Friday, 12 June 2020

Dog Walk Thoughts

A few thoughts on RAAs and the postcode lottery that still seems to exist.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Northumbria Police's press release for the CCVAB report.

Here's Northumbria Police's press release for the CCVAB report, worth a read even if it is to look at the comments. They reflect a range of views that so many families come up against again and again. It refreshes the vigour in which we need to raise awareness.

Note to self: Never read the comments.

We want this to influence other forces as well as give the Home Office food for thought, please share wide and far.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Policing Childhood Challenging Violent or Aggressive Behaviour: Responding to Vulnerable Families

So, here it is the Policing Childhood Challenging Violent or Aggressive Behaviour: 
Responding to Vulnerable Families report. You can read the Executive Summary here with the full report being available on the 27th April.

It’s taken some time and right from the off I need to thank Dr Wendy Thorley for all the work that she has done, not only in liaising, organising, chivvying along different folks (mainly me) but in also crunching the data and writing the report up. The report draws on Northumbria Police’s 500+ call outs from parents and carers over a 9 month period in crisis due to the violent and aggressive behaviour of the children in their homes. 

The report builds on what is a steadily growing body of research that considers the underlying issues that impact on children who display extreme aggressive and violent behaviour. For us that culminated in the  2018 Child on Parent Violence and Aggression Survey but in this report we worked in partnership with the police to consider the current interventions they undertake and how to improve them.   

During this process  I’ve been given access to records and though I thought I’d become hardened to the challenges that children and families face I confess to being rendered speechless reading some of the incident reports. Stories of incredibly vulnerable children, their mental ill health, SEND, adversity, trauma, substance misuse and more all playing out in homes across the region. 

I'll not pre empt your reading of the findings, however that the report was written offers me hope for the future of this issue. We measure what matters and this is an issue that matters for many families, for every police call out there are multiple incidents that don't reach the extreme of a 999 call hidden in a veil of silence. There are many untold stories of families struggling under fear of social care intervention, fear of violence, isolation, shame and mental ill health. This report is not the end of the issue but it is another light shining into a dark room of many families lives. 

You can read the summary to the report here 



Friday, 28 February 2020

Where to start

Friend: 'Hi, I know we've not spoke in a while but we're thinking of adopting and thought we'd speak to you............what do you think?'

Me: 'Oh, well where to start'

It's a question that I don't get asked every day but it comes around not too infrequently. I try to offer balance, I try to find out why, I try to present the big picture and the small picture, I try to wrap it up in language that makes sense. I try to summarise my last 20 years in an honest and meaningful reply.

I think it sounds like a scattergun gallop through a thousand thoughts tumbling our of my mouth at a hundred miles an hour, I'm not sure I'm the right person to answer this question.

#YouCanAdopt, yes you can but.......... My days of being an apologist for adoption are over.

I think my answer is laced with a huge dollop of pragmatism, adoption has worked for me, adoption has kind of worked for some of my children. I say kind of because it's offered them something that the other forms of permanency could not and can not offer. It's a sliding scale and it also comes with a knowledge that their views may change but they don't get to re write history or have a say.

I've the nonsensical twitter argument over if adoption is trauma fizzing around trauma still rattling around my head and that's not helping at all. I try to reflect that.
The answer to my friend is complicated and ends up with me asking them to visit specific websites, read this book, listen to this story, think differently. More like a stress test on how serious they are and how this is a landscape in transition. You don't want to be on the wrong bus when it leaves town so to say.


When I record the podcast's with adopters I often ask 'would you adopt again' and all bar one said yes. Maybe that's the wrong question to the wrong person.

The question seems more complicated now. As well as 'would' there's a 'should' and the best I seem to have now is.......it's complicated.

Again more questions than answers.