ISPCAN stands for International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The Bucharest conference (27th-30th September, 2015) brought together over 400 delegates from 52 countries under the banner Children First! Collaborative & Inter-sectorial Responses to Child Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation.
David Bisset represented EQ for the purpose of learning and forming new relationships. Additionally, he gave a presentation to a working group concerned with the issue of child protection systems.
He explained EQ’s findings deriving from work done among service providers providing community-based services for children at risk and their families in the country’s centres of social support. He reported on the close to unanimous disenchantment among those practitioners in the way that services are currently monitored by both the State Agency for Child Protection and the inspectorate of the Agency of Social Assistance. He also outlined the difficulties in moving towards a system that attempts to focus on the impact of services on the life and well-being of users.
EQ believes passionately in the right of skilled practitioners to exercise their practical judgement so that they can be the best that they can be in the circumstances in which they find themselves working with the resources at their disposal. Experience, accumulated expertise and moral judgement should be used in making decisions. This applies to individuals and it applies to organizations that should provide a reflective, learning environment for those individuals. Organizations should define their operational existence with reference to the community they serve as opposed to the institutional framework. An organization that is engaged with the community, understood by the community and accessible to the community is likely to provide high-impact services shaped to fit community needs. This contrasts with the provision of mediocre services shaped by compliance and benchmarked against minimum standards.
EQ believeс in professional accountability and the organizational responsibility to pursue excellence. However, monitoring of professional performance should never, ever involve punitive or coercive action directed at practitioners in an effort to have them deliver quality in an environment in which they find it difficult to exercise professional judgement or use practical wisdom. This is especially true when practitioners have low faith in the models or work practices imposed on them. Those best disposed to tell inspectors what works and what doesn’t work are the practitioners.