Children Order Advisory Committee’s
Multi-Disciplinary Newsletter

Issue 12    Winter 2011

Introduction

I am pleased to introduce the twelfth and final edition of the Children Order Advisory Committee’s Multi-Disciplinary Newsletter in its current format. The aim of the newsletter since its launch has been to share information relating to children and families that will assist professionals across a range of disciplines to discharge their responsibilities under The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. Given the feedback that the Editorial Committee has received over the past few years, I am pleased to say that this aim has been achieved. However, the Children Order Advisory Committee is delighted that an opportunity has presented itself to build upon this success and to take the newsletter to the next stage in its development.

In April 2011 the newsletter will combine with the Child & Family Law Update, a well established journal produced by SLS Publications NI. This new publication will continue to ensure that professionals working with children and families in Northern Ireland are kept informed of legal judgements, important developments in practice and policy, and have the opportunity to debate key issues.

The current newsletter is divided into three sections. The first section contains links to summaries of the main content, whilst the second section provides information about the new journal. The third section contains the summaries of key literature. The material in this section is arranged under two subject headings: Child Welfare and Youth Justice.

Where possible the summaries contain hyperlinks to the original material. In other instances professionals will need to make arrangements within their own organisation to access full copies of the material listed. For example, professionals working within Health & Social Care can access journal articles and books through the Health on the Net Northern Ireland (http://www.honni.qub.ac.uk/) and the Medical Library at Queen’s University.

Previous editions of the newsletter are also available to download or view at: http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/Publications/Family_Law_and_Childcare_Literature/. Some older editions have been archived and can be obtained by contacting communicationsgroup@courtsni.gov.uk

Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has been involved in contributing to the work of the newsletter since its relaunch in 2006. This has included staff within the NI Courts and Tribunals Service who have assisted with the production and distribution of the newsletter, and the editorial committee, who have provided the content for the newsletter from their own areas of professional expertise. I must in particular thank John Devaney who has been the editor and driving force behind the Newsletter and has been the major contributor to its success.

His Honour Judge Derek Rodgers
Chair of the Multi-Disciplinary Literature Sub-Committee

The Editorial Committee

 

Chairman

His Honour Judge Derek Rodgers

Editor

Dr John Devaney
School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work,
Queen’s University Belfast

 

Ms Siobhan Keegan
QC

 

Dr Catherine Macpherson
Consultant Paediatrician, South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust

 

Ms Robyn McCready
Information Officer, Children in Northern Ireland

Dr Dominic McSherry
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Child Care Research, Queen’s University Belfast

Mr Michael Heaney
Assistant Director, Youth Justice Agency


SECTION ONE
Contents

 

