Saturday, 8 November 2014

ChildrenCount Survey in a world that counts

Here`s the Largs and Millport News:

Tom Marshall
"Concerns have been raised by a local councillor about a controversial children’s survey for 9-16 year olds, which he feels are inappropriate and intrusive. Councillor Tom Marshall  has questioned why the survey includes questions about drug-taking, relationships with parents, thieving, knives, and drugs."

"Speaking to the ‘News’, Cllr Marshall said: `These surveys are akin to unsolicited phone calls that are received and are an unsolicited intrusion into family circumstances. The language is inappropriate for a number of children. Questions regarding thieving and drugs are being presented almost as if these activities are normalised. Many parents would be most unhappy that there is any suggestion that their children are in the minority for not even contemplating these things. Questions on relationships with parents/guardians are clearly inappropriate and could be used to instigate the named person with interventions at some point in the future.`"

"Cllr. Marshall also stated that he thought it was unfair that elected members of the council were not given the opportunity to be consulted regarding the nature of the survey, and its line of questioning ."

ChildrenCount Surveys

"The data – when aggregated up to the population-level – are designed to inform the development of investment strategies to improve child outcomes, guide the selection and implementation of evidence-based services and the design of new innovations."

"The tools generate unparalleled data from approximately 600 parents of young children and up to 10,000 school-age children in a given area. These data are powerfully and dynamically visualised and considered alongside existing data on need and service use."

"The ChildrenCount Surveys are an adapted version of the
Evidence2Success methodology developed by the Social Research Unit at Dartington in partnership with the Annie E Casey Foundation and the Social Development Research Group."

They go on to say that there are numerous indicators of child wellbeing within the project. When they narrow down on those that are most predictive of children`s health and development, the following factors are significant: 

Substance misuse during pregnancy, late prenatal care, low parental involvement in learning or education, poor family management, inconsistent positive parental discipline, family conflict, permissive parental attitudes to antisocial behaviour, parent stress/aggravation, low parent social support, poor parental mental health, parental substance misuse, poor community environment or social cohesion, relative poverty, overcrowded accommodation.

What kind of interventions or innovative designs are likely to follow the survey when these are the risk and protective factors being looked for?
It is not difficult to work out that to improve childhood outcomes, the focus will be on parents, especially those from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds. It has been set up that way. So this is a survey with a bias. Because interventions will be targeted at the population level, all parents in a target group are likely to be tarred with the same brush. Personally, I believe that will harden certain prejudices and that will not help children`s wellbeing at all.

It is hard to say how many charities are waiting in the wings ready to provide the monitoring and counselling services. Meanwhile austerity continues; there are going to be more cuts, and children in genuine need are not always going to get the specialist help they require. This is about throwing problems back on to the community and doing things on the cheap. (i.e. sustainble development)

See the Scottish Review: 
 We are sleepwalking into an authoritarian Scotland

The survey has also been carried out in Angus and Dundee.  For a sample of the survey see Dundee ChildrenCount survey

For a glimpse of the bigger picture see `A World that Councts`

1 comment: