The international MAPChiPP project (Multi-disciplinary Assessment and Participation of Children in Child Protection Proceedings: training programme with modules and tool box, international network) is aimed at promoting child protection across disciplines. The project is intended to improve the skills of practical specialists working in various fields (e.g. social and health workers, the police, the justice system) and to promote multi-disciplinary cooperation in procedures relating to children.
Efficiency in social and child protection will result from cooperation between different specialists. In addition to multi-disciplinary cooperation, communication with children and families is also among the challenges posed by professional cooperation. Specialists often lack skills to establish a close and trusting contact with the child and to get the necessary information. Increasing attention is paid to participation and assessment in groups of socially vulnerable children (ethnic minorities, children with a disability, foster-home children), and that will require specialist skills. Many specific skills cannot be acquired through traditional training.
The project focuses on practical workers in different disciplines, who come into contact with children in their work: social and child protection workers, health workers, law professionals, police officers, etc. The results of the project are applicable on the national as well as international level, providing for collaboration between the participants that will reduce the gap between theory and practice of multi-disciplinary cooperation.
The project is being implemented in 2016–2017 by an international team, which includes, in addition to the Estonian Union for Child Welfare, the German Institute for Youth Human Services and Family Law (DIJuF); Netherlands Youth Institute (NJI); Family, Child, Youth Association from Hungary; Child and Family Training (C&FT) from the UK; Central Union for Child Welfare from Finland; Instituto de Apoio à Criança (IAC) from Portugal; and Hope and Homes for Children Romania. The project applies to training providers and policy-makers in all countries that have joined in.
The MAPChiPP project is financed by the European Commission and co-financed by the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Social Affairs through the Estonian Council of the Gambling Tax.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
The MAPChiPP project started in 2016, when domestic needs were charted and preparations were made. In 2017, twelve multi-disciplinary training modules were completed, namely: Framework; Rights and Best Interests; Abuse, Neglect and Development; Information and Documentation; Analysing and Understanding; Planning and Intervention; Communicating with Children; Participation and Decision-Making; Child-Friendly System; Multi-Disciplinarity; Vulnerability and Culture. The modules are intended for network training of specialists who work with children.
Kati Valma (child protection specialist) and Kristjan Kask (senior lecturer at Tallinn University and training provider) were selected nationally to train the trainers in Estonia. In February 2017, they participated in training for MAPChiPP training modules in Budapest, Hungary.
In March 2017, the training modules were piloted, which involved 18 practical workers in total from the fields of child protection, education, justice/police and health. The pilot training was aimed at finding out whether the training modules have been adapted to the Estonian practice and can be used in daily work. Feedback to the training confirmed that representatives from all those fields considered the training to have been most useful for their daily work. A couple of examples follow. A judge: ‘I received important information on what the assessment of a child’s well-being is, what aspects must be assessed and how the information must be gathered and analysed. It is also useful to know with whom and how it is possible and necessary to cooperate for resolving situations concerning a child’s well-being.’ A teacher: ‘A new angle. Thoroughness. Systematic approach.’
In May 2017, a training event was held for 16 trainers from various fields, like law, health, education, child protection etc. Participation was based on the assumption that having completed the training, the trainee will begin to provide training in his or her own field by means of MAPChiPP modules. For example, the first training for lawyers will be provided on 13 October in Tartu.
The website of the MAPChiPP project at www.mapchipp.com offers access (upon registration) to an online toolbox of training materials prepared as part of the project, including presentations, worksheets, videos and much more. By the end of 2017, all materials will be available in more than eight languages. There is also a growing network of international trainers, coordinated by DIJuF, the German partner organisation of MAPChiPP.
On 23 and 24 November, a seminar entitled ‘On the Same Side – On the Child’s Side’ and the annual conference ‘How Are You, Estonian Child? In Cooperation for the Child’ of the Estonian Union for Child Welfare will concentrate on the principles of MAPChiPP and on the input received in the course of the project.
Kiira Gornischeff Helen Saarnik
project manager project assistent
(parental leave) Helen.Saarnik@lastekaitseliit.ee