Children Order Advisory Committee’s Multi-Disciplinary Newsletter
Introduction
The Editorial Committee
SECTION ONE Contents
SECTION TWO Contents
New Developments
SECTION THREE
SECTION THREE
Child Welfare
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
Adcock, M. (2010).  Assessment: Changes in thinking and practice.  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 44-49.
Broadhurst, K. and Holt, K. (2010)  Partnership and the limits of procedure: Prospects for relationships between parents and professionals under the new Public Law Outline.  Child & Family Social Work 15(1) 97-106.
Coman, W. and Devaney, J. (2011) Reflecting on Outcomes for Looked After Children: An Ecological Perspective. Child Care in Practice 17(1) 37-53.
Davidson, C., Dumigan, L., Ferguson, C. and Nugent, P. (2011) Effective Therapeutic Approaches within Specialist Residential Childcare Settings. Child Care in Practice 17(1) 17-35.
Davidson, J. (2010) Residential care for children and young people: priority areas for change. Child Abuse Review 19(6) 405-422.
Evans, C.A. (2011) The Public Law Outline and Family Group Conferences in Childcare Practice. Child Care in Practice 17(1) 3-15.
Freel, M. (2010) Baby K's unlawful removal: practice issues in the emergency protection of children. Child Abuse Review 19(3) 158-168.
Houston, S. (2010)  Building resilience in a children's home: Results from an action research project.  Child & Family Social Work 15(3) 357-368.
Humphreys, C. and Kiraly, M. (2011)  High-frequency family contact: a road to nowhere for infants.  Child & Family Social Work 15(4) 1-11.
Jones, C. and Hackett, S. (2011) The Role of ‘Family Practices’ and ‘Displays of Family’ in the Creation of Adoptive Kinship. British Journal of Social Work 41(1) 40-56.
Little, M. (2010)  Looked after children: Can existing services ever succeed?  Adoption & Fostering 34(2) 3-7.
Logan, J. (2010)  Preparation and planning for face-to-face contact after adoption: the experience of adoptive parents in a UK study.  Child & Family Social Work 15(3) 315-324.
Masson, J.M. (2010) (Mis)understandings of Significant Harm. Child Abuse Review 19(4) 291-298.
McCrystal, P. and McAloney, K. (2010) Assessing the Mental Health Needs of Young People Living in State Care Using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Child Care in Practice 16(3) 215-226.
McDaniel, B., Braiden, H.J., OnyeKwelu, J., Murphy, M., Refgan, H. (2011) Investigating the Effectiveness of the Incredible Years Basic Parenting Programme for Foster Carers in Northern Ireland.   Child Care in Practice 17(1) 55-67.
Pradeep, R., Alvina, A., and Panos, V. (2010) Looked after and adopted children: How should specialist CAMHS be involved?  Adoption & Fostering 34(2) 58-72.
Rushton, A. (2010)  Thinking on developmental psychology in fostering and adoption.  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 38-43.
Schofield, G., Moldestad, B., Hojer, I., Ward, E., Skilbred, D., Young, J. and Havik, T. (2011) Managing Loss and a Threatened Identity: Experiences of Parents of Children Growing Up in Foster Care, the Perspectives of their Social Workers and Implications for Practice. British Journal of Social Work 41(1)  74-92.
Selwyn, J. (2010)  The challenges in planning for permanency.  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 32-37.
Sinclair, I. (2010)  Looked after children: Can existing services ever succeed?  A different view.   Adoption & Fostering, 34(2) 8-13.
Triseliotis, J. (2010).  Contact between looked after children and their parents: A level playing field?  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 59-66.
Winter, K. (2010)  The perspectives of young children in care about their circumstances and implications for social work practice.  Child & Family Social Work 15(2) 186-195.
Books
Daniel, B., Wassell, S. and Gilligan, R. (2010) Child Development for Child Care and Protection Workers (Second Edition). Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Long, L.A., Roche, J. and Stringer, D. (2010) The Law and Social Work – Contemporary Issues for Practice. Palgrave.
Schofield, G. and Ward, E. (2010) Understanding and Working with Parents of Children in Long Term Foster Care. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Shemmings, D. and Shemmings, Y. (2011) Understanding Disorganised Attachment. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Winter, K. (2010) Building Relationships and Communicating with Young Children: A Practical Guide for Social Workers. Routledge.
Youth Justice (compiled by Michael Heaney)
Peer Review Journal Articles
Deuchar, R. (2010)  ‘It’s Just Pure Harassment…  As If It’s a Crime to Walk in the Street’: Anti-social Behaviour, Youth Justice and Citizenship – The Reality for Young Men in the East End of Glasgow.  Youth Justice 10(3) 258-274.
Freedman, S. and Seymour, M. (2010)  ‘Just Waiting’: The Nature and Effect of Uncertainty on Young People in Remand Custody in Ireland.  Youth Justice 10(2) 126-142.
Prior, D. and Mason, P. (2010)  A Different Kind of Evidence?  Looking for ‘What Works’ in Engaging Young Offenders.  Youth Justice 10(3) 211-226.
Books
Boyd-Caine, T. (2010).  Protecting the Public?  Detention and release of mentally disordered offenders.  Willan Publishing: Cullompton
Chakraborti, N. (2010).  Hate Crime: Concepts, policy, future directions.  Willan Publishing: Cullompton
Smith, D.J. (Ed) (2010).  A New Response to Youth Crime.  Willan Publishing: Cullompton.
Forthcoming Events
Conferences
Developments in Foster Care: When are family and kin the best option for children?
Facing Up To Facebook


SECTION TWO
Contents

New Developments

 

The Children Order Advisory Committee has decided to combine the COAC Multidisciplinary Newsletter with the Child & Family Law Update, a well established journal produced by SLS Publications NI. This new publication will continue to ensure that professionals working with children and families in Northern Ireland are kept informed of legal judgements, important developments in practice and policy, and have the opportunity to debate key issues.

A new editorial board will be responsible for overseeing the journal and in canvassing for articles. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a potential contribution then please contact the editor, Ms Deborah McBride, at the address below.

The Child & Family Law Update will be available in a paper format for a modest subscription of £60 per annum, and a subscription can be arranged by contacting SLS at:

SLS Legal Publications
Lansdowne House
50 Malone Road
Belfast
Northern Ireland
BT9 5BS

Tel: 028 9066 7711
Child & Family Law Update
Watch out for the Child & Family Law Update a new venture for SLS and the Children Order Advisory Committee (COAC) which will be launched in the spring.  The Update will combine the current Child & Family Law Update and the COAC Multi-Disciplinary Newsletter.  It will contain details of cases, legislation and articles from lawyers, social workers and medical professionals working with children and families.

