Sunday, 19 June 2016

Keeping the child at the centre

"An ambitious plan to ensure children across North Ayrshire get the best possible start has been launched. Called “Getting it Right For You”, the far-reaching strategy will be implemented over the next four years to improve children’s services and is a North Ayrshire first. It is based on the life of a child, covering the early years, primary and secondary school and contains a range of `promises`."

"The plan is the strategic response to the Children Count survey – one of the most powerful pieces of work carried out in developing children’s services in North Ayrshire. Almost 8000 young people and 630 families with young children took part in the survey which was designed by the Dartington Social Research Unit – a pioneering independent charity using data and evidence to influence policy to improve children’s outcomes."


All very positive until you look at some of the promises which have resulted from the Children Count survey:

• your mum will have a named midwife who will look after both of you
• if your mum smokes, drinks alcohol or takes substances when she is pregnant with you, we will offer her a programme to help her to stop
• we will help your mum if she wants to breastfeed, as this is best for you
• we will support your dad and family members as they will be of great support to you and your mum
• you will have a named person (health visitor) who will be there for you and your family
• we will help your mum and dad learn what is important to be a supportive and confident parent.

In other words, there is little confidence in the quality of parenting in North Ayrshire and for the next eighteen years the Named Person will  keep a firm grip of mum and dad.

It`s called keeping the child at the centre. If ever a policy was designed to build a wedge between parents and their children, this is it.

Transforming children`s services conference Perth march 2016
John Swinney MSP, speaking at the `transforming children`s services conference` explains the thinking behind the data driven `learning journey` that is GIRFEC.
It means professionals working in collaboration, planning and designing early interventions and preventative services so that problems within families are nipped in the bud now, reducing the expenditure of more serious developments in the future. Since nobody can say what will happen in the future, that has got to be an act of faith.

Regardless, Mr Swinney feels that progress has been too slow and urges service providers to get on with it.
Knowing that the child is at the centre - for who does not support children`s wellbeing? - practitioners should have the confidence to break out of their silos, join together, and deal aggressively with objections from people and organisations who would set up barriers to this unified endeavour.
A unified endeavour that must deal with objectors aggressively; but that has got to include parents. Scary.

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