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Stirling CPC – Joint Visits

Multi Agency Joint Visit Protocol For Resistant Families

January 2011

Stirling CPC – Joint Visits


Purpose This guidance:1.1

Has been developed by the Child Protection Committee to support professionals working with families who may be uncooperative when a child is subject to child protection registration or where child protection concerns exist.


Will assist staff from all agencies when dealing with families who may be hostile.


Will also support professionals working with families where superficial engagement is thought to be an issue.


Ensures inter agency communication and information sharing where there are difficulties accessing children about whom there may be concerns

Background 2.1

Frontline workers in all agencies, statutory and voluntary, involved in Child Care and Child Protection have become increasingly aware of the difficulties in working with families who do not engage, present as threatening or are unpredictable and with whom there is a requirement to remain involved for the protection of the children.


This guidance should be considered along side Inter Agency Child Protection Guidelines, agency protocols for lone working, management of violence and aggression etc. All Agencies have a responsibility to ensure, as far as is possible, the safety of their staff.


By its very nature, child protection work is very emotive and families can react in a threatening or hostile manner. This has the potential to affect professional decision making and practice.

Principles 3.1

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) states that all children have the right to be protected from abuse, neglect or exploitation. They also have the right to provision of services to promote the child’s survival and development.


Research supports the belief that “closure” of a family, about whom there are child protection concerns, to intervention by outside agencies must be taken seriously. ”Closure” is defined within Beyond Blame, Reder et al(1993) as a tightening of boundaries within the family in order to exclude outside intervention.

January 2011

Stirling CPC – Joint Visits 3.3

Several Serious Case Reviews have mentioned the difficulties of working with aggressive or resistant families e.g. John Radford Report (NSPCC) 2010 which clearly identifies the rights of children in these difficult circumstances.


Issues of confidentiality must not compromise the welfare and protection of children. This includes sharing information with regard to parents/carers who act in a hostile or threatening manner towards workers and whose non-compliance/ non co-operation result in ineffective partnership working to promote the safety and wellbeing of children.


The child must be the focus of activity and their needs are paramount.

Definitions 4.1



Hostile, threatening behaviour – behaviour which may be intimidating physically or emotionally. This behaviour will range from threatening to physical, emotional or verbal aggression. It may include intimidation by use of the Complaints Procedures against staff. Non- compliance /unco-operative behaviour – where parents/carers proactively sabotage all efforts to effect change or they passively disengage. This will cover a wide range of behaviours such as:Passive non compliance with care plans Failure to keep appointments Refusal to allow access to the home and/or child When parents/carers do not co-operate, professionals must ensure they have afforded them every opportunity to understand the concerns and their impact on the child. Ensuring professionals have considered issues of language, disability, culture and basic understanding. Disguised compliance – where parents/carers subversively undermine any work without admitting lack of commitment. An example of this behaviour would be:Agreeing to keep appointments but never actually getting there. Where change occurs it is as a result of input from others not from the parent/carer Where any of these issues are identified assessment of the parents/carers capacity to understand must be made. Assessment of their ability to make changes must also be made.

Assessment 5.1

Child and family records must include information about any incidents where there is risk to the child or professional. Information should be clearly and systematically recorded as per agency guidance.


Professionals must inform their line manager of any concerns they have with regard to parents/carers whom they have assessed as hostile, uncooperative/non compliant or using disguised compliance.

January 2011

Stirling CPC – Joint Visits 5.3

Agency Risk Management procedures should be completed.


Information with regard to parents/carers behaviours together with child protection concerns should form the basis of initial and ongoing assessment. Information about such concerns should be communicated across agencies, using existing mechanisms such as core group meetings, review case conference.



However in circumstances where an existing process is not in place e.g. after an incident involving a parent/carer’s behaviour or where there are welfare concerns which require assessment. A professionals meeting to share information and plan care should be convened.


It will be the responsibility of the Lead Professional and/or their manager to convene the meeting including all relevant professionals from agencies to whom the child and family are known, this should include child and adult services.

Review Meeting/Professional Meeting 6.1

The meeting will focus on the needs of the child considering risks and also parental behaviours. Review meetings:- It is recognised as good practice to be open and transparent in our dealings with families and they should be involved at all stages if possible. However where a family are known to have a dislike/difficulty with a particular agency/person this information should be shared in advance of the meeting and appropriate action should be taken to ensure the safety of that agency representative or person. It may be necessary to hold a Professionals Meeting without the family being present to ensure all agencies can attend and fully participate.


Consideration will be given to :• Information, held by agencies, with regard to the parent/carer such as patterns of behaviour • History of parental alcohol or substance misuse • Any medical condition which may give rise to loss of inhibitions/control • History of relevant mental health issues • High stress levels within the family • Perceived threat to parent/child • History of criminality e.g. violence or disorder or where a parent/carer/cohabitee is a schedule 1 offender. The meeting must also consider:• Factors which may reduce the impact of any of the above considerations • If there is significant risk of harm or danger to the child then urgent action should be taken under Child Protection Procedures. • Staff safety • Lone visits and joint visit should be considered with relevant combinations of workers

January 2011

Stirling CPC – Joint Visits 6.3 • • • •

Outcome:A plan should be developed primarily addressing the needs and protection of the child The plan will be subject to regular inter agency review as a minimum on a monthly basis. Adult Support and Protection Procedures should be considered where relevant Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) should be considered where relevant

Case Management 7.1

Professionals must work within their agency policies and procedures with regard to assessment, care planning, information sharing and recording


Agencies should collectively ensure the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.


There must be clear lines of communication


Supervision of cases should take place as per agency guidelines

January 2011

Child Protection Protocol - visits for resistant families  

Child Protection Protocol - visits for resistant families

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