Multi-agency cooperation

Subject: Family
Pages: 7
Word count: 1926
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Introduction

Multi-Agency Collaboration is important in dealing with various situations facing different section especially children and young people (Baker and Sutherland 2009, p. 79).   It is thus important to consider the various stakeholders and ensure that there is coordination in carrying out various assessments to the solutions and integrative working among multiagency. The multiagency working is that of dealing various people and responding to their complex and many needs. The multiagency working usually come aboard when there are clear responsibilities and roles, and an understanding of the various structures and control of workers from other sections that may be from the public or private sections, voluntary organizations, relevant organization and people dealing with support planning especially brokers. Most of the issues revolve around vulnerable populations that include children and young adults. Agencies usually come together to ensure that the issues of such individuals are dealt with accordingly to prevent catastrophic results when no action is taken (Cunnis et al. 2015, p. 30). The paper is going to look into multi-agency working in dealing with child abuse.

Collaboration among Different Agencies

Multi-agency working is quite challenging especially about the daily work of the various agencies dealing with an individual issue. Furthermore, it consumes a lot of time and can lead to conflicts among the people involved. There various issues which need to be addressed to ensure there is not conflict and that a harmonious collaboration takes place (Cheminais 2009, p. 5). Some of the things that contribute to conflict include the different values, protocols, expectations, norms, perspectives, priorities, expectations and budgets among the agencies collaborating. Therefore, when working collaboration, it is important to consider various ways to alleviate such conflicts from occurring. Clients may usually receive contradictory reports, which should be avoided at all costs. Sometimes the contradiction advice given to the affected people may not be deliberate while in other cases it may be.

Multi-agency working can lead to conflict if communication issues are not addressed. Various ways can help prevent conflict among different professionals. Some of the ways are avoiding stereotypes, avoiding hierarchies, concentrating on improving on communication, have an understanding of the roles of each person, being sensitive and avoiding preciousness.  It is, therefore, important for the individuals involves to come up with effective communication strategies and to make sure that the individuals being taken care of regarding problem-solving are handled with great care (O’reilly et al. 2013, p. 214). Multi-agency working has been used over time in many areas to ensure that more decisions are made having undergone extensive analysis by different sides working together.

Some of the ways multiagency has worked is through the formation of laws. Coming together to formulate various laws especially those that are associated with children is crucial. Getting more information that can help in ensuring that the children are taken care of well by the constitution and that their rights are not infringed upon laws have been made using multi-agency working. In the children act of 2004 agencies are required to cooperate to ensure that the rights of children and young people are safeguarded. They have further been involved in the duty to work together to foster the welfare of children (Fraser et al. 2014, 897). Agencies are therefore brought together to contribute to the making of better laws for the children.  Therefore, child abuse is further dealt with by the agencies to ensure that children are safeguarded from abuse. Children are vulnerable to many dangers, and the efficient handling of their situations is necessary. An example is “Every child matters, 2004” which focused on children being healthy, promoting their economic wellbeing, helping them to positively participate in the societal development, and ensuring that they are safe and healthy. The ECM meant that more players had to play various roles such as where intervention and skills were required. Multi-agency working has not been quite effective in dealing with cases of children in the education sector. Children can be saved from abuse mostly from the school setting. At schoolteachers can note various issues affecting children and determine if the child is undergoing abuse. Collaborations have not effectively worked due to the different incidences that have led to such children dying without help (Stanely and Humpreys, 2014, p. 79).

Practice process

The problems affecting the children, in this case, can be ranked as universal, vulnerable, complex and acute. Identification, Referral, and tracking are involved in following up on the various issues affecting the children. The practice process of dealing with the various concerns affecting the children undergoes a process that when not solved at one point it is taken to another step. If the problem is, universal, a single agency can solve it but if its complex another agency can help in solving it (Morrison and Glenny 2012, p. 368). Child abuse can follow the different process to determine the complexity of the matter. As such some of the problems facing the children may not be complex while would require more time especially those of children abuse. There are different types of children abuse which further complexity in the practice process. In the first state of identification, mostly the various professionals look at the child abuse issue. The first stage can start with a single agency worker. The assessment of the problem further helps to determine what solutions the professionals can employ. The multiagency working thus follows assessment, planning, implementation, and review. Time is the primary factor that determines the progress of the process. Time is evident where professionals failed to solve problems that resulted in the death of the children.

Assessment Framework

The assessment framework, in this case, comes in to help in determining the solutions to the problems. The assessment involves identifying the needs at the onset, assessing those needs, delivering the integrated services, and reviewing the process until the issues are settled. An example to note is that of Victoria Climbie who passed away as result of their lacking collaboration among the professionals (Muijs 2011, p. 116). The communication and collaboration were not there, and there the assessment of the problem could not be made effectively. Professional communication in this case according to Climbie’s case could lead to more breakthroughs in the assessment of the needs of children and in gaining progress in the end. Families are usually involved in the process, and therefore the inter-agency should ensure communication channels are strategic to deal with the various problems facing the respective children undergoing abuse.

A case in point to consider about the working of multiagency is that of Daniel Pelka. Pelka was desperate for food as other kids played other games. He ravaged through the dustbin looking for food and ventured into a sand pit where he would get dried beans according to his expectations. He died two days later. He was a very happy boy at first though his change to being a scavenger in the bins among others things resulted from the poor collaboration and communication from the relevant multiagency (Gully 2014, p. 84). The professionals, in this case, were police, teachers, social services and healthcare professionals. Though the parents are constantly being blamed for the passing on of their son, other professionals neglected their duties and contributed indirectly to the death of the child.

