Putting children and young people first in the family courts


Building collaborative learning and practice improvements through themed webinars

Anthony DouglasWe have embarked upon a programme of webinars for our staff about some of the important issues for children in our work. At the first webinar, 49 staff joined for an intensive discussion about parental alienation, particularly the impact of alienating behaviours by one or both parents or carers on children.

Feedback was that the webinar increased awareness and understanding of the issues, which could be taken back to teams, and that it would have a positive impact on frontline practice. The main points will be incorporated into the development of our guidance for staff.

Why webinars?

The thinking behind the webinars is that an intensive half hour focus on a specific issue is likely to lead to participants being able to apply learning effectively. It is akin to interval training in sport or short coaching sessions in a game about exactly how to play and what is required.

We experience a high level of interest from staff to discuss practice issues and the corresponding policy framework. It makes me wonder if a crowdsourcing approach to developing practice guidance both inside Cafcass and with stakeholders and service users – our ‘experts by experience’ – might have merit in the future. We will probably explore this over the next few months by raising one or two issues for wider engagement and comment in a structured process.

Next month's topic

The next webinar will be on what needs to be in the evidence-base to distinguish between special guardianship or adoption for a child in care who cannot return home. This fits with work we are leading across the sector on producing guidance about the evidence-base needed in a care application based upon emotional abuse or neglect of a child. These are the two fastest rising types of care application.  A lack of clarity about what constitutes a sufficient evidence-base either for removal of a child or for one type of placement over another, is the cause of confusion and avoidable clashes in proceedings – to some extent avoidable with a clearer set of standards.

Written by Chief Executive Anthony Douglas at 21:00


Cafcass said...
Hi Cathryn, our training modules are only available internally to staff on our intranet pages – they are not available on our website. These are not mandatory modules but, as with all our resources for staff, staff are expected to undertake further learning and development in any areas relevant to their practice.
May 8, 2017 10:53
Thank you for your answer. For some further clarity, I know that the ‘Impact of parental conflict’ tool is available online in your resources, but can you detail where online the other resources are available - being: - your training module on ‘High Conflict Child Arrangements Disputes’ - your ‘knowledge bite’ on ‘Coached Children’ - your ‘knowledge bite’ on ‘Post-Separation Control: the impact on the child’ and - your ‘knowledge bite’ on‘Emotional harm’. Can you identify which of these resources are mandatory learning for staff, and which elements are not mandatory, i.e. optional. Many thanks
May 4, 2017 09:51
Cafcass said...
Hi Cathryn, Thanks for your questions. Staff that joined the webinar were given the opportunity to share and discuss their experience of cases featuring alienating behaviours. This included discussion of child impact analysis to set out the evidence base indicating parental alienation. To help practitioners assess indicators of parental alienation we have our ‘Impact of parental conflict’ tool. Our Cafcass Librarian joined the webinar, so she was on hand to suggest research relevant to specific questions that arose during the discussion – however, this was not an exhaustive list. Our practitioners have access to a range of resources and new research on the topic through our library service. We have flagged our ‘off the shelf’ training module on ‘High Conflict Child Arrangements Disputes’, which explores the risk to contact and the key elements in high conflict contact disputes and the impact on children. We also circulate ‘knowledge bites’ to staff on ‘Coached Children’; ‘Post-Separation Control: the impact on the child’ and ‘Emotional harm’ which provide summaries of key issues with references to source materials that can be obtained from the Cafcass Library. Feedback on the webinar was positive, with 96% of participants completing polling questions agreeing or strongly agreeing that it provided learning that would inform their work and that they could take back to their teams.
May 4, 2017 02:40
Regarding the news item - BUILDING COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AND PRACTICE IMPROVEMENTS THROUGH THEMED WEBINARS Can you give some detail on the content of the recent webinar on Parental Alienation. What materials did you use and what research did you reference? What materials did you use especially to recognise the impact of alienating behaviours by parents or carers? What materials did you use especially to recognise what those alienating behaviours might look like, by parents or carers? Can you give some examples of feedback received? Regards
May 3, 2017 01:50



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