Details of the new Update will be published on the SLS website www.sls.qub.ac.uk or contact Deborah McBride, SLS Legal Publications, Lansdowne House, 50 Malone Road Belfast BT9 5BS

SECTION THREE

Child Welfare

(Compiled by Dominic McSherry and John Devaney)

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Adcock, M. (2010).  Assessment: Changes in thinking and practice.  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 44-49.

Adcock discusses the considerable changes that have taken place in the nature, content and process of assessments since the 1960s and, in particular, over the past three decades.

Broadhurst, K. and Holt, K. (2010)  Partnership and the limits of procedure: Prospects for relationships between parents and professionals under the new Public Law Outline.  Child & Family Social Work 15(1) 97-106.

April 2008 saw the introduction of a new Public Law Outline (PLO) that aims to improve judicial case management of Public Law Children Act cases.  The PLO is a response to concerns about the rising number of care proceedings, associated costs, and the difficulties of achieving case resolution given this volume.  Based on an ethos that care proceedings should be avoided wherever possible, the new approach to case management, which places significant emphasis on pre-proceedings work and the effective engagement of parents, can be seen to reinforce the ‘no order principle’ enshrined in the Children Act (CA) 1989.  Focusing specifically on relationships between parents and professionals, this paper provides a critical discussion of the potential of the PLO to further promote consensual practices with parents.  It traces the introduction of the concept of partnership within the CA 1989, provides a review of the evidence to-date of effective partnership working, before considering the prospects for the PLO with respect to parental engagement.  A number of key contextual obstacles are highlighted that will inevitably undermine the aspirations of the new outline, and a more general observation is drawn about the limits of procedure in effecting change in complex social issues.

Coman, W. and Devaney, J. (2011) Reflecting on Outcomes for Looked After Children: An Ecological Perspective. Child Care in Practice 17(1) 37-53.

Despite huge investment over the past 10 years, improving outcomes for looked-after children remains elusive. A challenge for practitioners, researchers and policy-makers alike has been the absence of a shared conceptual framework for considering and responding to the needs of looked-after children. A second challenge relates to the measurement of outcomes. In this article the authors reflect on the multiple factors that contribute to outcomes for looked-after children and, drawing upon the work of Cronen and Pearce, propose an organising framework. In as much as it facilitates reflection on the complex interplay between looked-after children and their environments, the ecological perspective outlined in this article holds some promise as an aid to targeting interventions more effectively and efficiently.

Davidson, C., Dumigan, L., Ferguson, C. and Nugent, P. (2011) Effective Therapeutic Approaches within Specialist Residential Childcare Settings. Child Care in Practice 17(1) 17-35.

The introduction of intensive support units in Glenmona Resource Centre in Northern Ireland has provoked a radical review of social work practices in a group care environment. In this article, traditional support within residential care has been reviewed, strengths identified and outcomes from greater understanding and relationship building defined, in a multi-disciplinary and inter-agency model of intervention. This paper presents the outcomes from this review of practice, to encourage discussion about effective intervention in a residential environment with young people assessed to be at high risk. The review defines the theory and rationale behind intensive support. The theory has been applied in practice and reflected upon through the range of interventions that have been utilised since the Intensive Support Model was introduced at Glenmona Resource Centre in April 2005. This includes a review of relationship work, understanding and responding to the traumatic experiences of the young people, application of therapeutic crisis intervention, restorative practices and recognition of the importance of supporting staffing. The benefits of the intensive support unit model in terms of positive experiences and outcomes for young people and staff are illustrated throughout by case examples.

Davidson, J. (2010) Residential care for children and young people: priority areas for change. Child Abuse Review 19(6) 405-422.

Abuse in residential childcare has been of concern to the public and the profession for a number of years. This article highlights a Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care's (SIRCC) response to the Scottish Government which was requested following allegations of abuse in Glasgow City Council's Kerelaw residential school and secure unit. It offers priority actions to address the challenges of residential childcare and ensure the safety of children and young people as far as is practicably possible. It contextualises the residential childcare task, and explores four interrelated areas in which change is strongly recommended: (1) organisations' cultures; (2) workforce challenges including the status of the sector, staff selection standards, the role of residential childcare workers in relation to their level of autonomy and their education levels; (3) abuse allegations, in particular the sector's growing fearfulness of false allegations, support for practitioners' anonymity when accused of abuse and a reconsideration of criminal record certificate information; and (4) service delivery related to behaviour management and advocacy support. The intersection between the SIRCC and the subsequent Kerelaw Inquiry reports is outlined. Finally, it concludes with a scan of the immediate strategic policy horizon which indicates an unprecedented momentum for change. While based in the Scottish context, it reflects lessons which are applicable internationally.

