BB is 19 years old and lives in a local authority house in a rural village with few local amenities. The village is not well served with public transport which makes it difficult for BB to access the main town. BB’s sole income is benefit based. BB now has two children, CA who is 15 months old and LA who is 3 months old. BB’s partner, BA (who is 22 years of age) is at present in prison, serving a sentence for Assault to Serious Injury. BA is not expected to return to the family home until October 2010. BA is the natural father to both CA and LA. My role was to complete a Pre-Birth Assessment with regards to convening a Pre-Birth Conference if necessary. This is in line with the local authority’s High Risk Pregnancy Protocol. My role was also to support and work in partnership with BB and her family in the longer term.
The context of my practice was that of a statutory role with statutory responsibilities. Therefore, I had to consider how to support the family by assessing BB’s strengths and pressures as well as promote the welfare of BB’s child and unborn child and in the wider sense to keep the family together. According to Hothersall (2008) these are principles inherent within the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 which themselves derive from broader principles surrounding the rights of the children and the importance of positive development as the basis for a meaningful life. Further to this Healy (2005) points out that within the practice context it is the legal aspect which has precedence over other aspects of practice. This incorporates the fulfilment of legal duties and responsibilities.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995, as mentioned previously, is the underpinning legislation within Children and Families. This legislation with regards to parental responsibilities was I felt, pertinent to this case. For example, the responsibilities of a parent to a child under 16 are set out in Section 1 of this Act. They are to safeguard and promote the health, development and welfare of the child and to provide appropriate direction to the child according to age. These parental responsibilities were important to consider when completing the Pre-Birth Assessment in response to both BB and her partner BA’s capacity to parent. The Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) (Scottish Executive, 2005) policy was also crucial in my assessment. GIRFEC provides a practice model which promotes holistic assessment and planning for children, centred upon indicators of well-being and as a policy is about intervention as early as possible and provision of the right help at the right time. Within GIRFEC is the ‘My World’ assessment model which I used to help me complete the Pre-Birth Assessment particularly in relation to BB’s parenting skills with CA. I also utilised Getting Our Priorities Right (GOPR) – A Guide for Workers in Best Practice (Local Authority Child Protection Web Pages). Underpinning this assessment was Protecting Children and Young People – Framework for