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P.I.P.P.I. Programme of intervention for prevention of institutionalization. Capturing the evidence of an innovative programme of family support

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In accordance with the aim of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to develop measures reflecting the best interests of the child, the Italian Ministry of Welfare, in association with the University of Padua, sought to design and implement an intensive-care-programme for vulnerable families which was called Programme of Intervention for Prevention of Institutionalization: its abbreviation, P.I.P.P.I is inspired by the fictional character Pippi Longstocking, a creative and amazingly resilient girl known all over the world. The first stage of the programme’s implementation was carried out over a two year period (2011-2012) in 10 Italian cities. As its name implies, the P.I.P.P.I. aims to prevent out-of-home placement and to respond to problems linked to child neglect in view of all children’s right to quality care. The activities provided by the P.I.P.P.I. were continuously monitored using a pre- and post-test design incorporating both quantitative and qualitative approaches (questionnaire and documentation analysis). This manuscript outlines the results of that experience and goes on to draw implications for future policy and practice. The results underline the importance of multidimensional assessments and interventions, the usefulness of shared tools to activate shared and multi-professional decision-making and the potentially valuable contribution of families and children to service planning.
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Revista de cercetare [i interven]ie social\
ISSN: 1583-3410 (print), ISSN: 1584-5397 (electronic)
Selected by coverage in Social Sciences Citation Index, ISI databases
P.I.P.P.I. PROGRAMME OF INTERVENTION FOR PREVENTION
OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION. CAPTURING THE EVIDENCE
OF AN INNOVATIVE PROGRAMME OF FAMILY SUPPORT
Sara SERBATI, Marco IUS, Paola MILANI
Revista de cercetare [i interven]ie social\, 2016, vol. 52, pp. 26-50
The online version of this article can be found at:
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
P.I.P.P.I. Programme of Intervention for
Prevention of Institutionalization.
Capturing the Evidence of an Innovative
Programme of Family Support
Sara SERBATI1, Marco IUS2, Paola MILANI3
Abstract
In accordance with the aim of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to
develop measures reflecting the best interests of the child, the Italian Ministry of
Welfare, in association with the University of Padua, sought to design and im-
plement an intensive-care-programme for vulnerable families which was called
Programme of Intervention for Prevention of Institutionalization: its abbreviation,
P.I.P.P.I is inspired by the fictional character Pippi Longstocking, a creative and
amazingly resilient girl known all over the world. The first stage of the pro-
gramme’s implementation was carried out over a two year period (2011-2012) in
10 Italian cities. As its name implies, the P.I.P.P.I. aims to prevent out-of-home
placement and to respond to problems linked to child neglect in view of all
children’s right to quality care. The activities provided by the P.I.P.P.I. were
continuously monitored using a pre- and post-test design incorporating both
quantitative and qualitative approaches (questionnaire and documentation ana-
lysis). This manuscript outlines the results of that experience and goes on to draw
implications for future policy and practice. The results underline the importance
of multidimensional assessments and interventions, the usefulness of shared tools
to activate shared and multi-professional decision-making and the potentially
valuable contribution of families and children to service planning.
Keywords: child-neglect, poor parenting, evaluation, intensive care programme
,
vulnerable families, family support.
1 University of Padua, Lab of Research and Intervention in Family Education, Department of
Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology, Padua, ITALY. E-mail: sara.serbati-
@unipd.it (corresponding author)
2 University of Padua, Lab of Research and Intervention in Family Education, Department of
Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology, Padua, ITALY. E-mail: marco.ius-
@unipd.it
3 University of Padua, Lab of Research and Intervention in Family Education, Department of
Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology, Padua, ITALY. E-mail: paola.
milani@unipd.it
Working together
www.rcis.ro
27
Introduction
After the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC in
1989), an international movement was born in order to reform Child Welfare and
Protection Systems arose worldwide aiming to preserve the dignity and har-
monious development of children and to assist vulnerable families by developing
and implementing measures and policies reflecting the child’s best interests. This
international movement, which aimed, in short, to create a “world fit for children,”
moved forward hand in hand with another transformation leading to a perfor-
mance-based culture within the public sector seeking to ensure access to quality
service. In Europe (EU), the reform movement has been reflected in many pieces
of legislation guiding Member States to design and implement policies addressing
child poverty and social exclusion and promoting children’s well-being.
Policies and debates at the EU level have been defined by a concern about
child poverty and vulnerability and by the commitment to improve family and
parenting-related services. The Council of Europe has been implementing re-
commendations explicitly focusing on parenting and children’s rights since the
1980s (Daly 2014). The key initiative on the part of the EU Council concerning
parenting and education was adoption of the Recommendation Rec (2006)19
which supports positive parenting. The recommendation defines positive pa-
renting as “parental behaviour based on the best interest of the child that is
nurturing, empowering, non-violent and provides recognition and guidance which
involves setting of boundaries to enable the full development of the child.” The
recommendation aims to make member states aware of the importance of pro-
viding parents with sufficient support mechanisms to meet their important res-
ponsibilities and of creating the best conditions for positive parenting (Daly 2013;
European Commission 2011). In accordance with Nobel Prize laureate J. Heckman
(2013) who has highlighted the importance of investing in children, the positive
parenting approach seeks to guarantee that all children can enjoy their childhood
so as to prevent another generation from growing up with the same barriers
existing in their parents’ lives thus breaking the cycle of social disadvantage.
Over the last two decades, government policy regarding family based services
has increased throughout Europe and also at an international level. In the United
States, passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) spurred the de-
velopment and expansion of family preservation services and community-based
initiatives providing family support (Chaffin et al. 2001). Initiatives in the UK
such as Sure Start and the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and
Their Families, which prioritise principles of partnership with parents, reflect the
government’s commitment to family preservation (DoH 2000; Tunstill & Aldgate
2000). In France, after the law reforming child protection was passed in 2007,
“the predominant type of intervention decided is open-settings (in-home) family
support” (Bolter & Eon 2014, 4). In Italy, EU’s recommendations have been
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
reflected in the passage of several important laws (L.149/2001; L.285/1997;
L.328/2000; L.154/2001).
Despite these important steps, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
(2011, point 36) observed: “While welcoming the progress in adopting the first
National Plan for the Family and various measures, […], the Committee is con-
cerned that these are primarily of a monetary nature and do not address the needs
of parents to increase their parenting capacities, through learning about the de-
velopmental needs of their children and the optimal ways of raising and dis-
ciplining them”.
In Italy, specifically, the relationship between legal action and effective mea-
sures on the part of the child protection system is not entirely clear. The problem
in this particular country is not the absence of legislation, but rather the absence
of measures implementing them. In 2005 the federalist reform assigned social
policies to the exclusive competence of regional and local authorities. The lack of
resources, a bureaucratic culture, different standards of professional training and
differences in local needs and requirements have produced a miscellaneous context
which, despite areas of excellence, is characterized by gaps and inequities.
In the effort to comply with EU recommendations and to test new approaches
to assisting family situations, in collaboration with the University of Padua, the
Italian Ministry of Welfare set out to implement an innovative intervention stra-
tegy to prevent out-of-home child placement and to test approaches to strengthen
families in the effort to reduce child neglect. The intensive-care-programme for
vulnerable families was called Programme of Intervention for Prevention of
Institutionalization: its abbreviation, P.I.P.P.I., stands for Programme of Inter-
vention for Prevention of Institutionalization, inspired by the fictional character
Pippi Longstocking, a creative and amazingly resilient girl known all over the
world.
The first stage of the programme’s implementation was carried out over a two
year period (2011-2012) in 10 Italian cities (Bari, Bologna, Florence, Genoa,
Milan, Naples, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Turin, and Venice). As its name implies,
the P.I.P.P.I. aims to prevent placement of children outside of their homes and to
respond to problems linked to child neglect in view of all children’s right to
quality care.
