Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham Book Launch

Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham

Understanding the Consequences and Recommendations for Practice

 Child Sexual Exploitation

TUESDAY 25th July 2017 – 13:00 – 17:00

Room 0026, Kingston Hill campus, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT2 7LB

Tickets: FREE

Register your interest and book your place here: HSCE-events@sgul.kingston.ac.uk

 

Join us for the launch of Adele Gladman and Angie Heal’s new book Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham, along with a special seminar featuring talks from a panel of experts including the authors and 3 guests. They will be presenting insights that bring up to date everything we now know about the impact of the cases in Rotherham on responding to issues of CSE in the UK and what this means for services working with children and young people in the future. There will be time for questions and discussion, as well as an opportunity to network.

Complimentary refreshments will be made available, as well as a chance to buy Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham at a discounted rate.

There are limited tickets available for this event so please book your place early to avoid disappointment.

About the Panelists/Speakers…

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When did it all go wrong between social work and the media?

To mark JKP’s 30th anniversary year, Martin Barrow discusses the relationship between social work and the media, and the negative impact it has on society’s views of social workers. Martin (@martinbarrow) is a foster carer and writer for The Huffington Post having previously worked as editor for The Times back in 2008. He writes about social work, mental health and child welfare. He is also an editor of the upcoming title Welcome to Fostering, publishing in May. 

When did it all go wrong between social workers and the media? You can do worse than to look back to 1987, exactly 30 years ago, to the Cleveland child abuse scandal. This was a profoundly disturbing case in which dozens of children were removed from their families on the basis of diagnoses given by two paediatricians. In the face of a public outcry the doctors were challenged and, eventually, many of the children were allowed to return home. By then, an entire community was traumatised and social workers, as well as paediatricians, had become demonised.

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How to Start Tricky Conversations with Child Sufferers of Abuse

abuseDaisy Law has over 17 years’ experience as a teacher of English and literacy. As a teacher, she has been trained in safeguarding and understands the importance of children being able to disclose secrets about abuse, neglect and other such topics.

Not all conversations are easy, even when you’re an adult. Whether as a parent, a teacher or a health and social work professional, there are some discussions which can feel too emotionally charged for us to confront. The reasons some conversations are trickier can be many and varied, but when that difficult talk is with a child sufferer of abuse, it’s important to see things from their point of view. In the trickiest conversations with children, support for them is more important than our own discomfort.

Any form of child abuse can be so entrenched in societal taboos that the shadow of those structures affects the way we approach speaking about it with kids. We may not mean to. We may not even know we’re doing it. But nonetheless, our choice of words, tone or body language can reinforce issues of blame and shame which children who have been abused often carry within.

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Read an extract from Learning from Baby P

shoesmith_learning-from-b_978-1-78592-003-5_colourjpg-webSharon Shoesmith has worked with children for almost 40 years in a career which culminated with her role as Director of Children’s Services in the London Borough of Haringey. She was in this role in 2007 at the time of death of Peter Connelly, also known as ‘Baby P’. Blamed for his death and unlawfully sacked, Sharon Shoesmith became the primary target of a public and press-led outcry in the aftermath of the case.

Click here to read an extract

Learning from Baby P is Shoesmith’s dispassionate analysis of the events which followed Peter Connelly’s death, documenting the responses of the media, politicians and the public whilst defending social workers against the scapegoating which happens so frequently in the aftermath of high profile child protection cases. She explores the psychological and emotional responses we share when faced with such horrifying cases of familial child homicide, and how a climate of fear and blame which follows such tragedies can lead to negative consequences for other children at risk of harm, and for the social workers striving to protect them. Sharon now works as a researcher, writer and public speaker in areas related to education, social care and public perception.

Learning from Baby P is a thought-provoking book aiming to deepen understanding and shed light on the difficult relationship between politics, the media and child protection.

 

There is no formula when it comes to tackling child neglect

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse, but is hard to identify and address. Which is why Ruth Gardner decided to bring together a number of professional voices in her book Tackling Child Neglect, to look at the research, policy and practice involved in children’s services in the UK and the US. In this blog, Ruth shares her experience of working in children services over the years.
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Putting Black Children in the Centre of Safeguarding

It has become increasingly evident that black children and young people are facing victimisation in a context where their identities and experiences are marginalised and devalued. In this blog post authors and academics Claudia Bernard and Perlita Harris call attention to the lived experiences of black children in the child protection arena.

