The VCF model of advocacy succeeds because it is pro-families and, at the same time, supporting professionals (especially social workers). Thus both family members and professionals are reassured by VCF presence and approach and anxieties are reduced.
An evaluation of VCF cases
This report offers an evaluative overview of VCF casework. Based on a sample of 49 cases, a retrospective study of VCF processes and outcomes was undertaken. The report focuses on addressing five key areas: (1) the characteristics of VCF clients, (2) the reasons families or family members approach VCF, (3) how VCF works with families, (4) referral pathways, and (5) outcomes of the casework
Analysis of the data showed that most VCF clients approach VCF for help and advice when in conflict with statutory organisations, notably Children’s Services and Housing. Clients come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, and conflicts with statutory services are frequently exacerbated by cultural misunderstandings. Clients frequently suffer poverty and difficulties in their environment; they frequently have family conflicts and disruptions. The difficulties faced by these families and the often poor quality of communications with the statutory organisations mean that there is a critical need for VCF to intervene on behalf of families.
VCF has developed a distinctive and robust model for working with these families through aiming to establish dialogue and better communications between clients and statutory services. The overall approach in each case is based on a realistic assessment of the client’s situation, and, depending on the circumstances, the aim of intervention can emphasise advocating for the parents/family, containing conflict or mediation. For most clients the processes lead to improved outcomes through improved communication with the local authority and the restoration of dignity, obtaining better resources ameliorating family difficulties, including access to better housing and better relationships between parents and children.
Briggs, S. (2015) Engaging children and families; the role of advocacy within child protection. The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK
Foreword by VCF Co-Founder and Director, Mor Dioum
Other VCF publications:
My Languages Matter; the multilingual outlook for children in care
A Joint White Paper with Mothertongue (February 2015)
Voices from the Front Line; supporting our social workers in the delivery of quality services to children
A Research Paper in partnership with HCL Social Care (July 2014)