front line – social workers, teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses and many others – work tirelessly to support children and young people and help keep them safe. Yet we continue to read, evidence that good practice is not yet standard practice everywhere – and we should not rest until it is. But how do we achieve this, when it s something I have been hearing throughout the generations I have been in Social Work practice.
The Lord Lamming Report identified many action points, (which many still reference) one I must refer to is that (community care 2009 ): The government should ensure councils have sufficient funds to invest in early intervention and preventive services for children.
Has this been achieved, yes, but no.. in that every Local Authority does have (should have) their own Family Information Service (FIS) that provides free advice and information on a wide range of childcare options and activities for children aged 0-20, their families and their carers. This includes information on nurseries, childminders, out of school clubs, playgroups and parent and toddler groups. Which in some Local Authorities is a fantastic resource for families and professionals to access. However, despite this being available believe it or not but many professionals and families are unaware that they have access to this invaluable resource. So again I ask, what is the barrier to accessing resources?
I attended, as a guest, a conference in Merton about knife and gang crime, as we know, sadly there has been a significant increase in fatalities and young people being drawn, exploited into gangs. In attendance were some excellent well known service providers, all gave an amazing speech, spoke about their services and positive outcomes, opportunities for the young people and families they support. I was aware of all those in attendance due to the years I have invested in researching resources and developing the MAAPP LinkIndex key ring An attender at the conference, stood up and raised a valid point, that he acknowledged all the great work and support these organisations offer, but how do people find out about them? Stating he now knows because he has attended the conference, yet for those affected by the issues shared, where do they go, do they know where to go?
Such a valid point, which brings me back to what are the barriers and how can we improve and achieve ‘working together’ to promote awareness of targeted resources, that both professionals and families can access, and…. all disciplines. We all have a duty to #safeguard, therefore we should all have a duty to work more collaboratively and share resources that will inevitably promote better outcomes for children, adults and families.
Previously there has not been enough value given to the importance of integrating ‘resources into practice’ and because of this, it has not been an area that anyone has prioritised or researched. I have researched resources now for over 6 years and recognise their importance to children, families and practitioners and what could be achieved if we integrated resources at the initial point of contact, and considered what this would look like for families and professionals.
So what I have identified:
-Good resources are shared, however they are amongst multiple emails and due to time constraints are not centralised, or the list of resources not maintained or updated.
-Due to work load capacity when most people have free time, they prioritise work on the system, such as case notes, they rarely have time to research resources, one service search could take twenty minutes, this is not productive, and the majority did not save that search, therefore the hours wasted was a barrier.
-Although some may find this hard to believe but many people that I spoke to, do not know how to navigate a website properly, or have the time too.
-There are thousands of amazing resources out there, that will empower parents, enable us to enhance our own knowledge. With budget cuts training opportunities are becoming more limited, which then leaves the owners on the practitioner to take control of their own learning, with an awareness of resources this could also serve to support our self development and learning opportunities, and enable us to prepare work with families.
-Families are delighted when I share resources, I would say 98% of those that I have shared resources with, ask why no one else has ever shared resources with them before, and are keen to get home and look them up.
-Families have rang me thanking me for the information shared, such as the ACE’s, CCE- exploitation, supports for fathers, budgeting, FGM, separating parents, sexual harm-safety planning, there are too many to note here.
I am confidant in that the resource I have been working on for the past six years, will improve practice and promote better outcomes for families.
There are lots of benefits to having access to the MAAPPLinkIndex qrcode keyring, where you will have access to over 500 resources, over 30 categories, all giving you access to websites, videos and pdfs, all of which have their own unique qrcode for you to share individual resources with families, colleague or for you to access and learn. We must and can never stop learning.
The NHSSafeguarding team have endorsed the MAAPPLinkIndex key ring and on that note I must recommend their fabulous NHSSafeguarding APP