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Using non-threatening direct work with children – an interview with Audrey Tait

With one bestselling direct work resource under her belt already, Audrey Tait, with Helen Wosu, has produced another must-have guide, full of creative ideas to engage the whole family and effect positive change through direct work. On the release of her second book, Direct Work with Family Groups, Audrey reveals how she developed her direct work activities, her experiences in the field, and her most cherished memories.

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Audrey, you have 20 years of experience working with children in social work settings, how do you feel that that experience has prepared you for the work you’re doing now?

I trained as a nursery nurse originally and this gave me a good understanding of child development, but also the importance of play. My career was based in children’s centres, nurseries run by social work which offer a package of care to the whole family, they offer a service to some of the most vulnerable children. It is no surprise then that many of these children had difficulties with speech and language and many of the children had issues with their wider development. They often had no reason to trust adults or expect adults to meet their needs – they were in essence ‘hard-to-reach children’. In communicating with them the workers needed to be very skilled and played a huge part in facilitating communication. This is where I learnt and developed my skills both with individual children, and working with family groups. When I moved to train as a social worker (approx. 12 years on), while doing the training I worked shifts in residential care with children aged 12-18, I realised that my skills were transferable. Arriving in practice teams doing child protection work I naturally used these skills, but I realised in the course of the job that I sometimes needed to be able to talk about difficult things more quickly than I would have liked (i.e. sometimes on first appointment in case of child protection, with really no time to establish a relationship, and in a critical position where not fully understanding the child’s situation could leave them at risk). How to do this in an as non-threatening and as gentle a way as possible was where many of the direct work activities came from.

Activities from Direct Work with Vulnerable Children have been adopted by a large number of social workers – what do you think it is about the activities that appeal to social workers and their service users?

Children respond well to non-threatening direct work, they need you to meet their needs, they need to feel relaxed and to get something out of the engagement with you – play is a common activity that children, and everyone else, is familiar with. It has potential, when used well, to help the participants feel safe and reassures that it can help facilitate communication, and ultimately it is rewarding for all parties. This doesn’t detract from the serious subjects we are often dealing with, adults who work with vulnerable children and adults do so because they care, they want to get it right, and in my experience most will do anything they can to extend this care, ease communication and ensure people get a good service. When professionals use direct work and see positive results, they are naturally motivated to develop their practice in this area.

 

Tell us about your new book – Direct Work with Family Groups. How is it different from Direct Work with Vulnerable Children?

Direct Work with Family Groups explores the challenges of working with families in the community and there’s a natural progression from Direct Work with Children. In reality, in my practice I will work with the child individually and with the family group. Other times the emphasis will be on working with the child, then the focus will shift to work with family group, then back again and so forth, depending on the needs of the child/family. Many of the activities can be transferable from one-to-one work to group work, and the second book focuses on activities and case studies. With regards to family groups, often people (including me) find this type of work challenging because you have to meet several people’s needs at once, have many stages of development to understand and respond to, not to mention different personalities and group dynamics! The book attempts to give some practical ideas on how not only to begin to offer this work, but also to demonstrate through the practice examples how powerful this work can be!

 

The activities you’ve developed were borne out of 20 years of experience. How did the activities come about, and was there a moment when the activities started to take shape as a collection?

The individual activities usually come about by thinking about a family/individual, knowing what I need to do with them, and trying to match that with something they will enjoy/respond to. Ultimately most activities are transferable to other children/parents with similar interests or situations.


Can you recall your most cherished memory with a service user?

I really don’t know – I make new ones every week! Today a mother whom I worked with a long time ago brought her little girl in to show me how smart she was in her new school uniform. The little girl was smiling, proudly showing me her new shoes and telling me happily about her new teacher. I was with them not more than five minutes but that meant so much. When I first met the family, the mum was very defensive and didn’t want to work in partnership. The little girl’s needs were not met on any level – poor hygiene, not enough food and poor school attendance to name but a few of the issues and now look! If you enjoy all the small achievements, and the not-so-small ones, your work brings constant rewards.


What do you feel has been the biggest achievement in your career thus far?

Still being in social work! Largely due to working in such a great team and getting to work with some of the bravest children you could imagine.

