on 11 March 2007
I bought this book after recently attending a conference about "denied" child abuse, Andrew Turnell and Peter Dale were the speakers, and I thought they were both rather wise and marvellous, so I bought their books.
As someone working in the frequently exploding minefield that is child protection, I found this book to be an inspiring and compelling read. The book has given me a whole new perspective, as it challenges conventional (and often quite scary) ways of working with these complex cases.
There are frankly too many thought provoking and head nodding moments to mention, but the idea that you don't necessarily need a'confession' to engage and work effectively with the likely abusing carer really stood out for me. Using the resolutions approach, Turnell and English advocate "stopping the abuse, not (necessarily) the family", by developing and implementing a rigourous safety plan around the child and creating a safety network, including involving the child and other family members using words and pictures.
This is practice based evidence, and in the areas where this resolutions approach has been used, the reabuse rates and numbers of children in the LAC system are low.
I would urge anyone working in the child protection arena to read this book and then forcibly encourage their colleagues to read it by whatever means necessary, because adopting this way of working can only improve outcomes for vulnerable children and their families. This could well be the way forward in child protection, god knows we need it.
on 22 January 2008
I came to this book already having heard Andrew Turnell speak and having read 'Signs of Safety.' The authors set out to present a straightforward model of working with alleged child abuse (mainly sexual abuse and physical injury in infancy) that is respectful to both the parents/carers and the child care professionals who have concerns for the child.
Having said that the approach is straightforward (possibly even simple) this should not be confused with easy. To use the approaches in the book you will need massive amounts of professional integrity and personal resilience, you will need time and courage to go as fast as the family safely can (no slower, no faster), and the wisdom of Solomon to make judgements that can literally be life and death. However, if you are thinking of reading this book you are probably already in that position and this book will help you do it better.
For anyone working in child protection I would strongly recommend this book, perhaps with a rider that you make your line manager read it as soon as you have finished it (or get them to buy their own copy and read it alongside you).
on 4 January 2010
This is an excellent book. It goes beyond the theoretical to a clear framework for, and practical examples of, good practice in child protection. The approach is innovative and rigorous and though I have not yet had the opportunity to use it, I would suggest that it has considerable potential to be effective. This book is a must read for professionals stuck in a case where the denial dispute and a focus on confession is causing stagnation to the extent that the case is 'unworkable' and needs to be closed. This approach resolves to engage the family and produce a collectively agreed plan that seeks to effectively protect the safety of the child.