| Year 3
| CJ DonohoeK00126283
Roscommon Child Care Case
In this assignment I hope to discuss how and why the state failed to address the needs of the children and how they failed to work with the children in the family. I intend to look at key recent child protection policies from the department of children and youth affairs, for example, Children First 2010 and the Child protection and Welfare handbook.
All the workers who provided services to the family were well intentioned and concerned for the family’s welfare. However, they were constantly preoccupied and cheated by the parents and were unjustifiably optimistic about the parents’ capability to care adequately for their children (Roscommon Child Care inquiry, 2010). They failed to identify the extent and severity of the neglect and abuse suffered by each child from the time of their birth until their admission to care in 2004 (Gibbons, page 96, 2010). Poor Staff management and Report Writing
It is evident throughout the Roscommon case that there was constant pattern of chop and change of staff members working with the family. The SCW’s did not carry out good practice in relation to briefing the new members of staff due to work with the family. The children needed consistency and in total, six SCW’s were involved with the family from 1989-2004. In 1996, SCW1 was assigned to work on the case. SCW1 advised the Inquiry that, on taking up her appointment, she found a cabinet full of case files (approx. 100). She worked part-time on a week-on/week-off basis and had very little contact with the social worker who covered the other half of her post. SCW2 also referred to the cabinet full of files which required to be sorted through and decisions made in respect of them. How was SCW1 expected to sort through all these files and make important decisions on a week on/week-off basis when she had little to no knowledge on the case background? She advised the Inquiry that she had a very heavy case load and she received little support and supervision from the acting senior social worker who had recently come to the area as a social work team leader. The previous senior social worker had been off ill for some months. It can be presumed that the newly appointed senior social worker did not have much knowledge on the case. At one point, between February 1999 and May 1999 no Social Worker was allocated to family A. The Social Work Team Leader post for this area was vacant for the first five months of 1999 and in May 1999 the family was allocated to SCW 2 who was supervised by the newly appointed Social Work Team Leader 2, both of whom were new to this case (Gibbons, 2010, page 29). It was SCW 3 that showed real concern for the children. He expressed his frustration to his team leader and insisted that the case was being ignored when there was clear evidence that the children were being neglected. The National Children first guidelines (2011) states that all reports should be filled out by a professional who is working in direct contact with the child in question. Again, this was clearly not practiced given that there was approx. 100 files left for the newly appointed SCW to sort through. The guidelines clearly show what information should be included in a report. There is no evidence as such in the Roscommon case that shows that standard report procedures were used. In many of the reports written, there is little to no mention of the children and the reports are very vague, for example "house very dirty". A substantial amount of the home visits were not even recorded. SCW2 stated to the inquiry team that "she was not sure if she had recorded everything she did on the case" (Roscommon Child Care Inquiry 2010 page 35). SCW’s assigned to the case should have taken responsibility and allocated time to ensure reports were written up properly straight after every visit and that all the reports were kept in the one filing system. When the inquiring team...
References: * A Cox and A Bentovim (2000). ‘Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales’. United Kingdom for The Stationery Ofﬁce: The Stationery Ofﬁce Ltd. 23-26.
* Department of Health and Children (2011), Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, Dublin: Government Publications
* Ferguson, H. (2009). “Child and Family Social Work”, June (2009),pp.471-480, Nottingham: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
* Health Information and Quality Authority (2012), National Standards for the Health and Welfare of Children, Dublin: HIQA
* Mulkeen, M Gendered Process in Child Protection: ‘Motherblaming’. Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, Volume 12
* Roscommon Child Care Inquiry (2010), Roscommon Child Care Case: Report of the Inquiry Team to the Health Service Executive, Dublin: Health Service Executive.
* Swann, A (1993) "Recognition of Abuse", in Owen, H. and Pritchard, J. (eds) Good Practice in Child Protection, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers Ltd. Pgs: 39-56
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