 

Audrey Tait is a Senior Practitioner with the Children and Families Practice Team, City of Edinburgh Council. She has over 20 years’ experience working with children in social work settings and for the last 6 years has been delivering a training course, Communicating with Children, for the City of Edinburgh Council’s Children and Families Department. Audrey also co-authored the bestselling Direct Work with Vulnerable Children with Helen Wosu.

Learn more about Direct Work with Family Groups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about parents who aren’t able to emotionally connect with their child?

Jane Evans, trauma parenting specialist and author of Kit Kitten and the Topsy-Turvy Feelings and How Are You Feeling Today Baby Bear?, writes about the importance of giving children the best chance to catch up on their emotional awareness and build their emotional vocabulary.

Evans-KitKitten-C2WThere are many reasons why a parent or carer might not be able to be emotionally connected and available to a child. It might be that they did not have that kind of childhood so they aren’t aware of the benefits of talking with a child about their own and others’ feelings. Or, it could be that they are preoccupied with their own unmet emotional needs, living with domestic abuse, addiction, an eating disorder, high levels of stress and anxiety or other physical or mental illness, any of which could create a distance between them and the child they are raising.

What it doesn’t mean is that they don’t love their child as that’s a different matter altogether, it’s often more that they are not able to tune into and regulate their child’s emotional needs and state. This can have a lasting impact on all areas of a child’s development as they may struggle to express and cope with their daily emotions and this can then get in the way of their learning, being able to make friends, have fun and enjoy a carefree childhood.

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The story of Kit Kitten shows how Kit becomes withdrawn, watchful and is often overwhelmed by not being able to put feelings into words and from not having a close adult to help unpack all of them in a safe and manageable way. This is something I have repeatedly seen in the parents, children and young people I have been working with for over two decades now. It causes such emotional distress and anxiety, and often leads to mental and physical illness from the stress of feeling emotionally invisible, stuck, overwhelmed and isolated.

Kit Kitten and the Topsy-Turvy Feelings aims to address this missing emotional connection early on to offer children the best chance to catch up on their emotional awareness and build their emotional vocabulary by encouraging adults to begin this vital work with them in a gentle way. Emotional intelligence is the key to good mental health, to being free to access learning and to building healthy long-term relationships for life.

 

‘If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.’

– Daniel Goleman

 

You can find out more about Jane’s work, upcoming events and read more of her blog posts on her website: http://www.parentingposttrauma.co.uk/ You can also follow her on twitter: @janeparenting2

Thoughts behind ‘The Music of Being’

Levinge_Music-of-Being_978-1-84905-576-5_colourjpg-printIn The Music of Being, Alison Levinge explains the approaches of key child development theorists and explores how they apply to and inform the practice of music therapy. In this article, she discusses the inspiration behind writing this unique book and how she feels Winnicott’s theories resonate with the central aspects of music therapy.

We only have to observe a mother with her baby to realize that we are deeply musical beings. Training as a musician, combined with an understanding of human development, has led me to consider the significance of this medium and in particular, its value as a therapeutic tool.

No matter what our musical preferences may be, whatever our age, where we live or more significantly, in what ways we may find life difficult, music can enable us to connect more deeply to who we really are. And this can happen even when we are yet to be born!

Our early experiences are impressed upon not only our physical being but also upon our cognitive and psychological states of mind. But what is it like to be a baby? How do we let people know what we are feeling? How do we ask for what we need when we do not have words? Above all, what is it that we require in order to help us along the journey of life in a healthy way? Through helping children and adults who have difficulties, I discovered the value of music and its remarkable ability to engage a child or adult in a relationship. I discovered music, in fact, is a universal language.

In the world of words, there are many who have studied early development. Donald Winnicott, a pediatrician and psychoanalyst, is one who dedicated his life to the study of babies with their mothers and it can be said, was an early prime mover in the field. My book evolved through interweaving some of Winnicott’s ideas with my experiences as a therapist, combined with my understanding of a musical relationship. Music can allow us to express ourselves in so many ways that words may not.

 

Alison Levinge, PHD, LGSM(MT), Cert.Ed., is a music therapy practitioner and researcher. She specializes in music therapy with children experiencing early developmental difficulties and issues relating to bereavement. She teaches and lectures internationally and is based in Bristol, UK. Read more on her book The Music of Being or order your copy here.