This manuscript describes the first phase implementation of the programme,
outlines the results of the experience limited to 10 Italian cities, and goes on to
draw implications for future policy and practice
29
The P.I.P.P.I. intervention
P.I.P.P.I. addresses positive parenting and the full, well-rounded development
of the child by proposing new ways to respond to problems connected to poor-
parenting which can lead to child neglect, defined as a significant deficiency or a
failure to respond to the needs of a child recognized as fundamental on the grounds
of current scientific knowledge (Lacharité 2010; Dubowitz et al. 2005; Gio-
vannoni 1989). Considered as a complex social problem, child neglect, according
to many, should not be defined by focusing solely on the description of parental
behaviour. Lacharité et al. (2006) identified three functional aspects of adults’
behaviour implicated in the characterization of child neglect: 1) the reflexive
function, in which the consequences of their actions on the child are considered;
2) the support function, in which social support teams are established to ensure
continuity in the attention and emotional care devoted to children normally
provided by the adults of their families; 3) the orchestration function, referring to
the concrete organization of the children’s life. In accordance also with the bio-
ecology of human development proposed by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979; 2005),
the P.I.P.P.I. aims to respond to children’s needs with a collective action that is
able to meet the difficulties related to all three of these functions. Table 1 describes
specific activities aiming to address the collective action to respond to child
neglect that the P.I.P.P.I intends to carry out.
Table 1. P.I.P.P.I. activities
Activities Description
Home-care intervention Carried out by home-care workers in collaboration with parents and children, this in-
home activity takes place in the family’s home as part of a shared care plan.
Practitioners meet with the families approximately twice a week for a minimum of at
least four hours a week. The activity does not aim to substitute parents’ efforts, but to
support parenting capacities and parent-child relationships (e.g. in terms of health,
education, care, emotional and cognitive development etc.). Home-care workers
undertake direct interaction with families in order to address their problems and try to
modify their behaviour.
Parents Groups Parents are involved in group activities with other parents, both in connection with
the P.I.P.P.I. programme or to the ordinary services provided by the local Social
Services. Meetings are weekly or bi-weekly and usually last approximately three
hours. Parents groups activities aim at fostering reflective practice, encouraging
exchange and interaction between parents. Going on the presupposition of shared
assessment and care planning, meetings should address the following issues:
the parent-child relationship (emotional warmth, guidance, boundaries, etc.);
the parent as a parent (the individual’s skills at being a parent, decision making and
problem solving, organization of daily life, etc.);
the family environment relationship (family and environmental support, local
resources, etc.);
the relationship with the child (their needs as adults, their history, self-knowledge,
self-esteem, etc.).
Family helpers
Each family is provided with a support family or a family helper whose aim is to
offer support in concrete aspects of daily life. As this intervention is supplied by
volunteers, its frequency and complexity depend on the support family’s and family
helper’s availability and on individual situations. The support family’s and family
helper’s actions aim to reinforce goals identified by care planning strategies (i.e.
learning to use social resources, family support organizations and problem solving in
daily life, encouraging enjoyable activities with children, etc.)
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
The different activities form part of an integrated and shared assessment and
care plan. The child’s and family’s needs are assessed to determine which acti-
vities are relevant to their situation. The frequency and amplitude of activities
involving family members can, thus, be modulated depending on the needs and
evolution of the family’s situation. All people who are important to the child’s
development (parents, teachers, practitioners, other relatives, etc.) are expected to
work together to foster his/her development. Efforts are made to identify the
strengths of the child, the family, and the community that can be built upon, and
the difficulties that require assistance to change. The responsibilities linked to
implementing these activities are shared by those involved in the programme
(Lacharité 2010; Fernandez 2009; Cleaver & Walker 2004). Leaving some aspects
of the programme’s implementation to uncertain factors or to chance makes the
P.I.P.P.I. similar to an ‘open work’ (Eco 1989), that is, in the language of semiotics,
to a shape that creates direction and structure, but is nevertheless open. It is
understood as ‘a social relational practice’ (Abma & Widdershoven 2008) in
which practitioners are co-workers with parents, teachers and other actors in the
effort to foster positive child developmental pathways (Branch et al. 2013).
Study aims and methods
The study analyzes the activities accomplished during the first phase of the
programme which were carried out over a two-year period (January 2011-De-
cember 2012) and involving 206 professionals (social workers, psychologists,
home care workers, neuropsychiatrists) working in 10 Child Protection Services
Agencies located in 10 different Italian cities (Bari, Bologna, Florence, Genoa,
Milan, Naples, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Turin, and Venice).
A pre- post-test quasi experimental design was employed to compare the
families and children referred to the P.I.P.P.I. programme and called here the
Target Families Group (TFG) with the families and children receiving assistance
from mainstream social services agencies and called here the Comparison Families
Group (CFG). Data concerning 169 children (130 families) between 0-14 years of
age of whom 122 (89 families) were referred to the P.I.P.P.I. programme were
collected twice: once at baseline, i.e. at the beginning of the intervention (T0) and
another time at its end (T2) Children were considered eligible for the programme
if the case manager considered them were at risk of placement outside the family.
Activities Description
Cooperation between
schools/families and social
services
The school (kindergarten, nursery, or primary school) that each child attends is
invited to be a full member of the multidisciplinary team working with the family
and to be responsible for its own intervention. Teachers, with the other professionals
involved and the families, outline actions (both individualized and involving the
entire class) that will favor a positive school environment where children can learn
social and emotional competencies.
31
The study utilized a variety of tools to assess baseline situations and problems
and post intervention changes. Our multidimensional model was based on the
British Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families
(FACNF-DoH 2000; DfES 2003), which itself refers to previous experiences
(Serbati et al. 2012) and to other international programmes, particularly in Scot-
land (The Scottish Government 2008) and in the Québec area (Chamberland et al.
2012). The Italian adaptation became a new tool, called the The Child’s World,
that is utilized to assess a child’s condition and needs (usually depicted as a
Triangle, Figure 1, Milani et al. 2011). This tool, whose validation is in progress,
is used by professionals to conduct a comprehensive assessment that is used to
plan the activities that will be carried out and subsequently to document changes
that have taken place. As the original version, the three sides of the triangle
represent the instrument’s three domains: Child’s developmental needs, Parenting
Capacity, Family and Environmental Factors (Figure 1, Table 2). A total of 22
factors, which are described in The Child’s World handbook, are examined.
Figure 1. The Child’s World model
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
Table 2. Domains and factors of The Child’s World (translation in English)
Like the North Carolina Family Assessment Scales (NCFAS) – (Kirk & Reed
2004), the model uses a six-point Lickert-scale (+2 = a clear strength, +1 = a mild
strength, 0 = baseline/adequate; -1 = a slight problem, -2 a moderate problem, -3
to ‘-3 = a serious problem) to define the child’s situation; on its basis the Child’s
World Questionnaire (CWQ) was composed. The decision to use this scale in the
CWQ was based on other studies successfully carried out (Fernandez 2007). Both
the TFG and CFG cohorts took the CWQ.
Aiming to define not only the effectiveness of the interventions, but also the
processes making it effective, the professionals involved the families and other
persons important to the child’s life worked to develop an integrated and shared
assessment and care plan, by choosing the factors in The Child’s World needing
more in-depth information which was gathered from the micro-planning grid
(Serbati & Milani 2013). The latter tool asks questions about the factors listed in
Domains Factors
Health
Physical Development
Communication
Emotional and Behavioural Development
Identity, Self-esteem and Social presentation
Selfcare Skills
Family Relationships
Peer Relationships
Relationship with other significant adult
Understanding, reasoning and problem solving
Participation in learning
Progress and achievement in learning
Child's developmental needs
Aspirations
Basic care
Emotional warmth
Guidance & Boundaries
Play, encouragement and fun
Relationship with school
Parenting Capacity
Family's Background and beliefs
Support from Family, Friends & Other People
Housing, Employment and Income
Family and Environmental Factors
Local Resources and Belonging
33
the CWQ using the following format about each variable (a) WHAT? What does
the Child/family/community need and what resources can they call on; (b) WHY?
What goals are hoped to be achieved through the intervention; (c) HOW? What
actions and activities are expected to be implemented to achieve those goals; (d)
WHO? Who will carry out the actions and be responsible for them; (e) WHEN?
