Families at Risk of Breakdown

Beacon House (UK)

“If a community values its children, it must cherish their parents” – John Bowlby, 1951

At Beacon House, we are passionate about working with networks who are supporting families at risk of breakdown, where children are identified as being ‘In Need’ or meeting criteria for child protection procedures. We also sometimes work directly with families (or their professional networks) where care proceedings have been initiated, where the parties are open in principle to supporting therapeutic intervention prior to a final hearing. Please note that this sometimes requires an extension to standard timescales, as long as this is safe for the child.

The role that we take is somewhat different from that of an independent expert; we commence every piece of work with an overarching question of “What would need to be put in place for everyone in this family to be safe, and have their needs well met?”

Our work is inspired and shaped by the pioneering writing and research of Dr Patricia Crittenden. Crittenden’s key text, ‘Raising Parents’, shines a light on attachment throughout the lifespan, and the impact of parents’ own early years and developmental experiences on their capacity to safely parent their own children.

“Supporting – cherishing – parents is central to caring for their children. Doing so makes emotional sense, functional sense, and economic sense; parents are the only resource that is never cut back. Moreover, they are the architects of society; let’s value all parents and assist those that need help” 

Patricia Crittenden, 2008.

We offer three different pathways for families at risk of breakdown – all with a primary focus of meeting the emotional and psychological needs of the caregiver, and facilitating them to do the same for their children:

  • Case Consultation to the Allocated Social Worker
  • Case Consultation to the Professional Network
  • Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment

Consultation to the Allocated Social Worker

Why choose this?

This option is useful when:

  • There are parts of a family’s situation that are difficult to understand
  • There are multiple significant needs, and it is difficult to know which to prioritise
  • Things feel ‘stuck’, or expected change is not happening
  • It is difficult to accurately assess risk
  • Aspects of the case are having a powerful impact upon the allocated worker

What is involved?

Key background reading is undertaken by the consulting Psychologist (e.g. chronology, PAMS assessment, assessments by other mental health professionals).

The Allocated Social Worker meets with the consulting Psychologist (either at one of our clinics, or the Social Worker’s usual base), and is guided through the process of developing a trauma and attachment informed, psychological formulation of the case.

The Social Worker is supported to connect with the emotional and psychological impact of the case for them, and thus, understand the ‘helping’ attachment relationship more deeply. This understanding is incorporated in to the formulation.

What happens next?

Initial recommendations are shared during the consultation session. Recommendations are likely to include:

  • Attachment and trauma informed strategies for working with the family
  • Priority needs to be addressed (i.e. those most likely to result in timely change)
  • How to sequence interventions
  • How to optimise the attachment relationship between parents and professionals

A written case formulation will be provided by the consulting Psychologist within two weeks of the consultation.

Case Consultation to the Professional Network

Why choose this?

This is a useful option when:

  • A case is complex, with the potential for risk of harm to children or young people is significant, and a number of different agencies are involved
  • There are parts of a case that are difficult to understand, and there is a lack of consensus within the professional network
  • There are multiple significant needs that require the input of a large number of professionals, and it is difficult to know which to prioritise
  • The professional network is not working as effectively together as everyone would like
  • Professionals, and the family, feel stuck and frustrated
  • Aspects of the case are having a powerful impact upon the all of the professionals involved, which may be manifesting as difficulties in relationships between professionals

What is involved?

Key background reading is undertaken by the consulting Psychologist (e.g. chronology, PAMS assessment, assessments by other mental health professionals)

The entire professional network meets with the consulting Psychologist (either at one of our clinics, or a convenient location for the network), and is guided through the process of developing a trauma and attachment informed, psychological formulation of the case.

Considerable time is dedicated to supporting the entire professional network to connect with the emotional and psychological impact of the case for each individual, and the network as a whole. The patterns of survival, defence, attachment, resilience and compassion within the team will be ‘brought to life’ in the room, and the network will be supported to observe these patterns with acceptance, curiosity and respect. This understanding is incorporated into the formulation.

What happens next?

We ask professional networks to approach these consultations with openness, honesty and self-reflection. Therefore, we do not minute or record what is shared.