Evans, C.A. (2011) The Public Law Outline and Family Group Conferences in Childcare Practice. Child Care in Practice 17(1) 3-15.

In the United Kingdom, the Children Act (1989) states that children are best brought up with their families. However, if a child is suffering from or likely to suffer from significant harm, then the local authorities may initiate care proceedings under section 31 of the Children Act (1989). The Public Law Outline is a judicial case management tool that aims to keep children with families when possible and ensure timely care proceedings when it is not. Emphasis is given to involving children and their immediate and wider family members in trying to address the concerns or identifying alternative kinship care. The pre-proceedings guide of the Public Law Outline states that Family Group Conferences or family meetings should be convened as relevant. Family Group Conferences are a decision-making forum where children and their families take responsibility for making plans to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children. The purpose of this paper is to explore the advantages and limitations of using Family Group Conferences within the context of the Public Law Outline. A proposal is made that there should be greater flexibility in using Family Group Conferences within the timescales of the Public Law Outline. Also, more research is needed to fully explore how effective Family Group Conferences are in supporting families to make plans that allow children to be safely cared for by their own families.

Freel, M. (2010) Baby K's unlawful removal: practice issues in the emergency protection of children. Child Abuse Review 19(3) 158-168.

This paper addresses the legal and practice issues raised by a particular case in the UK. In January 2008, less than three hours after his birth, Baby K was removed from his mother's care by hospital staff and placed in a separate ward. At a High Court hearing later that morning, it was ruled that the removal of Baby K was unlawful. Important practice issues are raised by this ruling. After setting out the circumstances under which Baby K was removed from his mother, this paper considers a number of issues raised by the case: (i) what constitutes lawful removal under domestic law; (ii) European jurisprudence and domestic law in relation to emergency removal at birth; (iii) parental consent to removal; (iv) professionals' liability for breaches of human rights; and (v) the role of child protection plans in safeguarding children.

 

Houston, S. (2010)  Building resilience in a children's home: Results from an action research project.  Child & Family Social Work 15(3) 357-368.

This paper reports on the findings of an action research project aimed at building resilience in young people in a residential children's home in Northern Ireland.  Daniel and Wassell's six domains for promoting resilience in young people were adopted as a conceptual framework to guide the residential social workers as they engaged in successive cycles of reflection and action.  Two core areas were explored: (a) the approaches deemed to be helpful in building resilience; and (b) the background factors that enabled and constrained the social workers' interventions.  The findings showed that the participants acted creatively to use resources and tools both within the system of State-mandated parenting and the informal, meaning-oriented world of the young people.

Humphreys, C. and Kiraly, M. (2011)  High-frequency family contact: a road to nowhere for infants.  Child & Family Social Work 15(4) 1-11.

Understanding the practices which support the best interests of infants when placed in out-of-home care in the first year of life is a significant challenge.  This study, based in Victoria, Australia, explored the practice by the Children's Court of ordering high-frequency contact (4–7 days a week) with the infant's mother and father when they are placed in care in the first year of life.  The literature review revealed little attention to the issue of frequency of family contact for infants.  An audit of case files of all infants in care in mid-2007 showed that at 1 year follow-up, there was no difference in the reunification rate for children with a period of high-frequency contact and those with less contact with their mothers and fathers.  Focus groups revealed deep divisions of opinion about high-frequency family contact which are played out in the adversarial Children's Court system in Victoria.  The study highlights the complexity of understanding and supporting the attachment relationships at this critical period in the infant's life.

Jones, C. and Hackett, S. (2011) The Role of ‘Family Practices’ and ‘Displays of Family’ in the Creation of Adoptive Kinship. British Journal of Social Work 41(1) 40-56.

Adoption has changed significantly over the last four decades, placing new demands on those affected by adoption, including adopters, adoptees and birth relatives (i.e. the ‘adoption triangle’), as well as the professionals involved. Over the same period, sociological theories relating to the family have developed considerably, yet their application to adoptive family relationships has been limited. This paper reports the findings of an in-depth narrative study of twenty-two parents who adopted children over a twenty-four-year period, linking their experiences to the sociological concepts of ‘family practices’ and ‘displaying family’. A common challenge shared by adoptive parents following domestic stranger adoption in an era of increasing openness was the requirement to create a new version of kinship that includes both adoptive relatives and birth relatives within the conceptual model of the adoptive family as well as the day-to-day ‘doing’ of family. The relevance of findings are explored in relation to adoptive family life, adoption practice and, specifically, post-adoption support services.

