All names mentioned in this work study have been changed in order to protect the confidentiality of those involved.
This summary will be divided up into three broad areas:
1. The reason for my intervention, which includes the context of the subject referred and the legislative framework used.
2. A summary of my interventions incorporating the theoretical concepts
3. The conclusion, which includes a reflection on the outcomes, both in terms of the desired results and a discussion on how I could have done things differently.
Alan is a 13 year old male living on a council estate in a suburb of Greater Manchester. He lives with his mother, father, and three siblings. The estate is showing signs of general building deterioration and poor upkeep by the local authority; most of the properties are empty and boarded up.
Alan and his younger brother are currently subject to a stringent Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) (s.1; 1A of the Criminal Disorder Act 1998 as amended by s.61 (2) Police Reform Act 2002). Alan’s parents both are heavily dependent on alcohol and only as recently as March was all the children taken off the Act-Risk Register.
The reason for my involvement with Alan was after numerous breaches of the ASBO conditions he was sentenced to an 8 month Detention and Training Order (DTO)under (s.100(2)(a) Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000). As a result of this Alan was eligible for the ISSP programme as part of his DTO Licence Conditions.
ISSP is the most rigorous, non-custodial intervention available for young offenders. As its name suggests it combines ‘unprecedented levels of community based surveillance with a comprehensive and sustained focus on tackling the factors that contribute to the young persons offending behaviour’ states The Youth Justice Board 2002.
ISSP is usually for 6 months contained within an existing order and is divided into two periods of high and low intensity.
* High Intensity; The first 3 months of the order contains a high period of about 25hours of contact with the YOT and partner agencies in order to occupy the young offender’s time. It also contains a night time curfew and a monitoring tag in order to prevent offending.
* Low Intensity; the later period of 3 months constitutes a much lower intensity of content, a minimum of 5 hours per week. At this stage the Tag is removed.
(Youth Justice Board 2002)
There are variances to the scheme and can be adapted for Bail and on release from custody as part of a Detention and Training Order (DTO). In relation to Alan it was agreed he would be on High intensity for 1 month and Low intensity for 1 month in order to help him adjust and provide support on leaving custody.
There is no specific legislative order for ISSP but it is contained within the existing framework. For example S41 – 42 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (CDA) created the YOT’s which administer youth justice. YOT’s are multi disciplinary teams created by, consisting of representatives from Probation, Police, Social Work, Education, Health and other specialist agencies in an attempt to redress the fragmented approach to youth justice that existed before hand, (Home Office 1998). ISSP form part of the existing Supervision Order (SO) or a Community Rehabilitation Order which were enacted by s63-64 and s41 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 respectively. The tagging and monitoring powers are constituted under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, (Youth Justice Board, 2001).
Having offered a brief snap shot of the legislative framework used in response to Alan’s offending the second part of this section will seek to understand his actions. According to Devlin (1995), many of the risk pointers to offending in youngsters are present in his life. Alan struggles with literacy and truants from school on a regular basis. Alan lives in a dysfunctional family living in poverty and he associates with offending peers which means that societal ‘norms’ are reversed such as delayed gratification and respect for private property. This process is referred to as ‘Reaction Formation’ (Cohen 1955).
Having presented the legal framework involved in dealing with Alan and some of the possible theories to explain why Alan may have offended, this section will discuss the rational for choosing Crisis Intervention as an intervention. According to the Collins English Dictionary (1995) the English word ‘crises’ come from the Greek ‘Krises’ meaning decisions. Other definitions take crisis to mean a fight back, a challenge or opportunity. Horner 1997 suggests that ‘he prefers to see crisis as an imbalance or more strictly disequilibrium’.
As my intervention with Alan was to be short ( eight weeks) I decided that Crisis Intervention would be the most appropriate intervention, indeed Coulshed 1993 states that ‘one important thing to remember is that crisis are self-limiting , they have a beginning middle and an end, this period lasts for up to six weeks’. I foresaw my involvement with Alan as supportive role, assisting him with the transition from custody to adapting back into his community.