When are the goals be expected to be achieved; and finally, (f) HOW IS IT
GOING? A question that can be asked during the intervention period as well as at
the end of it.
Only the TFG filled out the Micro-planning grid which was used to define the
activities that would be organized for the families participating in the P.I.P.P.I.
programme.
Other tools used in this study besides the CWQ and the micro-planning grid
were two standardized measures: the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
(SDQ, Goodman 1997) and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Su-
pport (MsPSS, Zimet et al. 1988). The SDQ, which was completed by mothers,
fathers, home-care workers and the teachers of the children aged 3 to 14, comprises
25 items identifying behavioural and emotional problems. Normative data for the
Italian population is available (Marzocchi et al. 2002). The MsPSS is a self-report
inventory (using a scale from 1 to 6) that collects information about perceived
social support from family, friends and significant others. It was completed by the
mothers and fathers of the children involved in the programme.
Finally, 2 months after the two-year phase of the P.I.P.P.I. was completed, case
managers were asked to complete a short-checklist in order to verify children’s
situations.
The participating families
The children and families belonging to the TFG and the CFG cohorts were
found to have similar characteristics: they were mainly Italian (91% TFG vs.
97.1% CFG), with both parents (53.3% vs. 50%) or with one of them (41.8% vs.
47.1%); almost all go to school (95.1% vs. 100%) and they range in age from 7 to
14 years (66.4% vs. 74.5%). The educational level and occupational status of
parents suggest they belong to a lower-middle social class, with a prevalence of
primary school qualifications (53.6% vs. 57.6%), high unemployment rates (20%
vs. 16.2%) and a high presence of intermittent employment (10% vs. 13.6%).
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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Results
Data from The Child’s World Questionnaire (CWQ)
The CWQ was completed by professionals involved with children participating
in the P.I.P.P.I. (n=122) and those involved in the CFG (n=47) cohort. The pro-
fessionals answered the questions drawing upon their own observations and upon
data from other reliable sources. A two-day orientation session was conducted by
the research team for the staff of each Child Protection Services Agency parti-
cipating in the study to facilitate consistency in rating. In addition, the research
team organized bimonthly meetings with practitioners in each city to answer any
questions and respond to any uncertainties. The analysis that follows presents the
global ratings on each domain collected at the two time points (Figures 2, 4, 5). It
is easy to identify the greatest problems by comparing the number of moderate
and serious factor problems in each domain (Tables 3, 4, 5). It is important to
avoid making comparisons between domains on the basis of subscale scores
because each domain has a different number of subscales within it.
Family and Environmental Factors
There were multiple items in the Family and Environmental Factors with a
significant percentage of moderate to serious problems in both the TFG and CFG
cohorts (Table 3). The most frequent in the TFG were Housing, Employment and
Income (49%). At T2 this domain remained serious or moderate problems in 42%
of the children. While the CFG cohort showed similar results for the Housing,
Employment and Income factor, it presented more problems in the Support from
Family, Friends & Other People (59%) factor but by T0 only 24% were still in
that situation.
The overall Family and Environmental Factors (Figure 2) at onset in the TFG
cohort showed the highest level of serious problems concerned 23% of the chil-
dren; a total of 51% had, in fact, moderate or serious problems, and only one third
(31%) were functioning at an adequate or better level. The situation at onset was
quite similar for CFG group.
At T2 34% of the TFG children had a moderate or serious problems while 45%
fell in the adequate range. The situation was similar in the CFG group (28% of the
families had a moderate or serious problems, 32% had mild problems and 31%
fell into the adequate range).
The Wilcoxon test uncovered a significant improvement in the overall domain
rating at T2, compared with T0 in both the TFG (p=0.000) and CFG (p=0.045)
groups.
35
Figure 2. Overall Family and Environment T0 and T2
Table 3. Frequency of moderate/serious problems in the Family and Environment
Parenting Capacity
With regard to Parenting Capacity (Table 4) the professionals involved in
activities with TFG children found moderate and serious problems most frequently
in the Guidance & Boundaries (51%) and Basic care (39%) factors. The CFG
group showed a higher incidence of moderate and serious problems in particular
with regard to Emotional warmth (48% vs. 38%) and Family’s Background and
Beliefs (52% vs. 25%).
With regard to overall Parenting Capacity, at onset, over 60% of the TFG
families were rated as having problems including 49% at the moderate or serious
level. At T2 5% of these children were rated by their caseworker as having a
serious problems on the overall parental capacity domain of their parents and 21%
moderate ones (Figure 3). The CFG had a similar situation at onset, but showed
less improvement at T2 (61% continued to have problems at the various levels).
The Wilcoxon tests uncovered that there was a significant improvement from T0
to T2 in the TFG group (p=0.000), but not in the CFG one.
Target Family Group Comparison Family Group
T0 T2 T0 T2
Support from Family, Friends & Other People 39% 30% 59% 24%
Housing, Employment and Income 49% 42% 52% 45%
Local Resources and Belonging 36% 20% 31% 14%
Target Family Group Comparison Family Group
23%
28%
18%
26%
5%
1%
12%
22% 22%
31%
11%
3%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
serious
problem
mode rate
problem
mild
problem
adequate mild
streng th
clear
strength
T0
T2
22%
28%
25%
14%
7%
4%
8%
20%
32% 31%
7%
2%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
serious
problem
moder ate
problem
mild
problem
adequate mild
strength
clear
stren gth
T0
T2
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
Figure 3. Overall Parenting Capacity T0 and T2
Table 4. Frequency of moderate/serious problems in the Parenting Capacity
Child’s Developmental Needs
With regard to the Child’s Developmental Needs domain there were numerous
items with a moderate to serious problems (Table 5). The highest percentages in
the TFG group were Family Relationship (49%), Identity, Self-esteem and Social
Presentation (48%), and Emotional and Behavioural Development (44%). At the
second time point the frequency of serious or moderate problems was lower in all
three factors (respectively 32%, 22%, 30%). In the CFG group Family Relation-
ship was less problematic (34%) with respect to that in the TFG cohort, but there
was a high incidence of moderate/serious problematic situations in the other two
factors (45% and 45% respectively); there was, nevertheless, less improvement
with respect to the TFG group as moderate/serious problems continued to exist in
31% and 38% of the families.
Approximately a third of the TFG children showed moderate/serious problems
in school and learning factors. Approximately 50% of the CFG children had
problematic ratings in Participation in learning and Progress and achievement in
learning (Table 5).
With regard to “overall” Child’s Developmental Needs, one in five of the TFG
children had mild problems and more than one in three had either a moderate or
Target Family Group Comparison Family Group
T0 T2 T0 T2
Basic care 39% 25% 41% 31%
Emotional warmth 38% 25% 48% 21%
Guidance & Bounderies 51% 34% 52% 41%
Play, encouragement and fun 36% 24% 41% 21%
Relationship with school 33% 21% 48% 24%
Family's Background and beliefs 25% 19% 52% 17%
Target Family Group Comparison Family Group
16%
33%
17%
29%
5%
1%
5%
21% 22%
41%
9%
2%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
serious
problem
moderate
problem
mild
problem
adequate mild
strength
clear
strength
T0
T2
20% 19%
25%
18%
9% 9%
10%
23%
28%
23%
10%
5%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
seri ous
problem
moderate
problem
mild
problem
adequate mild
strength
clear
strength
T0
T2
37
serious problem at T0 (Figure 4). At T2, 58% of the families were rated to be
functioning adequately or better on overall Child’s Developmental Needs, com-
pared to 43% at T0. The situation was similar at onset in the CFG families
(although with a higher incidence of serious problem ratings). At T2, 50% of the
children were rated to be functioning adequately or better compared to 41% at
onset.
Considering these ratings as interval measures, Wilcoxon tests indicate that
the changes from T0 to T2 fell in the range of statistical significance (p=0.000) for
TFG, but not for CFG.
