How To Define the Problems
By Ray Ferris (This piece is one of a series Ray will write here. )
Some simple tests can be made to define systemic and non-systemic problems. Consider this: - There have been a number of systemic changes over the years, but whichever system has been used, there have always been staff who could make the system work reasonably well and those who could not. This has been a reliable constant.
We can infer from this that the most important factor has been the skills and commitment of the various staff. No system will work without a definable and teachable body of skills. These skills will take time to learn. They will be learned by a combination of theoretical instruction and supervised field practice with only manageable responsibilities. This training programme will take two or three years. It is most important that there is a high quality mentoring during that time.
It should be noted that this training will not be provided by the various schools of social work. They do not teach the skills of child protection and they do not pretend to do so. This has been noted in both the Gove and Hughes reports.
The systemic change to be made would be to fund and plan an in-service training programme, which will define and teach the necessary skills. An important component of this would be an ethical training programme and a clearly defined code of ethics. I will return to this topic in a later context.
Ferris retired after a career that included significant years with the MCFD. He has written a book entitled 'The Art of Child Protection.' This is the first in a series of pieces Ray will write here. You can order Mr. Ferris' book entitled 'the Art of Child Protection' by contacting the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.