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What they do not try to do is to predict which individual, over a period of time, will make that claim on their insurance. Such methods in relation to the social world are, however, not able to take into account the many and complex areas which intertwine to determine how a particular person will respond on a particular day, to a particular set of circumstances Titterton In addition, Higgins et al. This is the case for the child abuse and child protection fields. Fitzgibbon proposes that the use of statistics as the basis of actuarial risk assessments can be misleading; so, for example:.

Fitzgibbon b : In addition, it is very difficult to measure retrospectively the effectiveness of risk assessment models and tools. It was claimed that the Probation Service had assessed a 91 per cent chance of reoffending by the prisoner Guardian Positivistic models arising from the importation of models of knowledge and prediction from the natural sciences, then, cannot be easily transplanted into the human sciences in areas such as offending or child protection. Government policy and guidance do not acknowledge that risk assessment policies and tools derived from positivist technical—rational approaches fail to appreciate the limitations on how possible it is to be prescriptive in relation to risk assessment.

In the particular case of the child protection social work field, this includes how social workers in reality make their assessment and decisions as a result partly of power dynamics within certain types of abusing families, and threats of intimidation and violence against them by parents in such families.

Goddard et al. They argue that assessments that do not recognize uncertainty cannot accurately reflect the complex set of factors which might present risks to children, and are no longer acceptable.

Risk Taking and Assessment for Service Users: In-depth | Croner-i

Parton similarly argues that social work must move beyond such restricted and restrictive risk assessments, and rediscover ambiguity and uncertainty, as he terms it — i. This then could lead to coercive intervention which is not appropriate for the needs and rights of that child, or family. The fear created by a system which expects risk elimination through increasingly centralized guidance — essentially checklists — cannot help professionals or clients if it induces fear.

In contrast to actuarial approaches, the other major influence upon child protection risk assessment policies is the findings of child abuse death inquiry reports, whereby policies in relation to child protection were significantly affected by the results of such inquiries based on actions or omissions, as found in one single case Corby et al. There are significant problematic effects of trying to base child protection work and the risks within it upon single incidents, as so often happens after tragedies have occurred.

Risk Classification and Social Welfare

Such responses can mean that the risk factors identified in that particular case have a disproportionate effect upon policies and practice, focusing only on the issues raised in that inquiry, and excluding more important general risks for the population served see e. Butler and Drakeford While there is a need to ensure that social workers and their agencies are acting appropriately and without negligence in their work, the idea that risk can be eliminated is unrealistic and problematic for services, children and frontline workers.

The fear of risk as set out in previous sections has to be confronted by social workers and their agencies in order to improve their services. This recognition can then lead to other, more constructive ways of conceptualizing how social workers and social work agencies deal with risk. In the airline industry, there has been a realization that lessons can be learned from near misses, which has led to new reporting procedures.

Risk Taking and Assessment for Service Users: In-depth | Croner-i

This has not occurred in social work and social care. Bostock et al. If we blame staff for what happens, and make them fearful of reporting difficulties, the reality of the problems can neither be systematically examined, nor action taken to remedy them Kemshall and Pritchard Such a culture of blame is unhelpful for agencies, workers, and clients see Bostock et al. In a report for the independent political think tank, Demos, Cooper et al.

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They propose that politicians and managers have to allow professionals to have greater space within which to make judgements, and for them not to be blamed if a child's abuse is not due to gross neglect of their duties. One key area in relation to fear in child protection work relates to the impact of violent parent service users.

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This appears to have been ignored in policy and procedures. In order to be able to have a more comprehensive and effective assessment of risk in child protection policies, procedures and risk assessment tools, government bodies need to ensure that research and developments in these areas include the reality of the experiences of the workers involved.

Account Options

A vital element of any evidence base is knowledge and consideration of how social workers perceive their world of work and their professional agency within it. Yet this has not been a feature of any statements or assessment of risk in relation to child protection work in any of the government publications or guidance since the Orange Book document Department of Health This is despite the range and depth of evidence demonstrating the extent and the effects of such violence and aggression in social work and social care in general, and serious child abuse situations in particular.