Little, M. (2010)  Looked after children: Can existing services ever succeed?  Adoption & Fostering 34(2) 3-7.

Should the state continue to provide substitute care? With a new UK government likely to implement a number of changes in social care provision, in this commentary Little challenges the effectiveness of current services provided by the state for looked after children.

Logan, J. (2010)  Preparation and planning for face-to-face contact after adoption: the experience of adoptive parents in a UK study.  Child & Family Social Work 15(3) 315-324.

Whilst there is a general international trend towards more open adoption, there is considerable variation between agencies in the extent to which they are prepared to support different forms of contact arrangements.  Agencies have a pivotal role to play in decisions about contact and early planning that is integrated into the assessment and preparation of prospective adopters is fundamental to its success.  This paper reports on adoptive parents' experiences of the process of preparation and planning for direct, face-to-face contact.  During preparation, agencies were clearly getting the message across to prospective adopters about the importance of contact for the child's well being.  However, insufficient attention was directed at helping adopters to anticipate their feelings towards birth relatives and their responses to the kinds of management issues that might arise after adoption.  There was considerable variation in the extent to which adopters were involved in the process of planning detailed contact arrangements, and this seemed to bear relevance on the success or otherwise of subsequent contact arrangements.

Masson, J.M. (2010) (Mis)understandings of Significant Harm. Child Abuse Review 19(4) 291-298.

This paper reports on a controversial decision, MA v Swansea (2009) EWCA Civ 853, on whether parental conduct amounts to significant harm, and the court’s interpretation of the threshold.

McCrystal, P. and McAloney, K. (2010) Assessing the Mental Health Needs of Young People Living in State Care Using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Child Care in Practice 16(3) 215-226.

Young people living in the state care system are often reported to experience poorer levels of mental health and wellbeing. Government policy encourages a holistic approach to the assessment of all aspects of health and wellbeing of these young people. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), a mental health screener for young people aged four to 16 years, was administered to a number of young people living in state care and a sample not living in state care as part of the Youth Development Study being undertaken at Queens University Belfast. The findings from the study showed that a higher proportion of young people living in state care reported scores on the SDQ that indicated a higher propensity to problem behaviour at both stages of the survey when aged 11/12 years and 14/15 years. The findings show that the SDQ is a tool that may assist professionals to make an informed decision on the health and wellbeing of young people entering the care system and possibly can lead to an empirically assisted decision on intervention planning.

McDaniel, B., Braiden, H.J., OnyeKwelu, J., Murphy, M., Refgan, H. (2011) Investigating the Effectiveness of the Incredible Years Basic Parenting Programme for Foster Carers in Northern Ireland.   Child Care in Practice 17(1) 55-67.

Children who are looked after experience significantly higher levels of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties than children who live with their family of origin. Such difficulties tend to be pervasive and can have detrimental consequences for placement stability, and ultimately for the child's ability to reach their potential. Government documents such as Care matters highlight the importance of providing ongoing training and support to foster carers to equip them with the necessary skills to manage the complex needs presented by children who are looked after. The nature of this training and support is often debated. With this in mind, Barnardo's Professional Fostering Service piloted the Incredible Years Basic Parenting Programme with 13 foster carers. The 12-week programme was evaluated using the Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory pre and post intervention. Results provide a promising insight into the potential of the Incredible Years Basic Parenting Programme as a method of training and supporting foster carers.

Pradeep, R., Alvina, A., and Panos, V. (2010) Looked after and adopted children: How should specialist CAMHS be involved?  Adoption & Fostering 34(2) 58-72.

Looked after children are at high risk of developing mental health problems and these are often complex and related to other needs and agency involvement.  Consequently, there is increasing policy emphasis on the importance of joint service planning and implementation. In practice, however, the distinction between mental health needs, problems and disorders is not clearly defined.  Therefore, there is considerable service variation, lack of models and consensus on which children and young people would benefit from specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) input.  The authors report on a study that aimed to compare the characteristics of looked after and adopted children referred to a designated CAMHS team, and to identify whether these fell within the perceived remit of specialist CAMHS.  The referrals, over one year, were rated by an independent researcher using a checklist that contained details of the referrer, the child's placement and reason for referral, outcome and reasons for decisions.  Children with indication of likely disorders were accepted, while there was less consistency on decisions related to attachment and behavioural problems, and the role of different agencies.  Mental health and social care services for vulnerable children need jointly to develop clear care pathways, with definition of agency roles.  The presence of behavioural and attachment problems per se should not justify referral to specialist CAMHS, which would depend on other concurrent mental health difficulties and risk factors involved.  Implications for defining the role and components of mental health services for vulnerable children and young people are discussed.

