Community Care Mission Statement continued

     
    Community Care Mission Statement continued

    8.       A better deal for care leavers

    On going action:

    • fight for a mandatory care leaving grant
    • campaign for national minimum standards for care leavers that assume a right to remain in care until the age of 18 (and beyond for children in higher education or with special needs)
    • expose local authorities that routinely encourage children to leave the care system before the age of 18
    • back take-up of a veto for children in care over plans for them to leave care early (as proposed in Care Matters)

    Examples of good practice:

    Ealing social services department and its young people have developed a partnership with the local university, Thames Valley, and Ealing Schools Aim Higher project to deliver improved outcomes for looked-after children and care leavers. The model is based on a mentoring scheme delivered by Ealing’s older care leavers currently at university.

    Nothing beats having been there and done it. So it proved in Stoke-on-Trent, where staff realised that young people should advise on what a leaving care service should look like and then continue to be an integral part of service development. And it plumped for experience by employing two care leavers to make sure it happened.

    The Care Leavers’ Interests Count (Clic) project’s aims are to provide opportunities for looked-after young people and care leavers to participate and become more involved in service design in a way that could contribute to their educational attainment and achievement.


    9.       Fair treatment for young offenders

    On going action:

    • monitor where all children given a custodial sentence are sent and whether the setting and staffing levels are appropriate for their age and state of mind
    • campaign against government attempts in the Offender Management Bill to make it easier to place 18- to 20-year-olds in adult secure settings
    • campaign for better mental health and education services for children and young people in custody

    Examples of good practice:

    The Oldham Youth Inclusion Project’s (YIP) motor vehicle project produces good ideas that capture the imaginations of hard-to-reach young people. Young people worked on a double decker bus to donate to the Cuban youth football association that had lost theirs in a hurricane.

    The motor project run jointly by the south London boroughs of Richmond and Kingston-upon-Thames makes use of a motorcycle test track in Tolworth, Kingston, to engage 13- to 19-year-old offenders or those at risk of offending. Young people, who also get taught mechanics, usually take part in a six- or eight-week programme on the project.

     

    10.   Antisocial behaviour orders used sparingly and appropriately

    On going action:

    • campaign for better training for magistrates to reduce the use of post-conviction antisocial behaviour orders
    • pus for an Individual Support Order to be issued with every Asbo given to a child or young person
    • argue against any child under the age of 12 being given an Asbo
    • monitor the use of Asbos in relation to children and vulnerable adults, and the appropriateness of the conditions attached

    Examples of good practice:

    The introduction of antisocial behaviour legislation has meant that many vulnerable groups including children, people with mental health problems and people with learning difficulties has been unfairly targeted and in some cases criminalised.

    While the government’s TOGETHER and RESPECT agenda claims to clamp down on any form of antisocial behaviour regardless, many children’s charities have argued that antisocial behaviour orders and other such measures should be used sparingly and not on young children under 12 and if absolutely necessary, they should always be accompanied by an Individual Support Order to support the person subjected to the asbo.

    In Leicestershire a tiered approach is taken where they always ask courts to consider an individual support order with standalone asbos.

    On the other hand, north of the border in Scotland, they appear to be taking a far less punitive approach as we explored in our vodcast and the NCH Dundee project which works with antisocial families in a preventive way has been hailed a huge success

     11.   Domestic violence treated as a core social work issue, in recognition of its prevalence and its role as a key indicator of child abuse

    On going action:

    • campaign for all domestic violence work to be linked into adult protection and child protection work and promote examples of good practice
    • promote domestic violence awareness training in schools
    • raise the profile of children who witness domestic violence as a vulnerable group

    Examples of good practice:

    There really is no place like home. But, sadly, it is in the home that one in four women will experience violence in their lifetime from a partner or ex-partner. Domestic abuse accounts for a quarter of all violent crime and has the highest rate of repeat victimisation of any crime.

    In 1997 the Cheshire Domestic Abuse Partnership (CDAP) was created. It was believed that rather than being just another “problem” for some families, domestic abuse was potentially a cause of parental mental health problems and substance abuse, and children needing services. Today, nearly 41% of children in need in Cheshire have reported domestic violence.

    CDAP brings together social services, police, health, education, probation, Women’s Aid, Cheshire domestic violence outreach service, crime and disorder partnerships, Relate, the Council for Racial Equality, Victim Support, Connexions, the NSPCC, Refuge Forum and Chester diocese.

    Every year in the UK, three million children and young people witness domestic violence. It is believed that 90 per cent of all domestic abuse, which can be emotional, physical, sexual or psychological, takes place with a child either in the same room or close enough by to be aware of what is happening.

    One of CDAP’s most successful and innovative strands has been its work with the education department. Cheshire recognises that children with experience of domestic abuse are classed as a group of vulnerable children in their own right (along with young offenders, children in care, travellers and so on).


    12.   The retention of the generic approach to social work

    On going action:

    • fight against the replacement of emergency duty teams, highlighting how they could develop into full-blown out-of-hours services with specialist functions, with joint arrangements between adults’ and children’s services
    • flag up the danger areas where service users could fall through the gap between adults’ and children’s services, and promote ways of preventing this
    • promote training in adults’ issues and adult protection for people working or preparing to work with children and families, and training in children’s issues and child protection for people working or preparing to work with adults
    • ensure a set amount of generic training is included in each of the three years of the social work degree course
    • Fight for the distinctive identity and values of social work at a time of enormous change in care delivery, helping social workers to reduce paperwork and spend more time supporting and empowering service users

    Examples of good practice:

    Nothing seems to symbolise the social work past more than emergency duty or out-of-hours work. Regularly dismissed as relics and dinosaurs, the risk assessing, problem-solving and generic worker with an average of 15 years’ post-qualifying experience still roams the social care world providing a service every evening, night, weekend and bank holiday, totalling about 130 hours a week.

