Friday, 5 July 2013

The 'Team (getting) around (their duties to) the child'

Aah, 'multi-agency working',  'joined up working', the 'Team around the Child' etc etc.

It all sounds so good and promises so much. A whole TEAM around YOUR child, dedicated to working together to improve actual, measurable outcomes for them. Fantastic.

I am sure there are many cases where this happens, but, if we don't acknowledge the fact that, for many parents, endless multi-disciplinary meetings lead to little in terms of actual benefit to their child, we deprive them of a voice and credit many children with a benefit they are not actually receiving. 

Here is one parent's story:

"I remember by first multi-agency ‘Team around the Child’ meeting. I was there, humble, hopeful, scared, on the verge of tears, desperate. It sounded wonderful though.  This person was going to 'advise', that person was going to 'refer', another person was going to 'monitor' and another going to 'send your son's case to a 'panel'', and someone else was going to send his case to a 'board'. Yet another person was going to put together a 'programme' and someone else was going to 'assess'. We were going to get 'support' and my son was to get 'therapy'. Someone else was going to 'investigate' the 'opportunities' that our LEA had for children such as my son, and someone else was going to 'liaise' with us.
A couple of months later and I realised that some if not ALL of the above was happening in terms of moving funds and delegating money to people's case-loads, but yet not one single OUTCOME had occurred for my son.
In fact we hardly saw anyone, they were all busy referring, and investigating and writing programmes or whatever. I hung around here a bit complaining and apologising and thinking ' Oh, he's only little, we have lots of time'. But a short while later I realised that it was good as it was ever going to get unless I started to demand better. 

Against my nature, my upbringing and my previously held beliefs I began to challenge the provision and the system and what I began to see shocked me to the core.

There are a lot of busy people, defending their paperwork and their meetings and shuffling money around, perhaps making speeches over Christmas dinner about their virtuousness. They are incredulous at the very idea you challenge their commitment to your child, yet the extent of their role seems to be simply to 'manage' them and their families through the education system for as cheap as possible.

There is no commitment to the role of these children in society as an adult, like there is with non-disabled children."
Too often, parents demanding evidence of outcomes for 'interventions' are seen as 'challenging', 'difficult' or even 'vexatious'. Why? We demand this every day in our school system for every child, in league tables and SATs etc etc. Ofsted demands it: the Government demands it. 

It is the very least our children deserve.

No comments:

Post a Comment