In the final part of the meeting, the consulting Psychologist will facilitate the network to bring their reflections together in to a clear and concise plan for future working.

Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment

Why choose this?

Empirical evidence tells us that the most powerful way to meet the emotional and psychological needs of a child is to meet the emotional and psychological needs of their caregiver. Creating a safe and secure care environment in the home has more profound and long-lasting impact than any individual therapy provision or even a number of discrete therapies.

Working alongside West Sussex County Council, we have developed a specialism in meeting the therapeutic needs of vulnerable parents. Often, parents come to us with a history of significant adversity, disruption, loss and trauma. They may have been removed from their own birth family. They may have insecure and mistrustful attachments with professional caregivers. They may find it difficult to relate openly to ‘help’, as help may feel threatening, overwhelming, or confusing.

A Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment may be appropriate when there is a recognition that a parent’s own psychological and emotional vulnerabilities are serving to inhibit their capacity to parent their own children in the way that they would want to. We are very happy to work alongside statutory services to proactively engage parents who are anxious, ambivalent or unsure.

What is involved?

We commence all of our assessments with a professional network meeting. It is really important for parents to know that all of the professionals around them are working together in a joined-up way, and that there is an overall commitment to supporting them therapeutically. This meeting happens with the knowledge of the parent, but they would not usually be in attendance. This is an opportunity for professionals to share both their concerns and their hopes.

Following this, we would typically undertake any background reading, and meet with the parent over two to three hours to complete a clinical interview and administer psychological measures. Our aim is to develop a psychological ‘formulation’ of the parent’s difficulties, both as an adult in their own right, and as a parent. This involves developing an understanding of:

  • The parent’s own early years environment, early experiences of care, and developmental experiences.
  • The story of the parent’s key transitional stages (e.g. childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood).
  • Understanding any significant life events, including the experience of becoming a parent.
  • A detailed picture of how difficulty and distress impact upon daily life, including the challenges of parenting.
  • The factors that seem to make things worse, or stop them from getting better.
  • How the parent experiences ‘help’, in the context of their own attachment pattern, and how they relate to professional caregivers.
  • The parent’s strengths, resources, skills and qualities.

All of this information is then brought together, underpinned by psychological theory and research evidence. We draw upon this understanding to generate our therapeutic recommendations for the parent.

What happens next?

Our assessment letter will be ready within three weeks of the last assessment appointment. This letter will include our formulation, and detailed recommendations for the type of therapeutic intervention that we think would be most helpful. We will invite the parent and allocated Social Worker to come back to meet with us face-to-face, to share our formulation and therapeutic recommendations. We usually conduct this meeting in two parts, allowing the parent to be the first person that our feedback is shared with.

Where therapeutic intervention is recommended, a phased programme will be devised, allowing the commissioning service to regularly review progress before commissioning the next phase. Please see ‘How will progress be reviewed?’

The psychological interventions that we use with vulnerable parents include:

  • Cognitive Analytic Therapy
  • Comprehensive Resource Model
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing
  • Integrative Psychotherapy
  • Internal Family Systems Therapy
  • Mentalization Based Treatment
  • Schema Therapy
  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

If, as part of a Parental Therapeutic Needs Assessment, it becomes clear that the parent-child relationship could be further supported by a dyadic intervention, this will form part of our recommendations. Most often, individual intervention with parents will be sequenced to take place before their child is brought into a therapeutic space with them.

How will progress be reviewed?

Therapeutic progress is something which is continually reviewed throughout the intervention. During the feedback and treatment planning meeting with the parent and Social Worker, the intervals for review will be agreed. Review can take the form of a telephone call between therapist and Social Worker, a written report, or a professional’s review meeting.

Alongside this, we have three main ways that we evaluate therapeutic progress:

  1. During the Therapeutic Needs Assessment, the parent will be asked to fill out a number of questionnaires, which will be re-administered at the end of each piece of work.
  2. At the start of the therapeutic intervention, the parent will be asked to identify three therapeutic goals, and scale them to show how well they feel they are achieving those goals. We will review these goals and the scaling at the end of therapy.
  3. At the end of therapy, both parent and referrer will be asked to tell us how satisfied you feel with your experience of coming to Beacon House, and whether you feel the difficulties you have been working on have improved.

