Examining The Reflective Practice And Risk Social Work Essay

The aim of this essay is to critically measure the undermentioned statement with mention to personal pattern experience when assessing and managing hazard. As my pattern experience was based in a Children and Families Area Team, this essay will therefore explore the statement from this position.

“ A good hazard determination requires both good hazard appraisal and good hazard direction. ” ( Carson & A ; Bain, 2008, p.156 )

This essay will, ab initio, explore and show a critical apprehension of the cardinal constructs of hazard appraisal and hazard direction. It will so supply an analysis of the political, cultural and societal contexts that form pattern in relation to put on the line direction. Following this, a critical grasp of the construct of hazard determination devising will be considered. Finally a brooding treatment of a instance survey drawn from my pattern will be evaluated in relation to hazard. This brooding treatment will be set within a theoretical model of contemplation.

In order to critically understand the construct of hazard appraisal, the inquiry of what hazard is ought to be defined. Harmonizing to Alaszewski & A ; Manthorpe ( 1991 ) hazard may be defined as the chance that a class of action will non accomplish the coveted consequence but alternatively some unacceptable circumstance or event would predominate. McCarthy et Al ( 2004 ) furthers this point as they besides suggest that the term ‘risk ‘ implies the possibility of unwanted or negative results. Furthermore, McCarthy besides indicates that within the construct of hazard it is besides implied that these results can be avoided. ( McCarthy et Al, 2004 ) .

It is to boot pointed out that hazard has both an aim and subjective dimension. For illustration, when sing hazard objectively it is possible to place that any milieus or environment will be risky and associated with danger. Specifying hazard from a subjective position means that the possibility of danger or an unacceptable event taking topographic point will change from single to single every bit good as societal groups. ( Aleszewski & A ; Manthorpe, 1991 ) . Nevertheless, Houston and Griffiths ( 2000 ) inquiry the cogency of the objectivist paradigm that they identify as the footing of hazard appraisal and point to its “ failure to supply valid and dependable steps of hazard. ” ( Houston & A ; Griffiths, p.1 ) They argue for a move toward a subjectivist paradigm, and a return to the construct of ‘relationship ‘ as the principle of societal work intercession.

On the other manus, there can be value in taking hazards. Indeed, hazard pickings can be seen to hold good every bit good as harmful results to the life of an person. ( Titterton, 2005 ; Carson & A ; Bain, 2008 ) . As Titterton points out

“ Hazard pickings is a class of purposeful action based on informed determinations refering the possibility of positive and negative results… and degrees of hazard appropriate in certain state of affairss. ”

( Titterton, 2005, p.25 )

Consequently, the construct of hazard appraisal is a nucleus activity within societal work and farther to this minimising hazard has become a cardinal component. Indeed, Calder ( 2002 ) describes risk appraisal as a systematic aggregation of information in order to place if hazards are involved and place the likeliness of their future happening. It is further suggested that hazard appraisal should be understood as roll uping information and measuring any information gained sing hazard elements. These two elements, which are cardinal to put on the line appraisal, are effects ( or outcomes ) and likeliness ( besides known as opportunity or exposure ) . ( Carson & A ; Bain, 2008 ) .

As most of the state of affairss societal workers deal with contain considerable uncertainness about the significance of events, the grounds for referrals, the truth of appraisal, and the effects of taking one class of action alternatively of another, it is sensible to presume that appraisal of hazard is non an exact scientific discipline. Further to this, the possible results or effects could be infinite and accordingly impossible to foretell with absolute certainty. Therefore, the component of uncertainness must be acknowledged as a nucleus characteristic of professional opinion. Surely, it is suggested that when sing the possible results ( including good results ) , a hazard appraisal should merely necessitate that moderately predicted results are met and that a lawful, moral and professional objectiveness is upheld at all times. ( Titterton, 2005 ; Carson & A ; Bain, 2008 ; Macdonald & A ; Macdonald, 2010 ) . As Webb ( 2006 ) points out societal workers have