Rushton, A. (2010)  Thinking on developmental psychology in fostering and adoption.  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 38-43.

The author discusses thinking over the last 30 years in developmental psychology in terms of how it affects our understanding of the impact of fostering and adoption on children.

Schofield, G., Moldestad, B., Hojer, I., Ward, E., Skilbred, D., Young, J. and Havik, T. (2011) Managing Loss and a Threatened Identity: Experiences of Parents of Children Growing Up in Foster Care, the Perspectives of their Social Workers and Implications for Practice. British Journal of Social Work 41(1)  74-92.

Parents of children growing up in foster-care have been a largely neglected group in policy, practice and research, in spite of the fact that these parents are often vulnerable adults who experience a profound loss and a threat to their identity. Parents' involvement through contact is also likely to have an impact on children's stability and security in the foster family. This article draws on data from parallel qualitative studies at the University of East Anglia, England, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Interviews and focus groups with parents showed a great deal of similarity in the situation experienced by parents in the three countries. But all three studies found great diversity in how parents managed their loss and their threatened identity over time, including varied strategies for managing cognitive dissonance. What parents shared was the need to be treated by social workers with respect and empathy; to receive information about the children; and to be involved, where possible, in the children's lives. Focus groups with social workers, who had to balance the needs of children and parents, found there was a need for guidance in this difficult work.

Selwyn, J. (2010)  The challenges in planning for permanency.  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 32-37.

In this paper, Selwyn highlights the importance of recognising children's positive relationships and ensuring that children are connected to adults who will offer a long-term commitment.  It also highlights the importance of recognising children's positive relationships and ensuring that children are connected to adults who will offer them a long-term commitment.

Sinclair, I. (2010)  Looked after children: Can existing services ever succeed?  A different view.   Adoption & Fostering, 34(2) 8-13.

In a reply to Little’s article (above), Sinclair examines the four main arguments put forward to challenge current social care provision: the care system is not ethical, it is out of date and arbitrary, and too little is known about it. Furthermore, an alternative is suggested.

Triseliotis, J. (2010).  Contact between looked after children and their parents: A level playing field?  Adoption & Fostering 34(3) 59-66.

Contact between looked after children and their parents has assumed in recent years a much higher profile than ever before, as have judgements about its merits. Important decisions regarding the continuation of contact and the granting of care, placement or adoption orders now rely heavily on evidence of its likely benefits to the child. Yet, as Triseliotis asserts in this article, there is a dearth of empirically-based theory and of agreed criteria and guidelines when making judgements about whether there should be any contact at all, its frequency and the assessment of its quality.

Winter, K. (2010)  The perspectives of young children in care about their circumstances and implications for social work practice.  Child & Family Social Work 15(2) 186-195.

Recent reviews of research regarding children in care have concluded that there remains little research which specifically focuses on young children.  This paper presents the findings of research carried out with a sample of young children in care (aged 4–7 years) regarding their perspectives of their circumstances.  The findings reveal that they have deeply held views regarding living with risk; removal from their families; unresolved feelings of guilt and loss; and not being listened to.  This paper considers the implications of these findings for social work practice.  It concludes by stressing the capacity of young children in care to express their perspectives, and the importance of practitioners seeking these views and incorporating them into assessment and decision-making processes.

Books

Daniel, B., Wassell, S. and Gilligan, R. (2010) Child Development for Child Care and Protection Workers (Second Edition). Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book/9781849050685

Child Development for Child Care and Protection Workers is a classic text for students and practitioners in the child care and protection field which summarises important current thinking on child development and applies it directly to practice.

The book covers key issues such as resilience and vulnerability and the impact of protective or adverse environments. Different stages of development (infancy, school age and adolescence) are discussed, and attachment theory is used to offer insights into the impact of abuse and neglect on development. A key feature is the inclusion of case studies and activities to allow the reader to improve their understanding and reflect on good practice. This second edition is fully updated to reflect the new policy context and multi-disciplinary practice, and contains updated practice examples to take into account contemporary issues affecting children and young people.

This book encourages practitioners to consider each child as an individual with unique circumstances, and links theory and practice in an imaginative and sympathetic way. It will be essential reading for all child care and protection workers.

Long, L.A., Roche, J. and Stringer, D. (2010) The Law and Social Work – Contemporary Issues for Practice. Palgrave.

 

http://www.palgrave.com/

The Law and Social Work is an up-to-date and contemporary reflection on law and the social work role. It analyses current debates around confidentiality, State intervention and the legal issues impacting on children, young people, families and vulnerable adults. It also offers an insightful discussion of central social work themes, integrating discussions about key issues including: ethics and values; discrimination; assessment and intervention; and, accountability.

