Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Researching GIRFEC

Francesca Kimberley - "Love Is Like Wings" Aberlour charity single
Aberlour is a children`s charity which claims to be there for young people and families across Scotland, helping transform lives for the better. It supports children and families through challenges like:
living with a disability
growing up in and leaving care
the impact of drugs and alcohol on families
It is also very much in favour of GIRFEC and the Named Person scheme and was one of the major charities which urged the Supreme Court to throw out the appeal against the Named Person legislation. 

More recently, Aberlour has signed an agreement with the newly created Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection at Stirling University.

The centre "undertakes original research and engages in a range of educational and knowledge exchange activities focused on enhancing the lives of children who are vulnerable to compromised development because of a range of personal, familial and social adversities"

I think it is worrying when charities collaborate with research institutions in this way, especially when they put forward such strong political views as they did regarding the Named Person scheme.

In addition, the term `compromised development` does not refer to any particular difficulty or specific set of circumstances. Taking such a broad sweep of the effects of a range of personal, familial and social adversities could bias the research in favour of the GIRFEC ideology by smoothing out individual differences.

Nevertheless, Brigid Daniel, who is Director of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection has said:  
"I am delighted to be working closely with Aberlour and very much appreciate their support and involvement, along with other organisations, in the Seamless Services` research project which is researching the effectiveness of Scotland`s framework for child wellbeing Getting it Right for Every Child."
Already there are indications that much of the GIRFEC ideology is taken as a given:

"With policies such as Getting it right for every child, The Early Years Framework, National Parenting Strategy, Curriculum for Excellence and Better Health: Better Care, Scotland is in a potentially strong position to improve the lives of children. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 has now enshrined the concept of wellbeing in statute, within the overarching framework of the SHANARRI Wellbeing indicators. Central to the Act is the aspiration that childrenwellbeing is promoted, supported and safeguarded and that they receive seamless services, provided as far as possible by practitioners in education and health services who will assume the role of named personsfor children.. "

"These policies are being implemented against the background of the full scale reorganisation to integrate health and social care services across Scotland. There is, therefore, a unique opportunity in Scotland for in-depth critical analysis of the impact of these developments as they unfold in a changing and challenging real world context."

Sometimes it is difficult to get a handle on things in order to express discomfiture with this type of project but then along comes an article which crystallises the problem.

John Wallace writing in Third Force News has said: "Named person is the one thing that keeps me awake at night."
"People living with a rare disease and their families amount to 300,000 in Scotland according to the Scottish Government and they face significant social and daily life challenges which affect their autonomy, their dignity and their fundamental human rights."

"Integrated care provision and coordination between medical, social and local support services, via multidisciplinary care pathways and innovative care solutions, is a crucial game changer to tackle the unmet social needs of people living with rare diseases and none of this was even considered in coming up with the named person legislation. Nobody asked anyone in the rare disease community or indeed the disability or carer community."
"Families of children with rare diseases represent a motivated group striving to find what is best for their loved one, make the time and find the energy to sift through thousands of pieces of information to find that one pearl, no matter how small. They dedicate their lives to researching their children’s condition."

"This dedication, in turn, can mean that even as they turn to medical professionals for help, it is those same professionals that in fact look to the parents for guidance..."

"We go out of our way to enable everyone dealing with my son to work together, whether that be professors, consultants, GP, rheumatology nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and all the other medical professionals and the educational professionals in school." 

"I am the named person and I can do it better than his headteacher or anyone else because I live with it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year I don’t take school holidays nor weekends off. I am with my son whenever and wherever he needs me."

Read more at  

Collaborative endeavours and research projects which ignore this
challenging real – world context will skew results.

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