Figure 4. Overall Child’s Developmental Needs T0 and T2
Table 5. Frequency of moderate/serious problems in the Child’s Developmental
Needs
Target Family Group Comparison Family Group
16%
21% 20%
35%
5%
3%
5%
15%
23%
43%
11%
4%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
serious
problem
mode rate
problem
mild
problem
adequate mild
strength
clear
strength
T0
T2
26%
11%
22%
26%
6%
9%
8%
18%
24%
35%
10%
5%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
serious
problem
mode rate
problem
mild
problem
adequate mild
strength
clear
streng th
T0
T2
Target Family Group Comparison Family
Group
T0 T2 T0 T2
Health 25% 18% 21% 14%
Being
Healthy
Physical Development 21% 14% 10% 17%
Communication 34% 17% 28% 17%
Emotional and Behavioural
Development
44% 30% 45% 38%
Identity, Self-esteem and Social
presentation
48% 22% 45% 31%
Competence in
everyday life
Self-care Skills 29% 14% 41% 21%
Family Relationship 49% 32% 34% 28%
Peer Relationship 38% 16% 41% 28%
Relation-
ships
Relationship with other significant
adult
30% 11% 34% 17%
Understanding, reasoning and problem
solving
31% 19% 31% 24%
Participation in learning 37% 18% 52% 34%
Progress and achievement in learning 32% 20% 45% 17%
Learning
Aspirations 19% 11% 41% 14%
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
Eight-seven percent of the children in the TFG group had one or more “overall”
domain problems, with 43% showing problems in each of the three domains.
There were high levels of problems affecting children and families in all three
domains (respectively, 66%, 65%, 64%). The situation was less problematic in the
CFG group with an incidence of serious and moderate problems between 36% and
38% in each domain. Despite the large number of problems facing each child
across the different domains, there were also many signs of strengths. For example,
with regard to overall Family and Environment, in the TFG group, 32% of children
were rated in the strength range (adequate to clear strength), compared to 69% in
the problems range (mild to severe), the situation was similar in the CFG, with
25% of children rated in the strength range, and 75% in the problems range. With
regard to Parenting Capacity, the number of TFG children in the problem range
exceeded the number in the strengths range. At T2, 52% of the children were rated
in the functional range (adequate to clear strength) and 48% fell in the mild to
serious problem range. In the CFG group, 52% of children fell in the problem
range, and 48% in the strength range at T2. Child’s Developmental Needs had the
highest number of children in the TFG group fell in the strengths range at T0
(43%) and at T2 (58%). This was true also for the CFG children (41% at T0) but
less improvement was found at T2 as 50% continued to have problems. The CWQ
“overall” ratings were analyzed to identify those families with strength ratings
(adequate to clear strength) and those with problem ratings (mild to serious).
Figure 5 shows the frequency of strength ratings of both groups at T0 and T2.
Figure 5. Children with strength ratings on CWQ “overall” domain items at Time 0
and 2.
The total number of “overall domain strengths” per child was also calculated
at T0 and T2 and the differences were analysed.
- At T0, 63% of TFG children had no areas of strength (57% in the CFG),
compared to 31% for TFG at T2 (for CFG 46%).
Target Family Group Comparison Family Group
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Familyand
Envir onment
ParentingCapacity Ch ild'sNeeds
T0
T2
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Familyand
Enviro nment
ParentingCapacity Child'sNeeds
T0
T2
39
- Only 14% of TFG children (24% for the CFG) had “overall” strength
ratings in almost 2 domains at T0, and this rose to 51% of TFG children at
T2 (35% for CFG).
- There was a significant improvement in the frequency of strengths in the
overall domain ratings, from a frequency of 19% (25% for CFG) to 45%
(33% for CFG).
The data for problems at T0 and T2 are in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Children with problems ratings on CWQ “overall” domain items at Time 0
and 2
Data analysis uncovers a reduction in the number of problems at the second
time point, particularly in the TFG group: less than 3% of the CFG children
showed a reduction in problems in all domains. While Figure 6 shows the change
in the children as a whole group, the “overall” ratings were examined for each
domain to identify the amount of change that had taken place. These analyses
indicated that, based on an assessment at T0, 56% had improved in their ratings in
environment (for CFG 57%), 67% had improved in ratings on parental capacity
(for CFG 54%), and 75% in the child’s needs (for CFG 54%). A minority, approxi-
mately 8% (for CFG 19%), were found to have lower ratings in all domains at the
second time point.
Changes reflected in parents’ self reports
Measures reported by parents in the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
(SDQ) and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MsPSS) partially
confirmed the trends in the levels of need, and the change that occurred between
time points found by the CWQ analysis. The SDQ uses four subscales of diffi-
culties (emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer
problems) and one subscale of strength (prosocial behavior). A Total-Difficulties-
Score is derived by summing the difficulties subscales. In this study the internal
alpha consistency of the SDQ subscales and the total score were found to be good.
Target Family Group Comparison Family Group
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Familyand
Environment
ParentingCapacity Child'sNeeds
T0
T2
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Familyand
Envir onmen t
ParentingCapacity Child'sNeeds
T0
T2
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
Comparison scores between T0 and T2 are outlined in Tables 6 and Table 7.
Paired t-test analyses indicate that the SDQ completed by the parents, home-care
workers, and teachers confirm the results of the CWQ analysis.
Table 6. Results of t-tests in SDQ filled by mothers and fathers (TFG)
Table 7. Results of t-tests in SDQ filled by home care workers and teachers (TFG)
Responses to the SDQ in the CFG group confirm CWQ analysis detecting less
change than that in the TFG group (Table 8), with the exception of the mothers’
responses which showed more change in the CFG. T-tests analysis of onset ratings
of the different groups of compilers (TFG vs. CFG mothers, TFG vs. CFG fathers,
TFG vs. CFG home care workers) show a significant difference only in mothers’
groups, in which there were more problems at onset in CFG with respect to TFG
groups.
Table 8. Results of t-tests in SDQ filled by mothers, fathers and home care workers
(CFG)
TFG Time Mothers p Fathers p
Total-Difficulties-Score T0 13,91 14,75
T2 13,57 .6 12,84 .008
Prosocial Behaviour T0 7,37 7,35
T2 7,34 .9 7,07 .334
TFG Time Home-
care-
workers
p Teachers p
Total-Difficulties-Score T0 16,42 14,83
T2 12,8 .001 12,06 .047
Prosocial Behaviour T0 5,47 5,47
T2 6,44 .029 6,23 .153
Time Mothers p Fathers p Home-
care-
workers
p
Total-Difficulties-Score T0 17,12 16 18,2
T2 14,58 .047 14,57 .753 17,6 .079
Prosocial Behaviour T0 6,91 7,79 6,47
T2 6,94 .952 7,79 .874 5,4 .133
41
Analysis of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MsPSS),
outlined in Table 9, registered shows high scores. The T-test shows a significant
improvement only for the mothers in the TFG group with regard to social support
perceived from significant others.
Table 9. Results of t-tests in SDQ filled by home care workers and teachers (CFG)
There was no significant change in the MsPSS in the CFG group.
Change noted at the first follow-up
In February 2013 (in other words, two months after T2) the case managers of
all the children participating in the programme were asked to fill out a short form
checklist to verify the families’ situation. The results showed that: (1) 8 families
in TFG group had exited the Child Protection Services because of an improvement
in the family situation. There were no cases in the CFG group; (2) in view of an
improvement in their situation, 50.6% (n=45) of the TFG families would be
receiving fewer services from welfare. instead, in CFG 42.3% (n=15) report a
reduction of services and for 5 situations this is accompanied by a worsening of
family situations (due to the reduction of resources of the agencies); (3) case
workers noted a worsening situation in 6 (6.7%) of the TFG families, while they
noted a worsening situation in 23 of the CFG families (56%); (4) one child in the
TFG group was removed from the family and placed in residential care. Six
children (from 4 families) in the CFG cohort were removed from the family: 3
were placed in foster care and 3 in residential care systems. Court proceedings
were, moreover, already begun for residential or foster care placement for 3
children (from 3 families) in the CFG families.