My initial assessments with Alan took place at his custodial establishment and we discussed what he perceived to be factors contributing to his incarceration. I employed many elements of the Exchange Model of assessment. The ‘exchange model’ takes the premises that the client is expert rather then the ‘Questioning Model’ which identifies the professional as expert. Through extensive use of Alan’s narration it empowers him to take greater control underpinning the voluntary nature of the process (Beresford & Turner1997).
It became clear that Alan had huge underlying problems; such as his family and in particular his mothers alcoholism, truanting from school, his relationship with his peers, an inability to form any structured use of his leisure time and no real sense of any recognised goals.
Before Alan was released I met with his family on a number of occasions to discuss the sessions I had with Alan and the plans I was drawing up to assist both Alan and his family on his release from custody. During these visits I would always follow the parental agenda, encouraging, listening and attempting to create an atmosphere free of fear and anxiety. I was conscious to promote parental rights as well as responsibilities because through my experience parental participation is of vital importance during the decision making, planning and implementing the intervention.
I, Alan and his family agreed that the intervention would address the following problems;
* Alan would be placed on a curfew from 7pm-7am for the first four weeks of his release.
* Alan would attend school on a daily basis.
* Alan would continue to meet with the Positive Activities Worker (PAYP) from the YOT.
* Alan would meet with me twice weekly for the first four weeks.
* Alan would be referred to Early Break for alcohol and drugs education.
* Family support would be provided through weekly home visits.
On the day of his release I collected Alan and escorted him to his parent’s home. On arriving there it was apparent that was some form of celebration was taking place, I felt a it was inappropriate and unsuitable for a child of thirteen to be left with a group of adults who were drinking (to some excess) at 11.30 in the morning. Iwaniec 1997 states that ‘parents are often unsure of what is regarded as appropriate behaviour for a child’s age’.
When I returned to work on the Monday morning I discovered that when Securicor had gone around to fit Alan’s tag they had been verbally abused and threatened with physical violence if they attempted to fit the tag onto Alan. On speaking to Securicor they informed me that Alan’s father had been the main instigator and they would not be attempting to fit the tag again. This left me in a quandary as part of Alan’s DTO licence it was imperative that he was tagged as part of his early release from custody, failing this he would be returned to custody.
After much consultation with both Securicor and my manager all agreed that Alan should not be punished because of his father actions. I managed to persuade all parties that if I was able to negotiate with Alan’s family then another attempt at fitting the tag would go ahead. On visiting the house it was obvious that Alan’s father was extremely remorseful for his actions. However I had to emphasis the gravity of their actions and the possible consequences for Alan. Iwaniec 1997 suggests that ‘in some instances parental attitudes and beliefs have to be challenged and properly addressed, but in a way which will facilitate positive change. In my presence Securicor fitted Alan’s tag later that day.
During the next three weeks everything appeared to be running smoothly. After a pre-placement meeting Alan was attending school on a part time basis although he had been described as difficult and challenging. He was meeting with his PAYP worker and attending appointments at the YOT with myself. I did notice that on a couple of my home visits that there appeared to be a lot of adults turning up at the house armed with alcohol. I also began to notice a change in Alan’s behaviour, his general hygiene was slipping, he was low in mood and complained about his home life; in particular his mother’s constant drinking, and said that he always felt tired. I began to get suspicious that Alan was clinically depressed.
After consultation with a colleague I referred Alan to the Health Worker within the YOT.
After Alan had missed an appointment at the YOT with myself I received a phone call from his dad asking me to visit the house, when I got there he asked for me Alan and himself to go for a coffee so he could ‘tell what was really going on at home’. It transpired that the mother was drinking from the moment she woke and continued for the rest of the day, she had not been sober since Alan had been discharged. Alan said that this was why he was behaving as he was at school as he was thinking about what was going on at home. Father explained that he had had enough and was planning on leaving the family home. I said that I would try and speak to mum and let her know what the effects of her drinking were having on the family.
