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Common Approach to Child Protection Across Europe is Needed
Universities across Europe are involved in developing a set of child protection training materials, to be used by social workers in eight different countries.
The need for a common approach to child protection practice throughout Europe has been reinforced due to the mass movement of children across borders. A project for this purpose was first launched in 2015 by Paul Rigby, a social work lecturer at the University of Stirling; now, universities across Europe are involved with this project and are developing training materials for child protection services which can then be used in eight different countries.
Rigby explains that although the theory behind European universities’ social work training is generally the same, the practice can often differ, with many eastern European universities’ social work programmes having only started in the early 90’s.
Today, Rigby says that UK social workers are often hesitant to accept assessments conducted by practitioners from overseas, despite the fact there is a lot of good practice to be shared, pointing out that for example, “…the former-Yugoslav countries are well used to working with children traumatised through war and bombing.” He further warned that this reluctance needs to change: “What we’re hoping to move towards is a consistent approach ... we can’t have UK social workers travelling all over Europe repeating assessments that have been done in other countries.”
With the mass movement of children across European borders looking unlikely to slow down Rigby says, “My concern is that we take a very Anglocentric approach that we’re getting things right and others aren’t, and that isn’t the case. There’s a lot we need to learn from other countries.”
Rigby’s project is set to deliver child protection training in five different modules:
· Assessment and interventions
· Incorporating theory into practice
· Developing practice skills, including good supervision
· Co-production with marginalised children and families
· The application of core values and ethics into practice
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