Supporting positive relationships for children and young people who have experience of care | Iriss
H// – CYP Core Develop positive relationships with Children, Young People and Others involved in their care H// 1. Be able to develop. We begin by defining relationships and relational processes, before presenting children's personal relationships, and the relational processes. relationships with people involved in the care of children and young people. Children do not come through the door alone or by themselves and it is rare that we.
Actively listen in a calm, open, non-threatening manner and use questions to check understanding and acknowledge that you have heard what is being said. Understand the role and value of families and carers as partners, in supporting their children to achieve positive outcomes.
Summarising and explaining Summarise situations in the appropriate way for the individual taking into account factors such as background, age and personality. Understand how to present genuine choices to young people and how to obtain consent to sharing information.
Explain to the child, young person, parent or carer what kind of information you may have to share with others.
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Explain what has happened or will happen next and check their understanding, and where appropriate their consent to the process. Consultation and negotiation Consult the child, young person, parent or carer from the beginning of the process. Inform, involve and help the child or young person to assess different courses of action, understand the consequences of each and, where appropriate, agree next steps. Understand the key roles and value of parents and carers; know when to refer them to further sources of information, advice or support.
Identify what each party hopes to achieve in order to reach the best and most fair conclusion for the child or young person. Share reasons for action with the child or young person and those caring for them. Provide support and encouragement to children and young people.
Know when, and how, to hand over control of a situation to others. Knowledge How communication works Know that communication is a two-way process. Professionals are obligated as duty bearers, to enable children to claim these and other related rights McRae, There is, therefore, a growing body of evidence to suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the development of high quality relationships between professionals, children, young people and their families. Serious case reviews and child abuse inquires highlight how crucial it is that teachers, health visitors, the police and social workers all share responsibility for developing meaningful relationships with children with whom they work DfE, ; Children and Young People Scotland Act It is within this context that there has been a growing emphasis on the shared responsibility for safeguarding children and young people and a resurgence of interest in the centrality of relationship within government-commissioned reports across the UK Happer et al, ; SWIA, ; SSIA, ; DCSF, ; Devaney et al, This indicates that relationships should be at the heart of the care system.
What types of relationships are important and for what reasons?
Children and young people have indicated that it is not just relationships with professionals including teachers and health professionals for example that are important, but that there is a range of other people with whom they network and from whom they derive support.
These include caregivers foster carers, residential social workers, social workers, and respite care providersmentors, youth workers, befrienders, peers and birth family especially siblings Holland and Crowley, Often, relationships are thought of in terms of their quantity, blood tie, family form and frequency of contact.
Why relationships are so important for children and young people
Far more important than any of these is the quality. There is some research to indicate, for example, that the presence in the life of a child or young person of one stable, significant adult is as important as a multiplicity of relationships Singer et al, Some research has identified that characteristics associated with high quality relationships relate to the functions they perform - informational guidance and advice ; instrumental giving resources including time, money, access to services ; emotional support companionship, affection, trust ; and appraisal enhancement of self-worth Singer et al, An important and often overlooked aspect to the quality of relationships is having opportunities to experience affection and the development of intimate knowledge relationships Morgan, ; Holland and Crowley, ; Ridley et al, From the perspective of children and young people, quality is sometimes associated with the length of time they have known the professional Schofield and Stevenson, Other research indicates that children and young people value relationships with professionals, and in particular social workers, who: These views are in contrast with the views of social workers who often underestimate the significance of their relationships.What is the most important influence on child development - Tom Weisner - TEDxUCLA
The reason for this is that social workers' efforts are often focused on supporting the relationships that children and young people are developing with their new carers. In so doing, they fail to acknowledge how important they themselves are to children and young people.