‘an ethical temperament to make the best for clients and insofar as they have the resources to make so… ”

( Webb, 2006, p. 203 )

Within hazard appraisal literature, Titterton ( 2005 ) besides argues that the accent remains on measuring for the hazard of harmful or inauspicious results but how this is completed can depend on which appraisal model is used. For illustration, within Criminal Justice Teams a more actuarial appraisal is utilized. An actuarial appraisal is based on statistical computations of hazard and, for illustration, uses graduated tables to measure recidivism. Within a Children and Families Area Team the appraisal model used could be described as a holistic and inclusive appraisal which is child-centred and references three spheres: developmental demands, parental capacity and environmental factors. The GIRFEC pattern theoretical account therefore purposes for early designation of hazard in all three spheres every bit good as analysis of grounds, decision-making and planning. ( Scots Government 2008 ) Furthermore, it allows the practioner to use a developmental-ecological attack which is grounded in theories of kid development and emphasises interaction between kid and environment every bit good as taking a resiliency attack which weights strengths every bit good as exposures. ( Local Authority Risk Assessment Training Handout, 2009 ) .

However, what all hazard appraisal tools have in common is that all information gathered is analysed to let an apprehension to be developed which so allows a professional opinion to be formed. Further to this hazard appraisal should take into history hazard factors and protective factors that can expect and warrant schemes of hazard bar every bit good as hazard direction. ( Kemshall, 2003 ; Parton 2006 ) . This should enable the societal worker to use all appropriate intercessions and/or determinations. Analysis of information, therefore, is an of import factor when sing outcomes, likeliness and suited action and consequently, societal workers require a good appreciation of chance and statistical ground to construe research and assessment information, organise their thought and be able to pull sound probationary decisions which are unfastened to alter in the visible radiation of new information. ( Helm, 2009 ; Macdonald & A ; Macdonald, 2010 ) .

Risk direction, in its simplest sense, describes the development of schemes to cut down the badness and frequence of identified hazards and inauspicious results. This involves detecting and commanding the dimensions of a proposed hazard into a program which involves implementing, monitoring, commanding and reexamining the hazard determination. Further to this, at an organizational degree, hazard direction requires a service that is adequately staffed with forces who are to the full trained and sufficiently knowing and skilled in placing jobs or chances and to do appropriate intercessions. ( Vincent, 1995 ; Kapur, 2000 ; Carson & A ; Bain, 2008 ) . The Scots Government ( 2008 ) further suggests that hazard direction should be understood as hazard decrease and that collectively professionals should hold assurance, through defendable determination devising, that measures implemented will cut down hazard sufficiently.

Taking these definitions into history, hazard direction suggest ways in which a determination may outdo be put into pattern. What besides should be included within a hazard direction scheme is the embrace of chances which could originate from any possible hazard determinations. Another point which is of import is that in order to do and pull off a hazard determination the measure and quality of cognition available to the societal worker should run into the demands needed to do a sound determination. Consequently, before doing a determination, consideration should be given to what is already known and its worth every bit good as contemplation and contemplation of what is non known and any deductions originating from this. Included in this should besides be the consideration of any chances which may originate which may hold the chance of possible benefits. ( Carson & A ; Bain, 2008 ) .

Littlechild & A ; Blakeney ( 1996 ) further suggest that the direction of hazard should be adaptable. This refers to the impression that households and their lives do non remain stable and alterations can take topographic point in their ability to get by therefore the hazards can alter excessively. Monitoring, for these grounds are of import as is communicating with the household and other bureaus who are involved. Littlechild & A ; Blakeney go on to province that this is where the professional expertness of the societal worker should be focused and non in an uneffective effort to expect every possible hazard. Consequently, the rules for hazard direction should be the demand to guarantee that the on-going shared program manages the hazard, records determinations that shows how and why determinations were reached and ensures that determinations made have actions with named individuals, clear timescales and reexamine day of the months and besides guarantee that any agreed timescales may be reduced if new risks/needs become more evident.