How do I make a referral?

You can request a referral form by contacting the clinic on 01444 413939. Alternatively, you can email admin@beaconhouse.org.uk. Please specify which service you are requesting: case consultation, professional network case consultation, or therapeutic needs assessment and your preference of whether the work should take place from our Cuckfield or Chichester clinic. If you are unsure of the right option, please feel free to request a free of charge initial telephone conversation with Dr Laura France, Adult Services Lead, to help you to select the most appropriate service.

Your referral form and supporting documentation will be reviewed by our Adult Services Lead, who will then provide an estimate within three working days. We are usually able to commence work immediately on the receipt of a Purchase Order number. We do not have a waiting list and can usually organise the first appointment within two weeks.

Safeguarding

Our commitment to working therapeutically with parents is rooted in our commitment to the safety, protection and well-being of children. Please see our Safeguarding Policy here.


Getting in Touch

If you have any questions about our services please feel free to pick up the phone to us on 01444 413 939 or send us an email on admin@beaconhouse.org.uk, we welcome informal conversations about whether we are the right service for you. To make a referral please click here.

(Please do not send Post or attend for Therapy)
Registered Name Beacon House Psychological Services Ltd
Registered in England and Wales.
Registered Address AD5 Littlehampton Marina, Ferry Road, Littlehampton BN17 5DS
Registered No: 09205920
Chichester 01243 219 900Cuckfield 01444 413 939Enquiry: Message Us

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RETRIEVED https://beaconhouse.org.uk/specialist-clinics/families-at-risk-of-breakdown/

Snapchat Has Become A ‘Haven For Child Abuse’ With Its ‘Self-Destructing Messages’

20,384 views|May 26, 2019,05:13am EDT


Zak DoffmanContributorCybersecurity

Not a good week for Snapchat. On Thursday, Motherboard reported that “several departments inside social media giant Snap have dedicated tools for accessing user data, and multiple employees have abused their privileged access to spy on Snapchat users.” And now the Sunday Times has published an investigation into allegations that predators are “flocking” to the social media platform, which has become a “haven for child abuse.”

Motherboard’s article cited two former employees who claimed that “multiple Snap employees abused their access to Snapchat user data several years ago.” This included the use of “internal tools that allowed Snap employees to access user data, including in some cases location information, their own saved Snaps and personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses.”

SnapLion, one of the tools referenced in the Motherboard article, was designed to gather information for “valid law enforcement requests. Claims that this tool was involved in the alleged misuse have not been verified.

A Snap spokesperson told me that “any perception that employees might be spying on our community is highly troubling and wholly inaccurate. Protecting privacy is paramount at Snap. We keep very little user data, and we have robust policies and controls to limit internal access to the data we do have, including data within tools designed to support law enforcement. Unauthorized access of any kind is a clear violation of the company’s standards of business conduct and, if detected, results in immediate termination.”

Ironically, it is this limited user data that is central to the Sunday Timesinvestigation. The newspaper’s investigation has uncovered “thousands of reported cases that have involved Snapchat since 2014,” including “pedophiles using the app to elicit indecent images from children and to groom teenagers,” as well as “under-18s spreading child pornography themselves.” This has now resulted in U.K. police “investigating three cases of child exploitation a day linked to the app, [with] messages that self-destruct allowing groomers to avoid detection.”

The Sunday Times quotes Adam Scott Wandt from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York calling Snapchat a “haven” for abusers, arguing that the “self-destruct” nature of Snapchat’s messages “makes it difficult for the police to collect evidence.”

Wandt claims that in this way “Snapchat has distinguished itself as the platform where abuse of children happens… The problem was that adults realized you could do a simple Google search and find out that most Snapchat messages are unrecoverable after 24 hours, even by law enforcement with a warrant.”

The U.K. children’s charity, the NSPCC, rates Snapchat as a high risk, with a spokesperson for the charity explaining that predators intent on grooming children “cast the net wide in the expectation that a small number of children will respond.”

The charity has also warned on self-generated images taken and shared by children themselves. “As soon as that image is shared or screenshotted, the child loses control over it… those images may start on a site like Snapchat, but they could very easily end up circulating among technologically sophisticated offenders, making their way onto the dark web.”