Charting the changes in law and practice over the past ten years, this new edition provides thematic accounts of key areas of development. It also reflects the pace of change in a number of spheres, including youth justice, mental health and discrimination law. Written by leading academics and social work practitioners widely published in their fields of expertise, this is an authoritative text for social work students, practitioners and professionals across the health and social care spectrum.

Schofield, G. and Ward, E. (2010) Understanding and Working with Parents of Children in Long Term Foster Care. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book/9781849050265

For children growing up in foster care, the role of their birth parents is an important factor in the success of their long-term placements. Understanding the experiences of parents is therefore essential in order to develop effective social work practice with parents that can also ensure the best possible outcomes for children.

Drawing on detailed and often moving interviews with parents, the book takes a chronological approach, starting with their accounts of family life before their children were taken into care, in particular the impact of drugs, alcohol and domestic violence. It goes on to explore their experiences of court and then how they seek to come to terms with their loss, sustain an identity as a parent and manage a relationship with their children through contact. Parents' views on what they find valuable and helpful in relationships with foster carers and social workers are also discussed. The book then draws on the views of social workers on the opportunities and challenges of supporting parents, while also remaining child-focussed. The authors set out a model of good practice, based on the lessons learnt from the experiences of these parents and social workers.

This book will be essential reading for all child and family social workers, fostering social workers, independent reviewing officers, academics and foster carers.

Shemmings, D. and Shemmings, Y. (2011) Understanding Disorganised Attachment. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book/9781849050449

Disorganized attachment, the most extreme form of insecure attachment, can develop in a child when the person who is normally meant to protect them is a source of danger. This usually leads to 'fear without solution' and the effects can be lasting and damaging.

This book is a comprehensive and accessible text on disorganized attachment. It outlines what it is, how it can be identified and the key causes, including neurological, biochemical and genetic explanations. Factors that contribute to disorganized attachment are covered including unresolved loss and trauma, and the behaviour of caregivers. The authors also discuss evidence-based interventions to help families and carers as well as how to work with adults to prevent or minimize its occurrence. To root the theory in practice and to illustrate real-life examples of disorganized attachment case vignettes are included.

With an authoritative research base, this accessible text will be invaluable to practitioners and academics in the fields of social care, psychology, counselling and allied health professions as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Winter, K. (2010) Building Relationships and Communicating with Young Children: A Practical Guide for Social Workers. Routledge.

http://www.routledge.com/books/

This book provides a timely and invaluable resource and practical guide for social work practitioners working with young children. Packed with real life examples of in-depth interviews with young children, it demonstrates how younger children can be supported to share their views and experiences. Based on research by the author, the book gives practical examples of tools and techniques that will assist practitioners in ascertaining the wishes and feelings of young children.

Youth Justice
(compiled by Michael Heaney)

Peer Review Journal Articles

Deuchar, R. (2010)  ‘It’s Just Pure Harassment…  As If It’s a Crime to Walk in the Street’: Anti-social Behaviour, Youth Justice and Citizenship – The Reality for Young Men in the East End of Glasgow.  Youth Justice 10(3) 258-274.

The concern about anti-social youth is on the increase globally, as are the range of available sanctions.  This article explores the nature of current youth justice strategies in western societies and draws upon a qualitative analysis of the experiences of 20 young men from deprived communities in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.  It explores the way in which recent preoccupation with anti-social behaviour, gang culture and punitive interventions has impacted on these young males.  The article illustrates the negative impact of the young men’s marginalisation on their sense of citizenship and human rights, and makes recommendation for the future.

Freedman, S. and Seymour, M. (2010)  ‘Just Waiting’: The Nature and Effect of Uncertainty on Young People in Remand Custody in Ireland.  Youth Justice 10(2) 126-142.

This article examines the feelings of uncertainty by 62 young people, aged 16-21, detained on remand in Ireland.  It argues that this experience of uncertainty is an important phenomenon since it can lessen their ability both to cope while in custody and to progress after release.  While it is acknowledged that the nature of remand custody will always involve some uncertainty, it is argued that greater compliance with international standards for treating young people deprived of their liberty would reduce the damaging effects of their experience of uncertainty.

Prior, D. and Mason, P. (2010)  A Different Kind of Evidence?  Looking for ‘What Works’ in Engaging Young Offenders.  Youth Justice 10(3) 211-226.

