Complex prevention strategies – working together to help children fulfil their potential
by Simona Chiru – Clinical Psychologist, Service for the Prevention of Child Separation from the Family, DGASPC for district 1, Bucharest
Their methods must respect the law and take into account the family or child’s immediate needs and difficulties. Prevention services often deal with fragile psychological and social situations. Their approach should be pragmatic, but it must always serve the individual and find solutions for families in economic or emotional emergency.
The importance of the framework, the network of professionals, their teamwork and the adjustment of the support to reflect the specific situation, resources and wherewithal of the child in need, plus the family, cultural and religious context, are key elements in understanding the need and taking the right preventive measures.
Prevention professionals must work with individuals, children or adults, in imminent danger. Measures must be taken to safeguard and support these professionals in their work. To this end, a network of specialists in the field – such as social workers, psychologists, doctors, teachers, police officers and priests – has been established. Programmes have been devised to include economic and educational components focused both on the child and the adult.
Community-based programmes implemented by partner education institutions tackle general and specific topics, helping inform and safeguard pupils. Themes include child labour exploitation, child abuse and neglect, human trafficking, internet grooming, facilitating cooperation and friendship by educating pupils about violence, improving family communication and making pupils aware of the harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
As a child’s education starts in the family, parent training groups were set up, to focus mainly on developing parenting skills. These groups look at what it means to be a parent, types of abusive behaviour and its transmission across generations, identifying family roles, the significance of the parents’ relationship on the emotional development of a child, expectations from the child, the stages of a child’s development and related needs, and family planning.
Social workers should receive continuous training to help them use scientific evidence to devise customised strategies. In this way they can help people maximise their potential and develop their skills and knowledge so they can access community resources.
The focus must be the individual potential which exists in each of us, which the specialist should help facilitate. Professionals must serve as lobbyists, as they have direct contact with the beneficiaries of social services, to set in place a system of integrated, coherent, social policies to ensure the necessary resources to prevent social marginalisation.