After speaking to mum it became clear that she recognised that she had a problem but said that she would refuse admission to a Detox clinic, choosing to start drinking in the evening as the solution to there problems. According to Prochaska and Diclemente 1986 I would suggest regarding her addiction, mother is in the contemplation phase of the cycle of change.
After the deterioration of not only Alan’s situation but also considering the welfare of the other siblings I decided to telephone the family social worker and arrange a professionals meeting to try and rectify some of the problems.
Having established the interventions this paper will conclude my reflections on the outcome and what I may have done differently.
When the professional meeting took place both mother and father failed to attend. However an uncle did, he appeared to have the interests of the child first. Another positive to come out of the meeting was the fact that the social worker would start making visits to the house on a regular basis as he failed to see any of the difficulties I had raised.
I feel that because the problems within the family were so endemic that my involvement for a period of eight weeks would do little to facilitate change and a more in-depth intervention would be appropriate. Families do not operate within a vacuum; it belongs to a certain community, culture and social structure that influence behaviour attitudes, customs and beliefs. Dubowitz (1993) states that ‘if the family and societal systems are deficient in promoting sensitive and adequate nurturing, then the child is exposed to hardship and maltreatment’.
Beresford P and Turner M (1997) It’s Our Welfare: Report of the Citizen’ Commission on the Future of Welfare, London: National Institute of Social Work.
Cohen, A (1955) Delinquent Boys: The culture of the Gang. Chicago Free Press.
Coulshed V (1993) Social Work Practice 2nd Ed. Hampshire, Macmillan Press.
Devlin A (1995): Criminal Classes. Winchester, Waterside Press.
Dubowitz A (1993) A conceptual definition of child neglect. Criminal Justice and Behaviour
Home Office (1998) Youth Justice – The Statutory Principle Aim of Preventing Offending by Children and Young People. London. Home Office.
Horner N (1997) Using Theories in Social Work. Open Learning Foundation Enterprises Ltd.
Iwaniec D (1997) Competences in Social Work Practice. A Practical Guide for Professionals. London, Kingsley Publishers.
Youth Justice Board (2001): Good Practice Guidelines for Restorative Work with Victims and Young Offenders. February 2001. Published by the Youth Justice Board.
Youth Justice Board (2002): National Standards for Youth Justice. London. Published by the Youth Justice Board.
1: COMMUNICATE AND ENGAGE
1a: Form and develop working relationships with children, adults families, carers and/or groups.
I developed a positive relationship with Alan through Pro-social modelling, i.e. turning up for appointments on time and encouraging him of his progress through praise.
1b: Communicate and engage with people in communities and seek to minimise factors which cause risks and need.
I communicated with Alan prior to him being released from custody in an attempt to reduce the criminogenic needs which contributed to him offending.
1c: Network and form effective working relationships with and between individuals, agencies, community resources, volunteers and other professionals.
I networked between the education welfare officer, school and the custodial establishment to attain Alan’s progress whilst in custody. This assisted in the transition of Alan going back into school.
2: PROMOTE AND ENABLE
2a: Promote the rights of children and adults at risk or in need in the community.
During the professionals meeting I spoke of the way Alan had described his feelings and his experiences since coming home.
2b: Provide information and advice to individuals, families and or groups.
When I spoke to Alan’s mum about how he was feeling I explained to her that he had initially refused his early release. I did this in an attempt to portray the way Alan felt about his home life and in particular his mothers drinking.
2c: Provide opportunities for learning and development to enable children and adults to function and participate.
During my sessions I would use cognitive methods and motivational interviewing in a hope that I would allow Alan to see more appropriate way of behaving in certain situations
2d: Enable people to use their own strength and expertise to meet responsibilities, secure rights and achieve change.
I encouraged Alan to tell his mother how he was feeling because of her constant drinking. I thought this would provide him with an opportunity to change the way in which the family functioned.