The baby was another case in point. The official’s name of baby p was Peter Connolly (Davies and Lebloch 2013, p. 108). He died in 2007 from various injuries through various professional including those from health care and social services came to visit her. Victoria Climbie represents a case of child abuse and neglect. Guardians, in this case, abused the eight-year-old child whose guardians tied her up, beat her with bike chains and used cigarettes to burn part of her body (Pycroft and Gough 2010, p. 123). The judge further ruled on the incompetence of the people who were to safeguard the children’s right.

All these cases represent cases of child abuse. In Daniel Pelka’s cases, the teachers noted abuse, but not much was done even when visits were made to the home, and no action was taken especially after the stepfather broke Pelka’s arm. He was further injured by his step dad and denied food at the same time. Paediatricians were involved in assessing his situation but did not deal with the situation comprehensively even when the parents were to come and meet him. All the children had faced abuses from their parents, and more professionals had knowledge of the situations but did not take the adequate steps in protecting the child. The police did not do much in most of the cases especially that Daniel Pelka who was abused by the stepfather and mother (Warner 2015, p. 87).

The teachers voiced concerns, but the concerned authorities did not take them up. There were communication problems as a result.

Reflection

The reactions, in this case, will follow the Gibbs model. The model deals with six aspects in coming up with a reflection. The six elements revolve on what happened, emotions and feelings in response to what happened. Considering the bad and good section of the response and making sense of a reflection. Another important part would that of the conclusions drawn from the reflection and lastly the changes that can be made in future.

The report presented above on the issues of child abuse is quite disheartening especially when looking at the laxity with which professionals handle situations. Such professionals have been trained, and I thought they would be in a better position to read ahead especially when they see a situation that is potentially threatening. The inter-professional cooperation and collaboration have not been seen especially when considering the lack of communication among the various stakeholders in many cases involving children abuse.

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In my view, children do not have any other protection that which can be provided by the state. The protection of the children though Paramount has not been practiced by the various agencies that should prove it. In noting on the laxity of the parties involved in child protection, it is important to note that the agencies do not coordinate their activities together. Schools are places that involve many stakeholders, and teachers should have been taught about the psychology of their potential students. The working of the professionals in both cases led to the fatalities of the children. Though it irks one when children are treated without compassion, it is important to note that the blame game will not help. I would suggest that considering the negligent actions that have cost lives of children will not help solve the problem, but it is important to focus on enhancing coordination among the different parties involved.

The various conclusions I can draw from the report is that there is poor communication among professional bodies and other parties. Such lack of collaboration is quite evident in the education sector particularly when teachers’ points out a problem, but the relevant parties do nothing about it. The problems escalate into seriousness when it is too late for the different parties to intervene. In dealing with children, it is important to note any issues affecting them and collaborate with other agencies by bringing them into the situation to help solve it. It is, therefore, necessary in light of the various incidences that have happened and that have mostly involved the abuse of children to come up with an efficient communication plan. I believe that improving the communication between the various professionals in schools and the police force; the different agencies will help in averting child abuse cases promptly.

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  1. Baker, K., & Sutherland, A. (2009). Multi-agency public protection arrangements and youth justice. Bristol, UK, Policy Press.
  2. Cheminais, R. (2009). Effective Multi-Agency Partnerships: Putting Every Child Matters into Practice. London, Sage Publications. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=743636.
  3. Curnin, S., Owen, C., Paton, D., Trist, C. and Parsons, D. (2015). Role Clarity, Swift Trust and Multi‐Agency Coordination. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 23(1), pp.29-35.
  4. Davies, L., and Lebloch, E. K. (2013). Communicating with children and their families: responding to need and protection. Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, McGraw-Hill Education, Open University Press. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1336596.
  5. Fraser, J., Sidebotham, P., Frederick, J., Covington, T. and Mitchell, E.A. (2014). Learning from child death review in the USA, England, Australia, and New Zealand. The Lancet, 384(9946), pp.894-903.
  6. Gully, T. (2014). The Critical Years: Early Years Development from Conception to 5. Northwich, Critical Publishing. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1727651.
  7. Morrison, M. and Glenny, G. (2012). Collaborative inter-professional policy and practice: In search of evidence. Journal of Education Policy, 27(3), pp.367-386.
  8. Muijs, D. (2011). Collaboration and networking in education. Dordrecht, Springer. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=666536.
  9. O’reilly, M., Vostanis, P., Taylor, H., Day, C., Street, C. and Wolpert, M. (2013). Service user perspectives of multiagency working: a qualitative study with children with educational and mental health difficulties and their parents. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 18(4), pp.202-209.
  10. Stanley, N. and Humphreys, C. (2014). Multi-agency risk assessment and management for children and families experiencing domestic violence. Children and youth services review, 47, pp.78-85.
  11. Thompson, K. (2013). Multi‐agency information practices in children’s services: the metaphorical ‘jigsaw’and professionals quest for a ‘full’picture. Child & Family Social Work, 18(2), pp.189-197.
  12. Warner, J. (2015). The emotional politics of social work and child protection. Bristol, UK ; Chicago, Policy Press http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1938293.
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