The aim of the essay is to show an understanding of the value of effective multi-agency working in supporting children and families. It is mentioned in the department of education (2012) that multi – agency working is a way of bringing together practioners from different professions to give additional support to children and family who need it. Because children and their family needs can be very different it is ensured that right professionals are involved in the service provided, which might involve people from social work, health, education, early years, youth work, police and youth justice etc.
When providing support for the children and their families it is important that practioners have an ability to provide a child centred and a holistic approach to contribute to the best support possible. Holistic approach means considering the physical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual development and as well looking at it in a wider context. (FdA Early Childhood Studies 2012a)
Department of Education (2012) mentions Multi-agency working as a generic term and is organised differently in every place, For Example it can be a team of professionals working around particular needs of a child or family, based on an area or just an establishment. The services work together within a unit or with other services and also have regular meetings for improvement of services.
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Multi-agency working provides benefits for children, young people and families because they support in the most efficient way, needs of the children and families are addressed more appropriately because of better quality services.. For example it provides with early identification and intervention, and keeping in mind the holistic needs, it provides better support for parents. Helping children leads to improved achievement in education and better concentration in education.
Worden (1996) states that in situations where a child has lost a parent can be a very hard time for the children, because parents are the most important people in children’s life. This can affect them both physically and emotionally. Penny (2005) states the community based figures on parent’s report of their children, aged five to sixteen who have experienced bereavement of a parent or a sibling is 3.5 %. Parkes (1993) in Machin (2009) implicates that sometimes loss takes place suddenly leaving no time for preparation.
And the impact of loss always exists. Erikson (1980) mentioned in Machin (2009) says that the psychosocial developments occurring across the child’s life p has changes such as losses and gains. The losses cause emotional distress, give grief. It is clear that from his life p theory from birth to death, challenges contribute to personal and social development. To this developmental process relationships or people form an important part of the life p. Littlejohn (2013) refers to Bowlby’s Theory of Attachment (1960) who believed that when the primary carer or the important figure of the child is unavailable, they respond in detachment and also may affect their ability to form caring relationship in life.
Bowlby states that the children go through three stages of separation response: children might show anxiety, Show hopelessness due to the grief and feel detached. Bowlby also mentions that children and adults go through four phases of grieving process. Stage a: Shock, Stage b: Searching, protesting and yearning, Stage c: Anger or depression and Stage d: Accepting and re- adjustment. Parke, Gauvain (2009) mentions that Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979) suggests that whatever happens in the microsystem that is an individual’s experience in one particular setting, which is the family, in the case of children experiencing loss when one of the parent dies, the experience is very direct and the other settings in the microsystem are home, school and church etc.
The mesosystem is the connection and relationships between microsystems, e.g. home/school, and church/family. Thus Bronfenbrenner states that the environment & emotions of the family can have direct effect on the child. (FDA Early Childhood Studies 2012 b). Penny (2005) mentions that Wendy Stainton Roger’s three main ways of determining the best children bereavement services as a ‘needs discourse’, a ‘rights disclourse’ and a ‘quality of life disclourse’. In the ‘needs’ disclourse Worden (1996) cited in Penny (2005) gives two alternative approaches to provide the children’s bereavement service.
One is to wait till the child is showing difficulties with bereavement, which means waiting for the child to show emotional/behavioural distress and then to intervene. Stokes (2004) cited in Penny (2005)argues that this type of intervention could result in some children missing out the service that could be helpful to them. The other method would be to measure the children at risk by using a screening instrument. Stokes again argues that this may not accurately reflect the experience of the family. Thus ‘needs’ disclourse alone cannot be used for child’s bereavement service.
The ‘rights’ disclourse is an approach where the children’s needs must be met. Children’s right in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989) says the children have the rights to be protected from abuse and exploitation, have services to promote their healthy development and participation in decision making .the problem with children’s rights is that it conflicts with needs, and hence require careful balancing. For example where the child’s right to be protected from what an adult considers as harmful for the children.
The ‘quality of life’ discourse is about the best interest of the child, as it meets the ‘needs’ and the ‘rights’ discourse.in this approach the children’s welfare is taken into account with the concerns, values, resources and families and community in which children are brought up. This holistic approach is to support resilience, which is to help children overcome whatever the life challenges they face. Every Child Matters (2003) aim to support the child to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, Make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being.
In this it supports the services for bereaved children and families, which include early intervention and prevention, having support in transition and for the family. The Children’s trust brings together police, health and the voluntary sector, and the other agencies to be involved in community based bereavement services. For example The End of Life Care strategy makes provision for bereavement care, which helps children cope with the death of their close ones.
Children who experience grief are support by services such as Hospice movement which support the dying and the children and the families of those who are experiencing loss. The Winston’s wish in Gloucestershire in 1992 gives a good support to children and families who have a hard time experiencing loss. These services help children through listening, doing activities, which help them talk about their lost loved ones and also form bond with the other family members. Penny (2005) mentions Rolls and Payne (2004) that identified objectives leading to interventions, which are
followed by the children bereavement services and additional training, supervision are often offered.
The interventions offered to children are to help make sense of what has happened and the how they feel; it helps provide a secure environment for exploring, help with expressing feelings, improve communication between family members and help bonding. It helps the children to manage their emotions and feelings, thus help create memories, reduce the feeling of isolated and help move forward in life and have hope for the future. There are two types of service. Restricted and open access. Restricted service is mainly for group children who have experienced bereavement because of particular causes such as life threating illness.
Open access service offer service and support to children and families whatever type and circumstances of death, the only restriction in that would be the age of the child and the area they live in. In this type of service when death is anticipated, information, guidance and support is given to the family and children before and afterwards. I the death is sudden or tragic, additional support is offered may be offered by hospital, police, victim support, social work team etc. If children show difficulties at a late stage, help can be offered through school counsellor, educational psychologist and in extreme situation can be referred to child and adolescent mental health services.
Multi agency team thus improve children and their families’ quality of life and make sure the child bereavement service is available to all children and as professionals it is important to take into account different and changing situations. Professionals work in partnership with the children, their families, the school the child goes to and community the children are from to the best interest of the children.
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