A research paper has been published by Dr. Louise Caffrey, School of Social Work & Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin (in the Children and Youth Services Review journal) suggesting that the complexity of child protection systems makes interprofessional working unpredictable and that gaps in child protection process can occur due to ‘systemic role contradictions’. She states that tools alone cannot address problems in interprofessional working if challenges are cognitive and to address systemic contradictions we need to explore actors’* ‘local rationalities’.
This article explores interprofessional working in referrals to supported child contact services in England.
The paper was primarily based on research survey data and interviews carried out in 2010 (where the majority of referrals to supported contact centres came via family solicitors) but makes reference to the changing landscape of referrals since the change in legal aid in 2012. Since this time there has been a substantial rise in self referrals and in response to this a “Safe Referral” online platform has been set up through NACCC. The paper states “The platform is staffed by qualified social workers who undertake an assessment, can carry out safeguarding checks with police and Children’s Services and can contact parents and other professionals involved in the case for further information. However, currently only 2% of referrals are routed through the Safe Referral system (NACCC, 2019). NACCC (2019) suggests this may increase if more contact centres join the system.”
*The term ‘actor’ is used in terms of people’s roles in a system: “Unlike mechanical systems (e.g. a car), human actors in a system will each interpret roles and actions from their individual perspectives, influenced by local understandings, histories, motivations and so on. Further, actors in a system are connected and so the actions of each agent can change the context for others (Morin, 1992). Therefore, how actors will, in practice, interpret their own and others’ roles and react is inherently unpredictable. Fundamentally, actors may not behave as system designers expect.”
At time of writing the article can be found on the Children and Youth Services Review (Science Direct) journal website. To read the ‘final author copy’ please see below. To download the paper please click on the download. If you do not have the correct software installed then you can download free viewers. ( PDF Reader )