Having identified needs and objectives, the Children and Families Team should now consider how to meet them. It may be the case that services are not available, so it is important to sound out potential service providers before meeting to agree a plan.
How to do it
In drawing up the service plan, the Children and Families Team should consider
- specialist services available
- their own skills and abilities
- resources in the family
- universal resources.
In complex situations it may be unclear what should happen next, even though a child protection enquiry has been completed. If this is the case, a specialist assessment may be required.
Lessons from research
Some professionals may hold rigid views or give mixed messages to mothers about their abilities and responsibilities in caring for their children. Mothers need protection, support and guidance rather than a harsh or punitive approach based on initial judgments.
Mothers of children who have been sexually abused often feel pressured to attend treatment groups, fearing legal proceedings to remove their children if they don’t. They may feel anger, mistrust, hurt and disbelief at what has happened to them, including their experiences with professional agencies. They may feel patronised or blamed by workers and excluded from important decisions. These feelings create resentment and anger which can derail the child protection process if it is not addressed.
Building a relationship with a parent, and taking time to understand how it feels for them, can be difficult, but is often the most successful way to protect the child, especially in cases of sexual abuse.
See Hill S: Partners for Protection: A Future Direction for Child Protection? in Child Abuse Review, Vol 14, Issue 5 (2005)