3: ASSESS AND PLAN
3a: Work in partnership to assess and review peoples’ needs, rights, risks, strengths, responsibilities and resources.
During weekly reviews I would discuss with Alan how he felt the programme was progressing and see if there were any problems that needed to be rectified. I would also discuss these matters with his family and the school and other agencies involved.
3b: Work in partnership to identify and analyse risk or harm, abuse or failure to protect.
I attended a meeting at school; I and the Head Teacher had noticed deterioration in Alan’s behaviour and general demeanour. We spoke with Alan about how he was feeling and what were the reasons behind the change in attitude and conduct.
3c: Work in accordance with statutory and legal requirements.
I worked within the guidelines of the ISSP programme by maintaining 25hrs a week contact for the first month and issuing warning letters for not attending appointments.
3d: Work in partnership to negotiate and plan responses to assessed needs, rights, risks, responsibilities, strengths, and resources.
I assisted Alan throughout his order to address the criminogenic factors associated with his offending and thus, reducing the risk he presented to the public by providing support and responding to need when required.
3e: Work in partnership to develop packages of care, support, protection and control.
I worked in partnership with Alan in assisting him to take responsibility for his actions by requesting that he thinks about the consequences of his actions, thereby supporting him in his efforts in remaining out of trouble and using warning letters as a form of external control
4: INTERVENE AND PROVIDE SERVICES
4a: Contribute to the management of packages of care, support, protection and control.
I contributed to Alan’s management of packages of care by providing him with a weekly timetable; this provided a structure for Alan which was absent prior to my involvement.
4b. Contribute to the direct provision of care, support and protection.
I contributed to the direct provision of care by contacting the family social worker and requesting a professional meeting take place due to the events that had taken place since Alan’s release.
4c: Support and sustain children and adults through the process of change.
By supporting him through the initial part of his DTO licence I believe I assisted Alan in the transition of moving back into his community.
4e: Contribute to the control of people who are a risk to themselves or others.
By supporting Alan to take responsibility for his actions I contributed to reducing the chances of Alan re-offending therefore reducing the risk of him causing further harm to other victims or putting additional strain on his relationship with his parents.
5: CONTRIBUTE TO THE WORK OF THE ORGANISATION
5a: Demonstrate the capacity to work as an accountable and effective member of the organisation in which placed.
I demonstrated the capacity to work as an answerable member of the Team by attending team meetings and development days. Sharing both my concerns when appropriate and elements of my practice.
5b: Contribute to the planning, monitoring and control of resources.
By liaising with the various partner agencies, Alan and his family I was able to make changes within the programme as and when the need arose, thus constantly addressing Alan’s need.
5c: Contribute to the evaluation of the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of services.
6: DEVELOP PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE
6a: Use supervision effectively, agree priorities and manage own workload.
I used supervision effectively by discussing the relevant theories to my work summaries and discuss my concerns with each case I was working with.
6b: Exchange, process and report information.
I raised my concerns about Alan’s welfare to both the family social worker and Head Teacher; all of this information was then input onto database at the YOT.
6c: Contribute to the resolution of professional dilemmas and conflicts, balancing rights, needs and perspectives.
After consultation with my manager and Securicor it was agreed that Alan would not be punished for his father’s actions and returned to custody, I re-negotiated the fitting of Alan’s tag.
6d: Respond to unexpected opportunities and problems.
I responded to Alan’s deterioration by requesting that a professional meeting take place to discuss the welfare of the children.
6e: Make decisions.
After speaking to both Alan and his father I took the decision to relay this information to the mother even though it was an extremely uncomfortable position to be in.
6f: Contribute to the maintenance, critical evaluation and development of own professional practice knowledge and values.
By engaging in critical evaluation of my own practice by completing these logs I have demonstrated the maintenance of my own professional development. I have contributed to my own development by learning that when there are a number of professionals involved in the care of one client communication of information is vital and making people accountable for their actions assures tasks are completed.