CWQ in context - processes making effectiveness
The goals and outcomes with regard to the Integrated shared assessment and
care plan made at the onset was evaluated using the micro-planning grid for all of
the TFG families (n=122). The prioritized intervention goals encompassed a wide
range of issues and needs and were equally distributed thorough the three overall
domains at both time points. Moreover, the factors with a higher frequency are
TFG Time Home-care-
workers
p Teachers p
Family T0 4,11 4,94
T2 4,23 .553 4,70 .679
Friends T0 3,87 3,73
T2 4,12 .212 3,77 .789
Significant
Others
T0 4,50 4,75
T2 4,91 .002 4,78 .53
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
according with the problem rating factors. According to the micro-planning grid,
the professionals working with parents had to establish goals and activities to help
the children cope with difficulties and improve their strengths. Practitioners were
asked to specify what persons were expected to carry out an intervention, pointing
out the responsibilities of the actions described in the micro-planning (who does
what?). According to our analysis, the responsibility of parents increased by 7%
from T0 to T2.
Achievement of goals was also verified. Each micro-planning factor was
classified in one of these categories: (1) outcome reached (60% of the total number
of micro-planning goals were reached); (2) outcome not reached (20.5% were not
reached); (3) outcome partially reached (19.5% were partially reached); (4) not
valuable (if the text doesn’t describe the goal defined in the micro-planning,
16%).
Activities provided. Between T0 and T2, practitioners carried out activities
with children and families foreseen in the P.I.P.P.I. programme. Each of the four
activities was implemented in more than half of the families between T0 and T1
(54%; 62%; 75%; 78%). The percentage decreases between T1 and T2 (34%;
28%; 60%; 70%). Overall, there are 57% of families that experimented ‘home
care intervention’ in at least one time, 69% that experimented ‘parent’s group’,
75% experimented the ‘support family’ and 84% that used the ‘cooperation with
school’. From T0 until T2, all the four activities were used with 37% of families,
three with the 28%, two activities were used with the 28% and just one activity
with the 6%. Only one family didn’t undertake any of the four optional activities
at any time.
Figure 7 plots data from CWQ and the quantity of activities implemented in
accordance with the P.I.P.P.I. A higher number of activities corresponded a higher
score in the CWQ ratings.
Figure 7. Amount of P.I.P.P.I. activities and percentage variation in CWQ ratings
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
Familyand
Envi ronm ent
Parenting
Capacity
Child's
Devel opmental
Needs
TFG:34activ ities
TFG:2activ ities
CFG
43
Amount of goals and actions. The ratings on the CWQ and the amount of
actions planned for each factors on the CWQ was considered. Results show that
when factors were selected for micro-planning they have higher results in the
CWQ ratings (Figure 8). This is true particularly for Parenting Capacity and
Family and Environment.
Figure 8. Factors with microplanning and percentage variation in CWQ ratings
Summary of the outcomes measured
- Only one child in the TFG group was referred for out-of-home services,
while nine children were being referred for a removal from the birth families in
the CFG. Moreover, during the follow-up, P.I.P.P.I. practitioners reported more
improvement in family situations than did the mainstream practitioners.
-The CWQ ratings indicated that at T0, between 51% (Family and Envi-
ronmental Factors), 49% (Parenting Capacity) and 37% (Child’ Needs) of
the TFG families fell into the moderate to serious problem range for overall
ratings on the CWQ domains. The situation was similar for the CFG (res-
pectively, 50%, 39%, and 37%) families.
- At T2, between 34% (Family and Environmental Factors), 26% (Paren-
ting Capacity) and 20% (Child’ Needs) of the TFG families were still in the
problem rating range on the overall domain ratings. Change was less con-
sistent in the control group (respectively, 28%, 33%, 26%).
- Significant change was detected in a number of ways confirming that
the families as a whole enjoyed a significant improvement from T0 to T2 on
CWQ ratings. Improvements were more visible and significant for the TFG
group with respect to the CFG cohort.
-The CWQ in both groups seemed to indicate that there were more
problems with regard to Parenting Capacity and Family and Environmental
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Child'sNeeds Parenting
Capacity
Familyand
Envi ronme ntal
Factors
notselec tedfor
microplanning
selec tedfor
microplanning
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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REVISTA DE CERCETARE {I INTERVEN}IE SOCIAL| - VOLUMUL 52/2016
Factors than for the Child’ Needs. It is possible then that the intervention
was undertaken more for reasons related to the family and life context than
to those related to the child. As the most important improvements for both
groups occurred in the Parenting Capacity and Family and Environmental
Factors, it is reasonable to conclude that both the P.I.P.P.I. programme and
the mainstream social services were mainly involved in addressing pro-
blems connected to poor parenting, but the children participating in the
P.I.P.P.I. programme achieved, nevertheless, higher results.
- SDQ confirmed the improvements detected by CWQ, particularly as far as
fathers, home-care workers and teachers were concerned.
- Data from the MsPSS seemed to confirm the positive effect of P.I.P.P.I.
activities, particularly with regard to the Support Family activity: according
to the TFG mothers here was also a significant change in the Significant
Other factor
- With regard to effectiveness, high ratings in CWQ with regard to activities
provided by the P.I.P.P.I. and the number of planned goals achieved were
found to be correlated.
Implications for policy and practice
Several implications for policy and practice emanate from this research with
regard to assessment, intervention, and family/professional relationships.
Utility of multidimensional tools
The CWQ and the Integrated and shared assessment and care plan are tools
that facilitate a holistic, ecological and integrated assessment of vulnerable chil-
dren and their families (Serbati et al. 2013; Fernandez 2007; Ward & Rose 2002).
Indeed, they make it possible to: (1) take a picture of the family situation at the
onset of the intervention (T0), at subsequent time points, or at the end of the
intervention (T1, T2, T3, Tn); (2) fully observe the family and its relationships.
They provide professionals with a common language for detailing the families/
children, which in turn provides them with the opportunity to discuss and negotiate
interventions with other practioners, families and other persons relevant to the
child’s development. Systematic use of the tools could, in fact, facilitate casework
decision-making; (3) work from a common platform: different professionals
involved in the case (i.e. psychologists, social workers of other agencies, etc.) can
utilize the tools to assess the children and their families, negotiating a shared
evaluation and examining the problem from different perspectives.
45
Holistic and multidimensional intervention
According to the definition of Lacharité et al. (2006), the multiple and
interrelated
disadvantages and problems that impact children in child neglect
cases concern not only the parents or the family, but involve the entire ecosystem
surrounding the child and his/her family. Data from the literature underlines the
importance of multidimensional assessments and interventions to promote the
child’s best interest and development and to improve parenting skills in order to
respond to the developmental needs of the child. Activities outlined by the P.I.P.P.I.
appear to be an effective strategy to enhance positive parenting and thus to
improve children’s outcome. These results of the study are in accordance with
data in the literature which highlights the importance of professionals’ invol-
vement in several multidimensional tasks: to focus on parent–child interactions,
to respond to the child’s concrete needs, to organize concrete activities, to reduce
stress and to improve parenting skills and the family environment, to strengthen
the informal support system available from the family’s social network which is
the only way to avoid the risk of locking families within the walls of their homes
(Moran et al. 2004).
There is, moreover, a dimension that has not been considered enough by
researchers: the poverty rates for families. The frequency that unemployment and
Housing, Employment and Income are registered as problems in our data reflects
the difficult economic situations of these families. There is, in fact, an established
link in the literature between poverty, economic hardship and marginal outcomes
for children (Jack, 2001). A broader agenda that addresses child and family
poverty and social exclusion is needed to advance children’s well-being.
