Working with Highly Resistant Parents

Practical strategies to tackle obstructive behaviour
and disguised compliance

29th May 2012, Central London

Tuesday 29 May 2012


Registration and refreshments


Chair’s opening remarks

Ruth Smith, Editor,

Working to turn around the lives of troubled families - What are the practical solutions

In this session we assess the implications of the Governments efforts to turn around troubled families. Family Intervention Projects is part of a determined drive by the Government to turn around the lives of 120,000 of the country's troubled families. Last month the Prime Minister and Secretary of State Eric Pickles launched the strategy and announced nearly half a billion pounds of funding to help local authorities achieve success. Focusing on the implications of this policy on how practitioners work with highly resistant parents, we highlight key learnings and guidance you can take into the home when carrying out assessments.

Enver Solomon, Policy Director, The Children’s Society

Analysing Risk in Child Protection

  •  Introducing a tried and tested model for risk assessment in these cases
  • Identifying clear pathways to forming professional judgements, making decisions and planning for children
  • Ensuring that risk factors associated with resistant and non-compliant behaviours are clearly identified and integral to the assessment
Vic Tuck, Development Manager, Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board

Working with families who display disguised compliance

  • Analysing the results of the assessment
  • Collaborative working with the family
  • Focusing on the child
  • Understanding the dynamic between yourself and the family
  • Building up a record of behavioural patterns
  • Better team work in a multi-agency approach
  • Planning an intervention on the basis of an assessment
Amy Weir, Safeguarding Specialist and Chair , Coventry Local Safeguarding Children Board

Morning refreshments


Managing hostile situations

  • Dealing with aggressive and intimidating adults
  • Guaranteeing personal safety in home settings
  • Ensuring that motivation is not lost as a result of threatening encounters
Ray Braithwaite, Author and Trainer (Aggression and Stress)

Question and answer session


Identifying indicators of disguised compliance and taking appropriate action to improve outcomes for the child

  • Lessons to be learned from serious case reviews (SCRs)
  • Moving beyond ‘box ticking’ to provide context to your visits and meetings with families
  • Ensuring ‘professional optimism’ and increased workloads do not interfere with judgements on difficult cases
  • The difficulties of assessing levels of risk, particularly in cases of neglect. When enough is enough?
  • Listen to the child and analyse the evidence
Joanna Nicolas, Child Protection Consultant and Trainer

Understanding the psychology of manipulative parents to avoid inadvertently colluding with deception

  • How some parents mislead workers in home visits through passive, covert manipulation
  • Methods to detect deceptive and ‘grooming’ behaviour amongst your clients
  • How organisations can help workers to ascertain when they have been duped
Professor Brian Littlechild, Associate Head of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire

Question and answer session




Identifying and managing risk

  • Assessing risk and decision making to ensure the safety of a child or young person
  • The use of a virtual world in which practitioners can safely reflect on the risks, challenges and complexities faced when 'judgement calls' have to be made
  • Locating the virtual world within a training tool that draws on game technology to help social workers and other practitioners manage situations where parents or carers are resistant, obstructive, deceptive or uncooperative
Jonathan Davies, Senior Lecturer Child Protection and Project Leader Maritime City, University of Greenwich
Ryan Flynn, Principal Lecturer in Games and Multi-Media Technology, School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences, Greenwich University

Where resistance is illness! The impact on parents with mental health problems ability to engage in the child welfare system

  • Recognising where uncooperative or deceitful behaviour may be a result of a parental mental health problem
  • Protecting the rights of children without violating the human rights of parents
  • Ensuring adults with mental health problems are empowered to serve as parents
  • Parental ‘grooming’ of professionals
  • Inter agency communication - preventing or resolving tension between safeguarding children and safeguarding adults departments
Mark Sloman, Mental Health Social Worker and Approved Mental Health Professional, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Question and answer session


Afternoon refreshments


Accepting families’ cultural differences within the framework of the law: Dilemmas outlined and explored

  • Understanding how best to relate to families from diverse cultures
  • Recognising where value judgements can get in the way of your ability to accurately assess parenting
  • Avoiding judging families based on your own cultural norms and assumptions
  • Knowing when it is appropriate to intervene in situations, and where cultural practice should be respected
Perdeep Gill, Independent Safeguarding Advisor and Consultant

Best practice case study

This session will follow a real-life case study where social workers have encountered obstructive and manipulative parents, but through the application of best practice and effective multi-agency working, teams have successfully resolved the issues and improved outcomes for the children concerned.  The studies will cover:

  • The nature of the parents’ lack of cooperation
  • How relevant agencies worked together to counter the resistant behaviour
  • What the outcomes were for the children and families concerned
Ian Vinall, Area Head of Children's Service, Children, Schools and Families Directorate, Surrey County Council

Question and answer session


Chair’s closing remarks and end of conference

The organisers reserve the right to change the programme, speakers or venue should circumstances require.

Agenda will be announced shortly.

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