Beck ( 1992 ) suggests we are populating in a ‘risk society ‘ in which he believes that late modernness, as a automatic societal order, ‘manufactures ‘ new hazards and uncertainnesss. Furedi ( 1997 ) besides determines that we live in a public obsessed with hazard and that safety has become the “ cardinal value of our times. ” ( Furedi, 1997, p.1 ) .

Furedi ( 1997 ) further suggests that the hazard antipathy civilization we live in today is based on the manner that hazard and its negative effects are represented in the media and by politicians. Barry ( 2007 ) extends this claim by reasoning that kid protection work has become more reactive since the decease of Maria Coldwell in 1973 which has resulted in a preoccupation with blameworthiness, incrimination and requital. This, has allowed societal work pattern to go

“ … really defensive, excessively proceduralised and narrowly concerned with assessing, managing and sing against hazard. ”

( Parton & A ; O’Byrne, 2000, p.1 )

Green ( 2007 ) upholds this impression by proposing that authoritiess, and the inordinate figure of regulative bureaus, are dying to command the designation and deployment of hazards, peculiarly within the context of high-profile media narratives such as studies of kid maltreatment instances and deceases of kids antecedently known to societal work sections.

In retrospect, this socially acceptable demand to understate hazard if non avoid taking hazards wholly, has led to a societal work profession that has become progressively risk averse. ( Scots Executive, 2006 ) . This attack to put on the line appraisal and hazard direction has led to the debut of more and more formal processs to steer pattern which could be argued is denying the freedom of the societal worker to work in an empowering capacity. Working in an empowering capacity allows the professional practioner to concentrate on bar and more centrally tackle issues of poorness and societal inequality. What is besides needed is a civilization which is unfastened for professional practioners to enable them to voice concerns and being able to discourse mistakes and hence learn from errors. ( Stalker, 2003 ; Barry, 2006 ; Ritchie & A ; Woodward, 2009 ) . However, the Changing Lives Report ( 2006 ) has signified that one of the cardinal countries identified was the demand to develop a new organizational civilization and attack to put on the line direction and hazard appraisal which would advance excellence.

Within hazard determination doing Macdonald & A ; Macdonald ( 2010 ) argue that a focal point on high-profile instances of low-probability events distorts determination devising and this makes for a larger figure of kids taken into attention after such instances. They advocate that determinations about kids ‘s lives should be based on professional opinion instead than media smear and political force per unit area.

When societal workers make a professional opinion within hazard determination devising, the get downing point must be the aggregation of information through professional observations and questions every bit good as from past information and information held by other professionals. It is that opinion that is carried frontward into the determination doing field. ( Hollows 2003 ) . However, the look ‘error of judgement ‘ is offered as an account for most of the high-profile kid instances every bit good as in other professional activities. It is for this ground that opinion devising should be viewed as a serious undertaking.

Hammond ( 1996 ) advocates that there are different sorts of opinions, made under different conditions. These different conditions are the clip available, the sort of cognition available and the opinion undertaking itself. Hammond went on to develop a ‘cognitive continuum ‘ of opinion devising. This recognises that there are different attacks to judgement doing. Examples of these are: on the topographic point processing of information and cognition, known as intuition ; peer-aided opinions where two or more people will portion their cognition and discuss results and likelinesss. Finally, there are system-aided opinions that are supervisor or director aided. Consequently, application of the Cognitive Continuum allows the practioner to use the highest cognition available and farther enables the practioner to guarantee that the acknowledged ends of efficaciousness, truth and consistence can be promoted. ( Hollows, 2003 ; Carson & A ; Bain 2008 ) .

However, hazard determination devising is besides capable to personal values and subjective perceptual experiences of hazard and quandary which continue to dispute societal workers. Low-probability events such as kid maltreatment or utmost force can do anticipation hard. In these fortunes societal workers can be challenged by hazards that are high profile but typically infrequent and hence, have a inclination to either overestimation hazards because of anxiousness or to undervalue hazards which they are unaccustomed to. ( Kemshall, 2002 ) . From this position it is important that contemplation, uninterrupted reappraisal and the chance for regular supervising is supported peculiarly when research by Janus & A ; Mann ( 1977 ) found that emphasis generated a limited capacity to do a opinion every bit good as, and more crucially, an inability to do a determination.

