Table of Contents
The management and care for children has several deficiencies. These deficiencies have led to numerous concerns among policy makers, researchers, and practitioners due to the poor outcomes. This is mainly in terms of securing wards, education, permanent placement, health, and wellbeing. The government reacted to Munro Report by outlining its intention to work with professionals and to work on children’s needs, experiences, and views. Central regulation should be reduced by the government. Responsibility and trust will be placed on local leaders and professionals in order to bring reforms. A system that will protect children needs to be put in place very soon to secure an effective protection. Hardworking social workers need to be hired to take care of vulnerable children as well as of their families.
This report concentrates on the importance of focusing on children’s experiences. All along, social workers have wished to do this, but bureaucracy, poor ICT systems, and unhelpful timescales make it difficult. Munro proposed a learning culture instead of a blame culture to be developed in child protection. She added that education, capabilities, and the knowledge of social workers should be valued. The government’s positive reaction meant improved understanding and a need for improvement of the child protection system. This should, however, be led by social workers and their employers.
The College of Social Work understands that several challenges must be faced, but it also shows its willingness to support the stakeholders. In order to achieve this, trusts, collaboration, and transparency will be a requirement. Several institutions need to work closely together in order to protect children. The abuse and neglect of children must be reported to the relevant authorities in order to determine the need for social care. Professor Munro argues that the expertise required for the child and family social work comes in three sections. The first one is relationship skills, followed by emotions and reasoning, and the use of evidence. These will help a social worker to form fundamental relationships, which will assist in obtaining the required information. This will further help to understand the problems faced by children and their families. Obtaining evidence is done through the observation, which requires reasoning and understanding of the action of the people whom they are serving (May & Brunsden, 2001, p. 37).
Factors that Influence the Policy
Several factors influence the policy. One of the factors is the lack of trust. Social workers need to establish close relationships with the children that they interact with and one of the most important requirements is that they should be based on trust. Social work agents should maintain social systems, which go against the offenders’ demands. It, however, proves difficult for social workers to establish strong relationships with vulnerable children. Most children disagree with social workers’ actions; hence, they fail to trust them. In fact, they perceive them as people who just want to punish them rather than protect them. Some social workers have admitted to have not played the role of the counselor since children had a poor perception of them. Children often felt that social workers just wanted to take and keep them away from their families.
The other issue is the theories about childhood. Relationships between social workers and young children get affected by beliefs and attitudes that they have towards children. Research findings show that social workers put a lot of emphasis on the child’s completion of the development stages. Therefore, it becomes hard to attach value to the relationship between the practitioners and young children. Social workers have also been known to underestimate the capabilities and understanding of young children due to their young age. Therefore, little time gets spent in creating strong relationships with children under their care. This makes children feel as if social workers do not care about them since they participate less and hence understand less (Rainwater, 2009, p. 58).
The above factors and several other factors hinder relationships between social workers and young children. These issues need to be addressed to pave the way to non-bureaucratic but relationship-based interactions between social workers and young children. Personal attitude, for example, can significantly affect these relationships. People need to have a positive attitude towards social workers. On the other hand, social workers must also change their attitude towards young children. This will help to ensure that children get involved actively, hence creating strong relationships. Such relationships are likely to lead to active participation of both parties, which would lead to an increased openness and mutual understanding (Barnard, 2010, p. 56).
Culture provides people with a common understanding, which can help them in their understanding of their own as well as other peoples’ actions. Understanding people’s culture can be beneficial in carrying out social duties like those carried out by social workers. Practitioners and social workers need to understand the language, symbols, values, and norms found in societies and those with whom they relate. In order to establish strong relationships with young children, social workers need to understand the basic rules of social structure. Social structure refers to people’s relationships and interactions in recurrent patterns. People should know their roles, status, and duties allocated to them. Groups, institutions, and societies get valued by sociologists. Social workers must work closely with these social structures.
Functionalism dominated sociology in 1960s. Functionalists say that society comprises of social institutions, which include mass media, schools, churches, families, and political systems. These institutions contribute in a positive way when it comes to maintaining stability in a certain society. Sociologists argue that these institutions are functional to the whole society. Functionalists further suggest that societies aim at ensuring that conflicts do not exist in a society. Societies, therefore, appear relatively and efficiently fair.
The most famous functionalist theorists include Murdock and Parsons among others. Murdock suggested that the nuclear family was a universal institution. Functionalist perspective was further developed when Parsons focused on the nuclear and heterosexual families. However, functionalist theory has received several criticisms from other theorists. People should feel free to either agree or disagree with the criticism since these are just theories. Functionalists have spoken about the importance of nuclear families in the society. They have argued that nuclear families sustain patriarchal or capitalist power structures within the society (Munro & Great Britain. Dept. for Education 2011, p. 28).
Professor Munro became commissioned to conduct a review on child protection in Britain. Her first report focused on a defensive system rather than on the expertise of numerous practitioners. The drivers behind this system included the importance of the welfare and safety of young children and a possible reaction when a child gets killed or harmed. The other issue was the complexity of child protection. A need became pointed out to look at the performance indicators, process and targets instead of the effectiveness and quality of the help offered. The second report focused on the fact that social workers should focus on doing the right things rather than doing things right.
The final report outlined radical cultural changes that would help in providing child protection. Munro recommended a child-centered system. Munro argued that family would be the best set-up to bring up children. However, some balancing should be ensured so that the child gets protected from neglects and abuse. Professionals should work closely with children and their parents in order to create strong relationships. Research revealed that practitioners get placed on bureaucratic burden. This appeared as a deficiency in the existing system. This brings about the standardization of the services offered by social workers and other practitioners; hence, they do not respond to the variety of needs by the children.
Munro Report called for compliance to the learning culture. This would be where the practitioners get the freedom to assess children’s needs in order to provide all the necessary help. Munro recommends early intervention since it leads to minimal suffering by preventing damage. The method can also be cost-effective. Professor Munro recommends local areas to have the flexibility in revising current framework. This will help to reduce bureaucracy, hence empowering practitioners. The report also identifies the difficulty in identifying abuse and neglect. Professionals must have easy access to social work expertise so that it can be determined easily whether a child requires social care (Brinkerhoff, 2002, p. 47).
The above discussion has been on the relationships between social workers and young children. Factors that hinder those relationships have also been discussed. Professionals bring forward several proposals in the field of social work in regard to addressing these challenges. These proposals, however, focus on the organizational and structural issues. These may help in reducing bureaucracy but there is still a need to form quality relationships with young children. Therefore, inter-personal and intra-personal attributes and attitudes must not be ignored since they are crucial. Social workers must cultivate such acts as the responsiveness, responsible insight, commitment, passion, and positivity among others. This will ensure valuable relationships and will help them fulfill their full potential. Munro Report produced a necessary recommendation in child protection and the government responded positively to her report. She recommended that social practitioners need to focus on individual needs of children rather than offer a number of standardized services. She argued that such children needed different attention. Standardizing the services meant that some children failed to get the care they required from social workers. Practitioners should be given the freedom to determine current children’s needs and, therefore, determine the help needed.