IntroductionThis is a three part essay based on a scenario outlined below

Table of Contents

IntroductionThis is a three part essay based on a scenario (outlined below) of the Simpson family comprised of Ezra (32 years old husband and father) Millie, (24 years old, pregnant mother), Daisy (3 years old) and unborn baby (gestation 26 weeks). Ezra is a mini cab driver, who recently had an accident, suffered a whiplash and has been unable to work for 2 weeks. Millie is a stay at home; she is 26 weeks pregnant and hoping to finish her hairdressing course after giving birth. Daisy is a 3-year-old child in nursery. Recently, the family is having some financial difficulties, which is having a negative effect on them. Daisy shows signs of withdrawal and angry outburst at nursery and an investigation is commenced. This essay critically evaluates how personal and professional values and beliefs can affect and prejudice child protection work. It debates the notion of abuse as a socially constructed phenomena, It demonstrates knowledge of child development behaviour, parenting difficulties, factors that influence child and family behaviour, factors, which may contribute to the prevalence of child abuse and how harm and abuse may become manifest through a child’s behaviour and it critically examines current legislation policies and demonstrates how, when and where appropriate referrals should be made to ensure services protect the welfare of individual children.Corby et al., (2012) identified child abuse as a difficult term to define and addressed child abuse and neglect as socially constructed concepts, which developed as a result of changing cultures and events. However, NSPCC, (2009) defines child abuse as actions of another person that causes harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about neglect, a lack of love, care and attention. Child abuse can be detrimental and can have short and long term effects such as mental health problems like depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, self harm, and suicidal thoughts (NSPCC, 2009; Powell and Uppal, 2012)Part 1 – Protective and Vulnerability FactorsClark et al, (2007) identified protective factors as factors that reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. Some protective factors identified in this case of the Simpson family are, the access to a Health visitor who provides expert advice, support and interventions to families with children in the first years of life (NICE, 2014). Daisy goes to nursery, were she being looked after by nursery nurses who have a duty to safeguard, protect and ensure that children are developing properly and reaching expected milestones for their expected development stages (DfE, 2013). Daisy also has assess to a Speech and Language Therapist who provides treatment, support and care for children with primary speech, language and communication difficulties, or with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties (Department of Health, 2009; Gascoigne, 2012). Ezra’s family is also supportive, however they live far away and can only provide limited support and Millie’s sister does call Millie occasionally which can be very encouraging (Clark et al., 2007), considering the rest of the family do not want to have anything to do with her.Vulnerability, although hard to measure, (Action for Children, 2012) has been identified as essential to identifying risk factors to abuse and preventing poor outcomes for children at risk (Bradford, 2004; Lindon and Webb, 2016).Millie’s pregnancy, unemployment, Ezra’s inability to go t work due to his accident and lack of sufficient money meant that the family did not have any source of regular income as they used to which put them under financial stress. Although stress is not a reason for abuse (Lindon and Webb, 2016), it has been identified as a vulnerability factor because according to research by Wolfe et al. (1985) and Whipple and Webster-Stratton, (1991), poor response to stress plays a crucial role in the manifestation of child abuse and neglect as demonstrated through Daisy’s withdrawal and angry outbursts. Likewise, Financial stress has been identified as a factor that increases a child’s vulnerability to abuse and neglect because it can impair a parent’s ability to meet their child’s basic need such as meeting the child’s health and developmental needs (Department of Health, 2009; Lindon and Webb, 2016; Lucey et al., 2014; NSPCC, 2014). According to Greenland (1987) in Becket (2010), Daisy’s age (3 years old), history of premature birth and developmental delay of speech also makes her vulnerable to abuse and neglect as she may not be able to express herself effectively (Basarab-Howarth, 2009). Millie’s age, pregnancy and lack of family/social support are also vulnerability factors because, Millie is a young mother and was likely 21 years old or less when she had her first child Daisy (Greenland, 1987 in Becket C, 2010; Sturt, 2006) and having a child at a young age has been identified to be one of the risk factors for child abuse and neglect because of the inability of the mother to adapt to motherhood, lack of problem-solving skills and lack of family support (Lindon and Webb, 2016; Powell and Uppal, 2012; Sturt, 2006). Pregnancy can also be a challenging period in the life of a woman (Department of Health, 2009), coupled with financial stress and lack of family/social support can become overwhelming and more stressful for those involved and can be damaging to the unborn development (Roy-Matton et al., 2011).Millie’s family refused to be in contact with her since she married Ezra and various scholars have argued the importance of familial support as a protective factor to prevent child maltreatment (Heller et al., 1999, Conte and Scherman, 1987, Faber and Egeland, 1987). This family lacks familial/social support, which subsequently puts Daisy and her unborn sibling in a vulnerable state and at risk of abuse and neglect as Kotch et al., (1995 and 1997) and Powell and Thompson (1997) found that lack of social support increases the negative impact of stressful life events on families at risk of child abuse (Department of Health, 2009). Daisy’s sudden change in behaviour, which might not necessarily be as a result of abuse or neglect but as a result of the unborn baby, considering that Daisy has been the only child for time; might also be indicators of neglect considering Daisy’s parents are under some financial stress, which might be impacting on their ability to effectively care for her (Lindon and Webb, 2016; Lucey et al., 2014; NSPCC, 2014); a vigilant and concerned practitioner is expected to document (HM Government, 2015b) and report concerns according to the setting’s safeguarding and local policy (HM Government, 2015a). In the same way, following Daisy’s parents’ disclosure that there has been increased tension in the home as a result of their financial situation, it is clear that a holistic assessment is necessary to determine the needs of this family and how they can be supported because according to the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC, 2009), early identification of needs leads to early intervention which minimises the risk of abuse and neglect. The use of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) will be relevant in this instance as it provides for multi-agency working and a holistic approach to the needs of Daisy, her unborn sibling and parents (CWCD, 2009).PART 2 – Escalating ConcernsOn the Health Visitor’s visit to the Simpson’s home, the house was untidy, there were piled up clothes and toys on the chairs and the kitchen was full of dirty dishes. Ezra is not helping around the house and has turned to alcohol, which he claims helps with his neck pain and to sleep, however, this stops him from taking Daisy to school and creates tension between the parents. Millie is constantly unwell with her pregnancy, frustrated and has been physically abusive towards Ezra in the presence of Daisy who saw it all and according to The Children Act 1989 section 31(9), witnessing the abuse of another person can be harmful to Daisy and can cause health and development impairment, which is a cause for concern (Basarab-Howarth, 2009). The Health Visitor is uniquely placed to identify the needs of individual children, parents and families (including safeguarding needs) and refer or direct them to existing local services, thereby promoting early intervention (Department of Health, 2009; NICE, 2014). The Health visitor will need to use the universal CAF to assess the needs of Daisy and her unborn sibling at this early stage and work with the Daisy and her parents, alongside other practitioners and agencies, to meet those needs (CWCD, 2009). During this assessment, the Health visitor will be assessing the parenting capacity of Ezra and Millie, child development needs of Daisy and her unborn sibling and the wider family and environment factors (Department of Health, 2009; HM Government, 2015a). Millie’s illness puts the baby at risk of not receiving the health nutrients the foetus needs to grow properly (Roy-Matton et al., 2011), negative emotions of a pregnant mother have also been known to affect the foetus in negative ways and