It was the quarterly Department for Education’s Expert Advisory Group on Adoption Support. Today was the usual updates on this and that and a few larger issues addressed such as the working out of the role of the Virtual School Heads. We focused to how the Adoption Support Fund was progressing, of course there are challenges but to date nearly 18,000 children had been helped and that the fair access limit remained above the average cost of the vast majority of applications. No help if you’re over with match funding and a difficult issue for some but 80 families have been match funded, which is more than I’d envisaged.
We had a discussion around the incoming legislation of the Virtual School Heads with NAVSH represented in the room they gave a good account of how they envisaged it playing on the ground. It is was a good discussion and there’s room for encouragement and optimism. Of course there are uncertainties as we move into new responsibilities and grey areas but without doubt we are heading in the right direction, it would have been nice to have heard Gareth Marr’s thoughts as we discussed the role.
The final item on the agenda was Child on Parent Violence, I’d asked for it to be there.
Drawing tougher all the findings from the Survey that I’d undertaken and the subsequent findings that Dr Wendy Thorley had made sense of in the first and second CPV reports that laid it all out. It’s too much go through verbatim and a text version of a 45 minute presentation is too much to bear so here we go in eight words.
Taboo (fear of response, isolation, criminalisation, ignorance, stigma, victim blaming)
Paradigms (different professionals view it very differently
Definitions (the trouble with them)
Prevalence (lots, 30% ish)
It was well received, they’re a polite bunch, but I do think the collective minds and organisations in the room took the message to heart.
Child on Parent Violence is a ‘thing.*
This is a thing that we need to act on, a complicated, ugly, painful and prickly thing that needs to be grasped. As one member noted, not a can of worms but a bucket of worms.
Actions is the interesting bit, so what do we do next?
That’s the question, what do we do with this ‘thing’, first we call it a thing and we start to raise awareness and we start to consider if this as big as we suspect and believe that we make it a part of Social Workers Continual Professional Development.
We consider how we prepare adopters to let them know it’s a ‘thing’ and it’s ok to say it’s happening.
We liaise with safeguarding and tell them about this ‘thing’.
We develop out knowledge of interventions and what works in a real world situation.
The DfE are going to talk to the Chief Social Worker about their views and knowledge.
Today felt like a start line not and maybe a consideration of what may be the first steps in removing the taboo and developing the culture that makes it ok to ask for help and ok to say you’re not ok.
I apologise that this is all a bit vague, it’s late and having thought hard about this for a long long time and lived to varying degrees with it and in it. I feel very sleepy all of a sudden.
On another note I’m thinking of getting the presentation, with other stuff, out to a wider audience and there’s even talk of putting on a free event for whoever’s interested and recording it, podcasting and you tubing it. I’m pondering that thought so if that’s of interest let me know.
All in all a good day.
*Speaking to a group of Social Workers last week a senior practitioner said “We knew that this happened but we didn’t realise it was a ‘thing’.”
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