This is a post by Sarah Phillimore
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.
The Second Child Protection Conference will take place on 3rd June 2016 in Birmingham. For more details about the event and how to book a ticket, please visit the Events page at the Transparency Project.
I am very grateful to the Transparency Project charity for once more supporting this event. I am one of the trustees of the Transparency Project, and also the site administrator of the CPR site. I am therefore wearing two different but probably overlapping hats. The aims of the TP are not to agitate for any particular change to the family law system but rather to increase and improve public understanding of how the system is intended to work.
The aims of the CPR site are clearly different – I hope it provides a clear explanation of existing law and practice but it is also unashamedly a vehicle for expressing my often very serious concerns about the activities of those individual and groups which (in my opinion) do so much harm to vulnerable parents and children by their irresponsible and often ludicrous scaremongering and promotion of risibly stupid conspiracy theories.
But I hope these two approaches will come together on June 3rd and help continue the impetus for practical change which we identified at the first conference – Is the Child Protection System Fit for Purpose?
The only critical comments we got about that event from the people who attended (apart from comments about our timekeeping, which was woeful) was that we were too negative and didn’t provide enough discussion about what was already being done that was good or what we were going to do that was better. To some extent that was pretty inevitable – this was the first time we had all come together to share our different perspectives and experiences and before we identify where we want to go, it’s important to find out where we are starting from.
However, I agree entirely that its easy to moan about something, its a bit harder to actually do something that might change it for the better.
I hope very much that the second Conference is going to plant the seeds of serious and positive change. There have been discussions since June last year about what we could do and those discussions are crystalising into something quite exciting.
There have been some very interesting suggestions from some of our collaborators about what they would like to do and the CPR hopes to be part of this.
The first suggestion is for a new national interactive map of who is providing what advocacy and direct humane social work services to families in child protection. It’s currently still too hard for parents to find what is there.
Mapping what is already out there will provide a focus for how we put another activities into a more formal scheme.
Particular suggestions so far include:
- Training for local authority social workers as part of a broader campaign for more humane social work practices;
- A nationwide scheme for training parents to help and support other parents through care proceedings;
- Further consideration of what McKenzie friends can offer and considering how this can be regulated/monitored to protect the vulnerable;
- Looking at other methods of dealing with concerns about families – for e.g.what about mediation in child protection cases?
- Finding out more about what is done in other European countries, what is working well and what we could think about developing here.
Where do we go from here?
It would be great to see you at the Conference on June 3rd (I still have two free tickets left as of March 6th!). If you can’t come, please join in on the day via our Twitter hashtag CPConf2016 or join in comments on this site or at the Transparency Project.
If you have any ideas for what else could go on the list for discussion on the day, please let me or the Transparency Project know.
Let’s get something started.