Snap told me that “we care deeply about protecting our community and are sickened by any behavior which involves the abuse of a minor. We work hard to detect, prevent and stop abuse on our platform and encourage everyone – young people, parents and caregivers – to have open conversations about what they’re doing online. We will continue to proactively work with governments, law enforcement and other safety organizations to ensure that Snapchat continues to be a positive and safe environment.”

A similar investigation in March focused on Instagram, with the NSPCC claiming that Facebook’s photo-sharing app has become the leading platform for child grooming in the country. During an 18-month period to September last year, there were more than 5,000 recorded crimes “of sexual communication with a child,” and “a 200% rise in recorded instances in the use of Instagram to target and abuse children.” The charity’s CEO described the figures as “overwhelming evidence that keeping children safe cannot be left to social networks. We cannot wait for the next tragedy before tech companies are made to act.”

This latest investigation makes the same point and comes a little over a month after the U.K. Government published proposals for “tough new measures to ensure the U.K. is the safest place in the world to be online,” claiming these to be the world’s “first online safety laws.” The proposals include an independent regulator with the “powers to take effective enforcement action against companies that have breached their statutory duty of care.” Such enforcement will include “substantial fines” as well as, potentially, the powers “to disrupt the business activities of a non-compliant company… to impose liability on individual members of senior management… and to block non-compliant services.”

The regulation of social media has been in and out of the headlines for most of this year. The prevalence of social media use by under-age children, and the risky interactions those children expose themselves to, has been one of the most disturbing aspects disclosed thus far. Regulation is coming. But the open question is how do the platforms prevent users from deliberately circumventing their security controls with little understanding of the risks they might then face.


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Zak Doffman

I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers—developing advanced surveillance solutions for defence, national security and counter-terrorism. I write about the intersection of geopolitics and cybersecurity, and analyze breaking security and surveillance stories. Contact me at zakd@me.com .


RETRIEVED https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/05/26/snapchats-self-destructing-messages-have-created-a-haven-for-child-abuse/#595142c2399a

International students (part 2)

Not realising how impacting the issue of international students would be, it seems that this is a largely untapped area. Unsurprisingly, as Education appears as a high commodity in Australia’s Budget, through the handling of Students our nation has boundless incentives to be hands-on(😯?). Similar to the frequent defence of ‘no harm intended’, the amounts of information + reasons for foreign speaking Families of suspected CSA surviving Children + Students is quite astounding!

‘Foreign students’ study in Australia

From Victorian Education Dept’s Risk Assessment Template for International Students, the Events or Environments of Highest risk are:

  • Homestay host is not clear on Child Safe requirements and mandatory reporting procedure;
  • Parent of International student not clear on how to report child abuse;

This is where BBC has performed well, as to the the first item – mandatory reporting procedure. Discussions had with the PMSA confirm this, in-addition to easily viewing + Sharing copies of the related PMSA Historical Abuse Redress Policy (PDF). What does cause concern is the ongoing leaps in statistics of BBC’s previous, current and potential enrolments. This is where the second listed ‘Highest risk’ appears, in the items above. Even through discussions with BBC ‘Old Boys’ experiences in foreign countries, it appears that even reported Australian CSA occurrences are not included with other Education systems. This could be compounded in ESL predicaments, as demonstrated by particular interest in views from non-English countries.

Visitors – Jan 20

Of greatest concern, is those Students + their Families who ‘fall between the gaps’. Through providing our factual evidence, our RCbbc Shares the following link to the International Baccalaureate’s ‘Discussing child protection in international schools’ (http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2016/04/14/discussing-child-protection-in-international-schools/). Of particular notes is that the key topics of:

  • Educating educators (including International Police Cert.)
  • Lifting the lid
  • More work needs to be done

Closing off with the Author’s for IB Schools + protecting children:

Larsson’s advice for IB World Schools

  • Research the resources available
  • Attend training
  • Invite experts into your communities

To protect children:

  • Listen to them
  • Support them
  • Believe them
  • Find an expert to immediately investigate – it can be damaging to a child to have them repeat a story over and over again to someone who isn’t trained to do the interview.