BL was referred to the Children and Families Area Team by his school. This was after a meeting with his primary carers sing BL ‘s progressively emotional and angry effusions and deficiency of attending at school. The referral was made with understanding from his primary carers. BL is 12 old ages old and lives with his maternal grandma, step-grandfather and his maternal aunt and has done since he was 18 months old. His step-grandfather is paraplegic as a consequence of an accident when BL was 3 old ages old. BL ‘s maternal aunt has Prader-Willi Syndrome, she is 40 old ages old. BL has to portion a sleeping room with his aunt as the house merely has two sleeping rooms and is in private owned. BL maintains contact with his female parent and her long-run spouse on a biweekly footing and besides goes on vacation with her but he has no wish to populate full-time with his female parent as she lives about 50 stat mis off. BL stated both to his grandma and to me that his place is with ‘Gran and Gramps ‘ . Mrs. L independently confirmed that BL had no wish to travel to the metropolis as did Ms. L ( Ben ‘s female parent ) . Ms. L has no other kids.

In order to understand Ben ‘s emotional defeat, I undertook some research on Prader-Willi Syndrome. I discovered that disordered night-time slumber forms every bit good as emotional effusions of fury were portion of the symptoms. Coupled with this obsessional and/or compulsive behavior including argumentative or oppositional behavior were besides prevailing. ( Clarke et al 1996 ) . I besides spoke with Mrs. L at length about her other lovingness committednesss and discovered that she besides drives to England on a monthly footing to see her male parent, who is 90 old ages old, to do certain that his fiscal committednesss are paid every bit good as doing certain his carers are back uping him. Contact was besides made with the societal worker assigned to BL ‘s aunt whereby I was informed that his aunt was in the procedure of being allocated a place of her ain. This would take at least three months as versions had to be made to the house and suited attention agreements had to be put into topographic point. The societal worker realised that these fortunes were impacting BL and we arranged to reach each other on a hebdomadal footing sing exchange of information. This was agreed with the L household.

I placed my appraisal and intercession pattern within a developmental/ecological attack which has links with a strengths based attack. This allowed me to see BL ‘s protective factors every bit good as hazard factors. BL has a unafraid base and has close bonds with his grandparents. He besides had two really close friends from primary school and who continue to good friends. BL admitted that he was frustrated he had to portion a sleeping room. This meant no privateness in his place and he found it hard to finish his prep or even loosen up as carers for his aunt came in at different times to acquire her ready for bed. This meant that he had to travel to bed when his aunt ‘s carers were acquiring her ready for bed. BL besides admitted that he felt that he sometimes had to vie for his grandparents ‘ attending. His absences from school appeared to co-occur with the times his grandma returned from her visit to England.

After analysis of possible hazard factors to BL such as possible self-harm, backdown from his household and friends, I made a referral to the local immature carers group. This would let him to pass clip off from the household place with other immature people who lived in similar fortunes every bit good as broaden his societal web. This administration would besides be able to back up him on a one-to-one and group work footing. Support was besides made available to his primary carers, peculiarly his grandma. Through the usage of a personal journal I supported BL to speak to his grandparents about the defeat and emotional choler he felt which was comparatively successful in the short term.

In decision, Kolb ‘s Brooding Cycle ( 1984 ) and Hammond ‘s Cognitive Continuum ( 1996 ) allowed me to take into consideration BL ‘s whole state of affairs and advance protective factors and minimise hazard. With contemplation and supervisory treatment I believe I used my analytical accomplishments and utilized my professional opinion to the best of my ability. However, as has been pointed out ‘uncertainty ‘ is an of import component in any hazard appraisal and/or determination and has to be taken into history when managing hazard. Taking all these constructs sing hazard and brooding pattern into consideration when I start to pattern should enable me to break support service users in the hereafter.

2,995 words

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