Engaging family members in care planning
Despite the P.I.P.P.I.’s commitment to engage parents and families in delivering
services, our findings have highlighted the difficulties encountered. The literature
that is available emphasizes, moreover, the challenge of using a participatory
approach in child neglect cases. Studies confirm the gap that exists between the
world of families and the world of services: parents often feel blamed by pro-
fessionals, excluded from decisions about their own children, helpless and con-
fused by a system that seems to hold absolute power over them (Dale, 2004;
Dumbrill, 2006). At the same time, numerous authors emphasize that parents and
children ask to be listened to and to be taken into consideration in decision-
making and that they are able to provide important insights into their needs
(Fernandez 2007; Walsh 1998). The use of the integrated and shared assessment
and care plan aimed to bridge the distance between parents and social services
and to provide professionals a strategy from which to discuss the child’s needs
and descriptions based on, avoiding generic stereotyping (Sellenet, 2007; Milani
et al., in press).
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Documenting to promote quality service and performance-based culture
Once they have used the questionnaires and the integrated and shared assessment
and care plan, the P.I.P.P.I. recommends that practitioners follow five basic
principles while providing services to the children who have been referred to
them. The first is to focus on results in order to determine the quality and
effectiveness of social interventions. The second is to target interventions focusing
on the children’s healthy development. The third is to focus on the importance of
parental practices and environmental factors promoting the child’s development.
The fourth is to keep an eye on all problems noted. The fifth principle is to carry
out the previous four, bearing in mind the points of view of all practitioners and
persons who are important to the child’s development. Through these five prin-
ciples the P.I.P.P.I. aims to ensure that assessment processes effectively discri-
minate between different types and levels of needs and produce a timely service
response. In order to develop the means to organise these responses, the P.I.P.P.I.
seeks to promote a performance-based culture and to encourage an integrated
approach that is able to ensure access to quality service.
Limitations
There are several limitations to this study. First of all, the study uses measures
that have not undergone a process of scientific validation (even if a validation of
the CWQ is now in progress). This choice was made in view of investing in the
Triangle and micro-planning as a way to promote a performance-based culture
within the Child Protection System and to test family participation. Another
limitation is the marginal use of self-reported measures. Great importance was
given to the practitioners’ points of view concerning the families as the decisions
about child placement were ingrained in their own attitudes (pro or anti-removal)
and not to the expressed wishes of the parent or the child (Darlington et al. 2010;
Arad-Davidzon & Benbenishty, 2008; Horwath, 2007). Another limitation is that
the sample of children and families in this study is atypical as it was linked to the
practitioners’ recruitment of the families involved. It is therefore impossible to
generalize the results to the population normally referred to the Child Protection
System.
Conclusions
Study data confirm the initial success of the P.I.P.P.I., a programme that seems
to be able to prevent out-of-the-home child placement while simultaneously
responding to problems connected to poor parenting that may lead to child neglect.
The results suggest that the P.I.P.P.I. improves child development, parenting skills
47
and sense of responsible decision making, the family’s social support network,
and the collaboration between parents and practitioners. In other words, it has
been shown to bring us closer to the “world fit for children” envisioned by the
Convention on the Rights of the Child movement.
Moreover, by using the Triangle and micro-planning, the programme has
triggered an experience aiming to promote a performance-based approach within
the Child Protection System, an enormous challenge, in view of the gaps, weak-
nesses, and fragmentation in the Child Protection System in Italy. With regard to
2012-2013, 9 out of 10 cities that participated in the pilot experience applied to
continue the programme in their cities and to extend the programme to new
families (n=242) and new practitioners. This unexpected outcome can certainly
be considered an indicator of success. Moreover, for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016
the Italian Ministry of Welfare set in motion the first and the second steps of
scaling up the P.I.P.P.I. programme by confirming the third implementation, which
will involve 82 new cities and approximately 1000 children. In December 2014,
the European Commission on “Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion” sub-
mitted the P.I.P.P.I. programme to a Peer Review in order to open discussion and
mutual learning about Innovative practices with marginalized families at risk of
having their children taken into care. Representatives from Belgium, Bulgaria,
Croatia, Cyprus, France, Malta and United Kingdom participated and expressed
judicious viewpoints during the discussion. The conclusions of the two-day work
sessions, some of which presented below, are in accordance with and support the
results outlined in this article4: (1) “P.I.P.P.I. demonstrates the importance of a
holistic and integrated approach to evaluation, planning and intervention with
families; (2) Government support encourages the different departments (schools,
welfare services, etc.) to work in an integrated manner, and assures a financial
commitment; (3) The evidence-based implementation programme works well, as
the research/evaluation is on-going, closely connected to the authorities delivering
the programme, and enables staff to adapt implementation, if necessary; (4)
P.I.P.P.I. is strongly child and family focused, giving children and their parents a
voice; (5) P.I.P.P.I. is part of a growing trend across Europe of using multi-
disciplinary teams to support vulnerable families, signaling a change to social
welfare implementation across Europe”.
4 http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1024&langId=en&newsId=2133&furtherNews=yes
REALITIES IN A KALEIDOSCOPE
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... 2.1 P.I.P.P.I. and the LabT P.I.P.P.I. is a research-training-intervention programme that was developed by the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, in cooperation with the Laboratory of Research and Intervention in Family Education (LabRIEF), at the University of Padua (Italy) (Fantozzi et al. 2014;Ius 2020a;Milani et al. 2016;Santello et al. 2017Santello et al. , 2018Serbati et al. 2016;Zanon et al. 2016; consult these papers for a wider presentation of the programme). Since 2011, P.I.P.P.I. has been run by Regional and Local welfare services across Italy as an intensive programme to support families living in vulnerable situations and facing child neglect (Lacharité et al. 2006;Sellenet 2007), and to promote children's wellbeing through a multi-professional, ecological, and resilience-based intervention (Ius 2020a). ...
... The following voices showed a more comprehensive attitude towards family and focused on the how to foster mother's participation and her understanding of the situation of her child. It is interesting to observe that John was invited on stage after 14 expressions of the adults and by a suggestion of the facilitator: on the one hand, P.I.P.P.I. framework is structured on the "Child's World" (Serbati et al. 2016) promoting a "children's world centred" approach, on the other the dynamic on the stage shows professionals are likely to activate firstly an adult knowledge based dynamic, and only in a second moment they include children. ...
Article
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This article of the Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie aims to explore how Morenian sociodrama and its techniques represent valuable tools for participative research with social professionals and teachers working with children and their families in vulnerable situations. After introducing the Canon of Creativity by Moreno and its connection to art-based research, sociodrama is theoretically introduced and proposed as a research tool. This is followed by a description of an experience of participative research with a group of roughly 40 professionals within the national Italian programme P.I.P.P.I. The process of the session is described and discussed, in order to demonstrate how sociodrama can be an interesting tool for social research. The conclusion provides connections between practice and research, proposing the involvement of families in future activities, and highlighting possible future theoretical explorations in order to examine the topic in greater depth.
... P.I.P.P.I. aims to respond to children's needs with a collective action built around four specific activities (Serbati, Ius, & Milani, 2016): (1) Home-care intervention, a twice a week in-home activity to support parenting capacities and parent-child relationships; (2) Parents' Groups, weekly or biweekly group activities fostering reflective practice, encouraging exchange and interaction between parents; (3) Family helpers are provided for each family to offer support in concrete aspects of daily life; (4) Cooperation between schools/families and social services/ teachers. ...
... Using data collected by practitioners, the research question about accountability function is fulfilled by a pre-post-test quasi experimental design employed to compare Time 0 families' situation at the intake and Time 1 at the conclusion. The results are encouraging (see Serbati et al., 2016). ...
Article
Several major evaluation reports agree that while we know much about interventions that are effective, little use is made of them to help achieve important outcomes for children, families, and adults. Practice-Research uses locally based research and/or evaluation in an attempt to fill this gap. Not understood as a specific research method, Practice-Research is intended as an evolving meeting point between practice and research, and a matter of negotiation between its stakeholders. Central importance is given to practitioners’ participation. The article will present and discuss three European experiences that realise Practice-Research in different ways. The aim of the article is to define and analyze differences and commonalities among the three experiences, in order to outline strategies for developing a fruitful encounter between practice and research. Particular emphasis is placed on interaction and discussion, providing opportunities for people to change and gain meaning through interacting, offering opportunities for practitioners to discuss and reflect on the practices and research results.