Research by Pahl on stress in workers in social services departments discovered that violence and threats of violence to social workers were one of the major areas of stress and fear for social work and social care staff, and particularly child care and child protection staff see also Smith and Nursten These sets of features are often present in the most severe forms of abuse, including child deaths Department of Health ; Guardian What these studies also demonstrated, along with the findings of Norris , was that a high proportion of incidents of threats and intimidation is not reported by social workers within their agencies.

This means that the extent of the problem, and the precise nature and effects of it, cannot be monitored, evaluated or dealt with. Workers, because of their fears and anxieties, can fail to recognize the threats against them, and might not believe that reporting them would mean that they were supported, or that the matter would be dealt with satisfactorily by their agency — leaving themselves and their child service users at risk Littlechild a , b. This article has examined how risk of harm in child protection work is currently constructed in government documents and child protection agencies.

It has been argued that it is necessary to examine the risks of risk assessments, as the centrally developed risk assessment agenda and its associated tools have probably inadvertently induced fearful perceptions in social workers. This is due to their concerns about the unrealistic expectation that they can, by the use of such tools, eliminate risk. At the same time other risks, such as violence from service users, are ignored in risk assessment tools.

Current formulations of positivistic risk assessment approaches are based upon fears of central government in wishing to try to eliminate risk in areas in which they are seen to have responsibility, such as child protection, by way of controlling guidance and regulation. This then leads to unrealistic expectations of centrally formulated risk assessment within the social work and social care field, while at the same time government has clear expectations that social workers, if only they apply them properly, would be able to avoid child abuse deaths. It has also been argued that there are areas of risks for children which are ignored within official policy and guidance, which have to be confronted in order to protect children in ways which currently formulated positivist approaches of risk assessment tools have not achieved. When we come to consider ways in which we need to take into account knowledge to produce effective policies to reduce risk to children, government needs to include research into how professionals make their decisions and why — otherwise there will always be unintended consequences.

This is necessary to understand the processes which professionals go through, and the pressures and influences on them, while also gaining their commitment to approaches which reflect the reality of the situations they are put into by government policies themselves. In the human sciences, it is dangerous to assume that professionals are not human beings who construct their own worlds, methods of working, views about their employing agencies, and attributions about service users and society.

This then requires the incorporation of knowledge about how professionals can be engaged to produce the desired policy outcomes. In furtherance of this, the work of Ruch examines issues of managerialism, supervision and child protection cultures, and the problems associated with them. Ruch concluded that there is a need to produce a model for the development of policies, procedures and support mechanisms for staff that includes the views and experiences of both service users and professionals to aid the pursuance of policy goals.

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In Practice

Print this page Click to open the social media sharing options Share. Social Protection has been a part of OECD economies for a long time but it has not played much of a role in development work because the imitation of these measures in developing countries is criticized based on equity and efficiency trade-off arguments. Catastrophic vs. These catastrophic events can hit households hard and may require a continuing flow of transfers to the affected household if it cannot acquire sufficient assets. On the other end of the scale are high frequency events with non-severe income effects like transient illness, crop loss, and temporary unemployment.

Protection against these non-catastrophic events need not require long-term net transfers to the afflicted household. If appropriate mechanisms are available, households may use savings or loans with no net transfers from others over time. Idiosyncratic shocks vs. The former are known as idiosyncratic or micro shocks while the latter are referred to as covariant or macro shocks.

Many more mechanisms are available for coping with idiosyncratic shocks than covariant shocks. The latter can be particularly devastating, leaving households with nowhere in the community to turn for relief. For poor and isolated households even idiosyncratic shocks might be difficult to cope with. Single vs. Repeated shocks: A third distinction concerns shocks following one another like drought followed by sickness and death versus shocks that occur as single events. The former are known as repeated shocks and are typically difficult to handle through informal means. The following table lists social risks and their degree of variance varying from idiosyncratic micro , regional covariant meso , to nationwide covariant macro.

These are introduced before a risk occurs to reduce the probability of a down-side risk. Reducing the probability of an adverse risk increases people's expected income and reduces income variance. Both effects increase welfare. Strategies to prevent or reduce the occurrence of income risks have a very broad range varying from small-scale informal arrangements to national economic policies. Examples include:.

Mitigation strategies are also employed before the risk occurs to decrease the potential impact of a future down-side risk. Whereas preventive strategies reduce the probability of the risk occurring, mitigation strategies reduce the potential impact if the risk were to occur.