For example, it is often the social worker who is the only link between the past family life of the child and the new life they are now building in care Winter, Why are high quality relationships beneficial? It is argued that the experience of positive, safe and stable relationships helps children and young people build secure attachments, develop self-confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance and contributes to a strong sense of identity and belonging Fahlberg,; Ryan, ; Care Inquiry, Furthermore, it follows that with these foundations in place, children and young people are afforded the best chance to secure positive long-term outcomes in education, health and overall well being Happer et al, ; Siebelt et al, ; DCSF, ; Ryan, From the perspective of children and young people, stable, significant relationships are beneficial as they provide someone to turn to at points of crisis and change, they provide encouragement and guidance and they provide endorsement at key life events such as graduation or marriage Singer et al, Longstanding relationships can also provide a platform to making sense of the past, filling in gaps regarding one's own personal narrative.
Such relationships, therefore, perform an important role in identity formation, particularly when children cannot return home Neill and Howe, ; Schofield and Stevenson, ; Winter, What are the barriers? We hear a lot about how difficult it is for professionals and children and young people to build and maintain high quality relationships with each other.
There are several reasons for this. From the perspective of children and young people, their attachment relationships may have been disrupted. Secure attachment relationships contribute to the healthy emotional development of children, providing them with skills, competence and capacity to regulate their own emotions, understand others and to form healthy relationships Shemmings, ; Furnivall, In the absence of a secure attachment relationship, some children can find it difficult to trust adults in the face of previously negative and abusive encounters Leeson, ; Munro, ; Winter, These feelings of mistrust can be exacerbated by constant changes of worker, the lack of time to form relationships and by professional decisions that are made about the lives of children and young people with which a child or young person does not agree.
Furthermore, children and young people may have developed coping mechanisms that result in them not taking opportunities to form relationships through fear of rejection Reimer, ; Care Inquiry, From the perspective of professionals, commonly cited barriers in developing and sustaining relationships include: Another related issue is that social workers tend to view relationships as sequential and linear - that is, to form new relationships, all previous relationships should be brought to an end.
While understandable in the context of the professional imperative to protect children from harm, a more nuanced approach would suggest that there can be positive and negative elements to individual relationships and that it is better to perceive relationships as networks, with some people in that network being or becoming more prominent at different points and events in the life of a child or young person Care Inquiry, How can practitioners challenge the existing barriers? Challenging identified barriers requires an approach that begins with the individual but also involves tackling organisational cultures, practice norms and the broader structural context in which social work is delivered Ruch et al, Beginning at the level of the individual, Forrester and colleagues highlight that, sometimes, parental resistance is as much down to the confrontational communicative style of social workers, as it is down to the parents themselves.
Their research shows that communicative styles characterised by clarity about the concerns, warmth and empathy are correlated with lower levels of parental resistance.
Why relationships are so important for children and young people | Mental Health Foundation
Importantly, the same work notes that organisational cultures can either foster these types of skill or constrain their development. Other developments aimed at changing the organisational and structural context of social work Ruch, are described below. Each has, as its common aim and purpose, the desire to enhance the strength and quality of relationships between social workers and young people.
As will be seen, the evidence as to whether the new models of service delivery have achieved that aim is varied. Perhaps the strangest, is that dogs have been shown to help children who have difficulties with their reading.
This encourages the child to want to be with the dog and read to it. Difficulties forming relationships We know that there are some children who may have particular problems forming relationships.
This may include children with a learning disability, autism spectrum disorders and so on. So Circles of Friends is a useful tool to help create this support network around the person. For instance poor relationships both within families and peers are a common trigger for self-harming behaviours. Relationships within families can become difficult when the child or adult for that matter is ill.
A stressful thing for any family is when their child is seriously ill, and this is possibly even worse when a child has mental health problems.
Help for Children & Young People – Family & Relationship Help | Relate
Your child being seriously ill is bad enough, but the sad reality for many children and young people with serious mental health problems is that when they need to be admitted to hospital, they often have to travel milessometimes across the other side of the country, to find a bed. Being in hospital as a child is awful, but if you are miles away from your family, which many are, it can be horrendous.
While young people will no doubt form relationships with their peers on the wards, and hopefully with practitioners as well; it is a time when they need those strong and secure relationships that families and good friends can provide. If your child is miles away, it is very difficult to provide this support on a day-to-day basis.