... The lack of resources, a bureaucratic culture, different standards of professional training and differences in local needs and requirements have produced a miscellaneous context that, despite areas of excellence, is characterized by gaps and inequities. In the effort to respond to this situation and to comply with EU recommendations, in collaboration with the University of Padua, since 2011 the Italian Ministry of Welfare set out to implement an innovative intervention strategy to prevent out-of-home child placement and to test approaches to strengthen families in the effort to reduce child neglect, the P.I.P.P.I program [18] . ...
... In the first implementation, a control group that followed the mainstream activities offered by Child Protection Services was used. The results demonstrated a significant improvement only for the P.I.P.P.I. group [18] . In the subsequent implementations, it was impossible to apply an RCT due to the need to involve practitioners in the research activities. ...
Article
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Home visiting is a promising strategy in the US, but effects of European program adaptations are mixed. This discussion paper derived from an international symposium and describes the policy context in that four specific, systemically evaluated European programs from France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland are implemented. The programs are briefly outlined and similarities and differences in their theoretical background, target groups, and their contents and methods used to achieve their aims are highlighted. The instruments chosen to monitor quality of program implementation, to assess program effectiveness, and issues of data analyses are considered comparatively. Possible explanations for differing results are discussed and implications for further program development towards more integrated and tailored strategies are derived.
... Θεσπίζονται Ειδικά και στη συνέχεια Εθνικά Μητρώα απομάκρυνση του παιδιού από το οικογενειακό περιβάλλον, χωρίς τη σύμφωνη ή μη γνώμη του παιδιού, η εισαγωγή σε ίδρυμα ή σε δομές οικογενειακού τύπου, με τον θεσμό της αναδοχής να μην έχει αναπτυχθεί σε ικανοποιητικό βαθμό (Συνήγορος του Πολίτη, 2015).Σε άλλες μεσογειακές χώρες, όπως η Ισπανία και η Ιταλία, η εξέλιξη της παιδικής προστασίας παρουσιάζει αξιοσημείωτη πρόοδο. Τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες οι χώρες αυτές έχουν επιτύχει ένα υψηλό επίπεδο παροχών στους τομείς της υγείας, της εκπαίδευσης και των κοινωνικών υπηρεσιών, με την υποστήριξη της οικογένειας να αποτελεί βασικό στόχο.Στην Ιταλία, το Πρόγραμμα Παρέμβασης για την Πρόληψη της Εισαγωγής των Παιδιών σε Ιδρύματα (Programme of Intervention for Prevention of Institutionalization) ξεκίνησε να εφαρμόζεται το 2011 σε 10 ιταλικές πόλεις και φαίνεται να είναι ικανό να αποτρέψει την τοποθέτηση των παιδιών σε δομές εκτός οικογένειας(Serbati, Ius, Milani, 2016). για τα παιδικά χωριά SOS διεθνώς, και γενικά για την έξω-οικογενειακή φροντίδα, αναδεικνύουν ότι η απομάκρυνση από την οικογενειακή εστία και η παραμονή των παιδιών σε δομές παιδικής προστασίας επηρεάζουν θετικά ή/και αρνητικά τις ζωές τους και τη μετέπειτα εξέλιξή τους. ...
Article
Σύνοψη: Αυτό το άρθρο καταγράφει τα βιώματα και τις εμπειρίες δέκα (10) ενήλικων ανδρών και γυναικών που μεγάλωσαν σε ένα από τα Παιδικά Χωριά SOS στην Ελλάδα. Μέσα από τον αναστοχασμό και την επαναξιολόγηση αυτής της εμπειρίας, μιλούν για την επίδραση της εξω-οικογενειακής φροντίδας στην ενήλικη ζωή τους. Μέθοδος: Πρόκειται για μια ποιοτική, διερευνητική μελέτη, τα στοιχεία της οποίας συλλέχθηκαν με ημι-δομημένες συνεντεύξεις και αναλύθηκαν με τη μέθοδο της θεματικής ανάλυσης. Ευρήματα: Η οικογενειακή εστία στην παρούσα μελέτη, είτε λόγω οικονομικής δυσπραγίας, είτε λόγω θανάτου ενός από τους γονείς ή της κατάχρησης ουσιών, συνδέεται μάλλον με δυσάρεστα συναισθήματα και μνήμες για την πλειοψηφία των συμμετεχόντων. Το Παιδικό Χωριό SOS σηματοδότησε για τους περισσότερους μια νέα αρχή, χωρίς να απουσιάζουν εμπειρίες παραμέλησης και ανασφάλειας. Συμπέρασμα: Η διάθεση οικονομικών και κοινωνικών πόρων για τη στήριξη των βιολογικών οικογενειών στο φυσικό τους περιβάλλον, προκειμένου να αποφευχθεί η διάλυσή τους, θα πρέπει να αποτελεί προτεραιότητα. Οι πολιτικές προστασίας του παιδιού και της οικογένειας οφείλουν να επικεντρωθούν στην πρόληψη των κοινωνικών φαινομένων (κατάχρηση ουσιών, ανεργία), με απώτερο στόχο τη μείωση του μεγάλου αριθμού των παιδιών σε ιδρύματα που προέρχονται από οικογένειες που πλήττονται από τη φτώχεια και τα συνακόλουθά της.
... If we consider the ratio "planned sub-dimension/assessed sub-dimension" for each level of the CWQ six-point Likert scale -where 1,2,3 go from serious, moderate, slight problem, 4 is baseline/adequate and 5, 6 mild, clear strength (Serbati, Ius, Milani, 2016) -as we would expect the most problematic dimensions received a micro-plan, from 40% to 60%, and the slight problematic ones are planned in the 30% of the cases. When we consider the level 4, and mostly 5 and 6, we see that the percentage of planned sub-dimensions decreases. ...
Article
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This paper provides a summary of the results of the P.I.P.P.I. Program in achieving the prefixed goals on the final, intermediate and proximal outcome variables, regarding chil-dren's development, the positive exercise of parental competences and the effective action of services respectively. Therefore, the main purpose is to describe the impact of the program on the overall well-being of children and families in relation to the processes implemented. This is possible thanks to the wealth of information gathered by professionals through the tools provided for the analysis, design and monitoring activities in the work with families.
... This empirical evidence offers indications to professionals and all persons responsible for the programme implementation on how potentially modify practices and organizational aspects to achieve better outcomes. By relating the results of the counterfactual analysis with the process data on the individual micro-plans, questions arise about professionals' attention unbalanced to child's factors and the practical difficulties to discern and leverage on strengths and resources of parents and their relationships when, respectively, evaluat-ing and working with families [28]. Furthermore, we expect that a longer duration for the intervention, whenever professionals deem it appropriate, could reinforce results, on parents' outcomes. ...
Article
Full-text available
The research focuses on the Italian Programme of Intervention for Prevention of Institutional- ization (P.I.P.P.I.), the implementation of an integrated inter-professional, institutional and service method of intervention, at national level, with families at risk of child neglect. To prove the effectiveness of the programme with the (quasi) experimental evidence of Impact Evaluation, a set of non-participant families under the care of standard services are compared to participants of the 4th edition of the programme. Since a non-random selection process intervenes in the professionals’ choice of the families to be included in the intervention, specific statistical techniques have been applied to minimize the selection bias resulting by comparing participants with non-participants. Even if environmental conditions are difficult to change, statistically significant effects on children’s total risk of out-of-home placement and developmental needs satisfaction are estimated. Also, the effects on parents’ response to child’s needs are positive and, in general, professionals’ support to parents becomes less important after they have participated in P.I.P.P.I.
... Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) Complex, balanced, and interac ve three-knowledge can be used freely in a certain subject or a subject teaching ac vity. (Serbati et al., 2016). The open questionnaire method is a qualitative research method. ...
... The P.I.P.P.I. requires the PTE to be implemented through various quantitative and qualitative instruments that are also used to measure outcomes (for results see Serbati et al., 2016). Data were collected at three times: at the beginning of the intervention (T0), at the middle (T1) and at its end (T2). ...