    Set up in the 1970s because social workers stopped doing standby, emergency duty teams (EDTs) have shown innovation and resourcefulness and have adapted to change. However, despite links with other agencies, such as police, housing and health, the service can be isolated with workers often working alone. Peer support needs to be sought from outside. And this is where the Emergency Social Services Association (Essa) steps in.

    Emergency duty teams (EDT) provide a social care response to callers whose needs cannot wait until the next working day. Last year, because the bank holidays followed on from a weekend, EDT workers covered areas for at least 114 continuous hours over Christmas. Three workers explain how they coped.


    13.   Recognition of the importance of the well-being and preventive agendas in social care

    On going action:

    • promote the many uses of the arts in different aspects of social care as a vehicle for user involvement and participation, and a tool for building confidence and self-esteem
    • campaign against use of the arts being readily scrapped when budgets are tight

    Examples of good practice:

    Bournemouth Council wanted to make a dramatic impact on tackling issues of young people’s sexuality and so looked to the stage. Shrouded in Silence was developed following consultation with Over the Rainbow, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender support organisation. The 30-minute story, aimed at social workers, youth workers, foster carers, teachers and Connexions staff, centres on “Steve”, 16, who lives in foster care and was being bullied at school because of his sexuality. The other characters included a foster carer, social worker and teacher, all of whom grappled unsuccessfully with Steve’s unhappiness and isolation.

    Actors often talk about the challenge of “becoming” someone else. For young people in care so much in society prevents them even being themselves. In Rotherham, South Yorkshire, looked-after children take centre stage both politically, where the council champions its role as corporate parents, and also artistically, with their annual production in partnership with a professional drama tutor and students from the Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.

    Having taken the stage comedy musical genre to the extreme with Dumped – The Musical, theatre company Moment by Moment has set down a new path with the filming of Coping Strategies, a 30-minute surreal comedy about three flatmates with learning difficulties, their lives, their loves and their struggles to cope with the world. Based at The Gate – Yarrow Housing’s activity centre in Shepherds Bush, west London, Moment by Moment has mixed service users and staff to enhance the way they understand one another.

    Joy, beauty, creativity and fun are perhaps not the first words that come to mind when you think of organisations that provide housing and support to homeless and vulnerable people. But Look Ahead Housing and Care might make you think again: it’s a housing charity, which supports more than 3,000 people in London and the South East, that proudly wears its art on its sleeve. It even employs an arts manager.

    Look Ahead has worked with more than 70 artists on 35 projects, involved more than 1,000 service users and staff, and teamed up with the likes of the Tate Modern, the Serpentine Gallery, the Museum of London, Soho Theatre, Theatre Museum, National Portrait Gallery and English National Opera.


    14.   Suitable opportunities and support for career progression in social work

    On going action:

    • campaign for the introduction of a ‘super-social worker’ or ‘consultant social worker’ role so that experienced social workers are not forced to move away from the frontline and into management posts in order to progress their career
    • campaign for management and leadership training for all social workers in, or moving into, a management role, covering people management and resource management skills

    Examples of good practice:

    The issue of a lack of good leadership in social care came to light as a result of the inquiry into Victoria Climbie’s death. The inquiry found social workers and frontline staff swamped with too many cases and insufficient support.

    As a result workforce was a prominent theme within Every Child matters and the Children’s Workforce Development Council was established to support good practice.

    We want to call for a super social worker role to ensure that experienced social workers are not forced into management in order to progress and for all managers to receive management and leadership training to ensure the workforce is supported.


    15.   Fair treatment of the third sector

    On going action:

    • expose local authorities who work against full-cost recovery for voluntary organisations by forcing prices down
    • promote good practice and use of the Compact
    • campaign for equal training opportunities for voluntary sector staff
    • raise awareness among commissioners of services of the unique potential of smaller and more local voluntary sector organisations

    Examples of good practice:

    It is becoming ever more difficult for smaller charities to compete with the full-time fundraising machine of the big players. So how can they do it?


    16.   Improved joint working between local authorities and health bodies

    On going action:

    • promote joint training
    • promote joint-commissioning and pooled budgets
    • promote joint working on continuing care arrangements
    • expose cost-shunting between PCTs and social services departments

    Examples of good practice:

    Knowsley’s community older persons team (COPT) was set up in 2000 with the specific aim of providing a more efficient service through a single point of access for older people and in so doing reducing duplication and a lot of the barriers that people face when they try to access services.


    17.   Choice, support and independence for children with disabilities

    On going action:

    • promote joined-up assessments
    • expose councils closing special schools despite local demand
    • expose out-of-areas placements for special schools
    • promote inclusion in mainstream schools, including extended services
    • promote good practice in early years’ settings for children with disabilities

    Examples of good practice:

    All local authorities are required to set up registers of disabled children in their area, which are used to plan services and to send relevant information to young people and their parents and carers. In Durham, the register – or Children’s Network as it is known – was first set up in 1995. It has 650 families registered, all of whom are sent a quarterly full colour magazine, For You and Me, detailing events, competitions, information and human interest stories.

     

     

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