The skills and knowledge required by practitioners to develop relationships with young offenders that will engage and sustain them in intervention programmes is a core theme of the ‘effective practice’ literature.  Yet this question of how to secure young people’s engagement is scarcely examined in research on interventions with young offenders, despite an apparent preoccupation with ‘what works’.  The article discusses this disjuncture between the research and practice literatures, arguing that prevailing orthodoxies regarding what constitutes valid research evidence prevent certain questions about what works and how from being studied.  It is suggested that both the practice literature and alternative research methodologies can provide rigorous evidence in response to these questions.

Books

Boyd-Caine, T. (2010).  Protecting the Public?  Detention and release of mentally disordered offenders.  Willan Publishing: Cullompton

http://www.routledge.com

The separation of powers and independent, judicial decision-making are generally accepted as hallmarks of the rule of law in democratic societies.  Yet the exercise of executive discretion remains an important aspect of criminal justice in many areas.

Protecting the Public? explores the tension between the rights of individuals detained under criminal and mental health law and the responsibility for public protection in the little-known world of executive discretion over mentally disordered offenders.  It is based on extensive and unique empirical research conducted at the UK Home Office, with legal and clinical practitioners, with civil society organisations and by reference to comparative jurisdictions.

Chakraborti, N. (2010).  Hate Crime: Concepts, policy, future directions.  Willan Publishing: Cullompton

http://www.routledge.com

Hate crime has become an increasingly familiar term in recent times as problems of bigotry and prejudice continue to pose complex challenges for societies across the world.  Although recognition is now afforded to hate crimes and their associated harms by academics, policy-makers and criminal justice agencies, the problem is still widespread and many key questions remain unanswered.  Are we doing enough to protect vulnerable members of society?  Are we doing enough to address the offending behaviour of hate crime perpetrators?  Are there better ways of understanding and responding to hate crime?

This book brings together contributions from leading experts in the field to address these and other contested issues in this fascinating and often controversial subject area.  Drawing upon innovative work being undertaken nationally and internationally, the book offers fresh ideas on hate crime scholarship and policy and in so doing enables readers to re-evaluate the concept of hate crime in the light of fresh research, theory and policy.

Smith, D.J. (Ed) (2010).  A New Response to Youth Crime.  Willan Publishing: Cullompton.

http://www.routledge.com

Public concern about youth crime and anti-social behaviour has mounted in England and Wales for many years, even though the actual level of crime has continuously fallen since 1994.  This rising anxiety is increased by a political arms race in which the parties compete to forge new weapons in a war against crime.  New legislation has poured out of successive administrations at an ever-increasing pace, with young people often the target.  Yet steeply rising expenditure on youth justice has yielded poor returns.  The system tends to prosecute the same large numbers of young offenders even when crime is falling.  It targets the same – mostly disadvantaged – young people again and again.  It fails on the whole to change their behaviour for the better, without being effective, either, in making them face up to the consequences of what they have done.  Meanwhile too little attention is given to preventing the development of anti-social behaviour in children and young people as they grow up.

The time has come for a fresh start in the way we respond to youth crime.  The Report of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Anti-social Behaviour sets out a blueprint for reform based on a clear set of principles.  This book, which accompanies that Report, establishes the framework of evidence and detailed analysis that supports the Commission’s proposals.  Leading authorities in the field, from a variety of disciplines, review youth crime and responses to it, focusing on England and Wales, but making comparisons also with models in other parts of the world, such as Canada.  The book includes detailed and authoritative reviews of the research evidence on youth transitions, time trends in youth crime, the evolution of the youth justice system, responses to anti-social behaviour, causes of anti-social behaviour, change in the family, successful interventions to prevent the development of offending, contrasting models of youth justice, the system in Canada, and public opinion and the politics of crime.  It will be read by practitioners, policy makers, scholars, students, and others with an interest in addressing one of today’s most intractable social problems.

Forthcoming Events

 

Conferences

Developments in Foster Care: When are family and kin the best option for children?

Date: 4th March 2011
Organisers: Child Care in Practice
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Dublin Airport

This conference will explore some of the current challenges in the provision of foster care throughout Ireland, setting these within the broader legislative and policy contexts in each jurisdiction. Keynote speakers include Judge Gemma Loughran, Dr Valerie O’Brien and Mr Geoffrey Shannon.

Further Details:
Web: http://www.childcareinpractice.org
Email: childcareinpractice@qub.ac.uk

Facing Up To Facebook

Date: 30th March 2011
Organisers: BAAF (NI)
Venue: The Mount Conference Centre, Belfast

This conference will consider the impact of the social networking revolution on children and young people who are adopted or who are looked after.  It will explore the issues from the different perspectives of children and young people, their parents and carers, social workers, birth family members in relation to internet safety.

Further Details:
Web: https://www.baaf.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/training/110330_ni.doc
Email: northernireland@baaf.org.uk