Article
Users' participation in Child and Family Social Work is widely acknowledged as a central and hard-to-reach issue for successful and effective intervention. The article considers a methodological proposal in pursuing participation, called Participative and Transformative Evaluation (PTE) that uses instruments and data as a means of reflection and negotiation between all the actors involved, in order to justify choices and make decisions. The PTE is realised inside the Programme of Intervention for Prevention of Institutionalization (P.I.P.P.I.), involving 144 child care and protection cases (198 children) in nine Italian cities, in order to prevent out-of-home child placement and reduce child neglect. Inside the P.I.P.P.I. a series of case studies were developed to achieve an in-depth understanding of the effective processes undertaken by participants with families. The case selected for this article has been chosen because it reflects a best practice in using the PTE as well as the participation path and is undertaken following the indications of the Critical Best Practice. It allowed an in-depth understanding of the mother's and professionals' viewpoints about what built the success in their practice. During the discussion three components are considered: the technical solutions offered by research or science (technical components) become meaningful when participants not only apply them, but act upon them, building, internally, the meanings to be enacted (internal component). In the case study this came about through dialogue between people, and through negotiation and reflection on competence, visions and values (communicative component).
Article
The Program of Intervention for Prevention of Institutionalization (P.I.P.P.I.) is a programme that integrates research, training, and intervention in working with families living in vulnerable situations. It is funded by the Italian Ministry of Welfare and, since 2011, has cumulatively involved roughly 8000 professionals from Social and Health Services and Schools, as well as 4000 children and their families in more than 200 territories across Italy. P.I.P.P.I. focuses on supporting children and families through multi-professional, holistic, and resilience-based interventions, in order to reduce child neglect. Bronfenbrenner’s ecology of human development and its definition of neglect are the rationale for the programme, and discussing the theories on community and community capacity linked with resilience theory, this paper reflects on enabling community as an approach to alleviating social disadvantage and promoting child, family, and community wellbeing and resilience. The cases of two territories in Southern Italy will be presented and reviewed in order to illustrate how the service-school-family relationship was promoted within a resilience community approach. Using information from meetings, focus-groups with professionals, and document reviews, programme implementation will be presented and discussed to explore how the governance of social services and school-based service providers make decisions and organize activities to facilitate participation by children, parents, teachers, and social professionals, enabling more community development. Implications for practice, policy and research are highlighted.
Technical Report
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Il Programma P.I.P.P.I. riconosce la negligenza parentale come uno spazio di speciale opportunità per mettere in campo interventi orientati alla prevenzione, in particolare ottemperanza alle Leggi 285/1997, 328/2000 e 149/2001 e si inscrive all’interno delle linee sviluppate dall’Agenda 2030 per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile per quanto riguarda l’innovazione e la sperimentazione sociale come mezzi per rispondere ai bisogni della cittadinanza, sperimentando azioni in grado di sviluppare una genitorialità positiva (REC 2006/19/UE), diffusa nell’ambiente di vita dei bambini che vivono in condizioni di vulnerabilità, così da “rompere il ciclo dello svantaggio sociale” (REC 2013/112/UE). Al ne di liberare il potenziale dei bambini che vivono nelle condizioni di negligenza che, a livello individuale, ne segnano negativamente la traiettoria scolastica e minano globalmente il loro sviluppo e, a livello sociale, sono fra i fattori che più incidono sulla situazione complessiva di disordine, con itto, violenza e diseguaglianza che segna drammaticamente i nostri giorni, il Ministero ha inteso promuovere un’ampia innovazione sociale, con l’obiettivo di armonizzare pratiche e modelli di intervento rivolti a famiglie negligenti, tramite azioni di formazione, documentazione e valutazione sistematiche e condivise in tutto il territorio nazionale, favorendo anche così l’attuazione concreta dell’articolo 3 della Costituzione: “Tutti i cittadini hanno pari dignità sociale e sono eguali davanti alla legge, senza distinzione di sesso politiche, di condizioni personali e sociali. E` compito della Repubblica rimuovere gli ostacoli di ordine economico e sociale, che, limitando di fatto la libertà e l’eguaglianza dei cittadini, impediscono il pieno sviluppo della persona umana e l’effettiva partecipazione di tutti i lavoratori all’organizzazione politica, economica e sociale del Paese”.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Come nelle edizioni precedenti, in questo rapporto viene presentata una sintesi della versione estesa del report di ricerca relativo alla settima implementazione, dando specificatamente conto della questione della valutazione, assunta come centrale in P.I.P.P.I., in quanto intesa nel duplice senso di valutazione della singola situazione familiare (assessment o, in italiano, analisi) e di valutazione dell’efficacia del Programma nel suo insieme. Nel primo caso gli interlocutori sono le famiglie e gli operatori dei servizi, nel secondo l’interlocutore è il Ministero che promuove e finanzia il Programma e che, per rispondere ai cittadini dell’investimento di denaro pubblico realizzato, intende mettere a disposizione della comunità scientifica, di quella professionale e della comunità degli amministratori e dei decisori politici, i dati di processo e di esito relativi agli investimenti effettuati. Il nostro obiettivo è quindi quello di rendere pubbliche informazioni scientificamente accurate sulla valutazione sia di processo che di esito degli interventi realizzati dagli operatori implicati nella sperimentazione. Al tempo stesso, questo documento è rivolto a tutte quelle persone che si approcciano a P.I.P.P.I. per la prima volta e sono interessate a conoscerne finalità, strumenti ed esiti.
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Some families face great vulnerability due to various factors such as personal and familiar history, poverty, social isolation, etc. In such situations, the ability of parents to take care of their children can be rather limited. In Italy, in order to support vulnerable families and more particularly neglectful ones, child -and-family educational home interventions are widespread. However, to date there has been little far-reaching evaluation of their effectiveness. This article reports the results of a joint research-training-intervention project that involved 12 educators and 18 deemed negligent families over an intervention period of 12 months. The evaluation permitted identification of the key factors fostering the adaptation of these families.
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L’article vise a decrire un modele theorique de la negligence. La premiere partie presente les principaux enjeux suscites par l’acte de definir la negligence envers les enfants et propose une definition permettant de faire un diagnostic de ces situations. La seconde partie propose un modele etiologique de la negligence. La troisieme partie fait le point sur les multiples sequelles de la negligence. L’article conclut en presentant des recommandations pour le developpement et l’evaluation des programmes visant a prevenir ou contrer la negligence envers les enfants.
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This article explores parenting support as a field of social policy in Europe by comparing developments in England, France, Germany and Italy. The results suggest cross-national diversity and a need to differentiate between parental support for more general family purposes and measures oriented to teach parents particular skills in childraising. Comparatively, England has by far the most extensive architecture of services to engage with parents and is set apart from the other countries also in terms of the extent to which 'support' means intervention to (re) skill or (re)train parents through standardised parenting programmes. Elsewhere, 'support' has deeper roots in education for family and social life and interventions tend to be more tailored and home-grown. However, despite varying philosophies of child and family welfare, they all show evidence of a move in the direction of greater state engagement with how parents rear their children and their competence in this role.
Book
Examining the assessment of need in children's services, this edited book addresses the full spectrum of practice, policy and research developments in the field. The contributors show how needs assessment in children's services can be used to tackle problems such as low achievement, mental ill-health and social exclusion at both individual and strategic levels
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This important new volume provides a comprehensive account of the causes and consequences of child maltreatment from a developmental perspective. The chapters in the volume offer an historical and definitional context for future studies: What constitutes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse? What is child neglect and how has its definition changed over time? Why has the theory of the intergenerational transmission of maltreatment been overstated for so long? The heart of the volume lies in its careful description of well controlled research on the impact of maltreatment on the developmental process. Specific chapters address the effects of maltreatment on congitive, linguistic, social, and emotional development. Special attention is paid to age-specific deficits in social interaction, to parent-child interaction and attachment in the early years, and to peer relationships during later childhood and adolescence. The psychology of abusive and neglecting parents is also addressed. Who are the maltreating parents and how are they different from comparison parents? What are the conditions under which maltreatment recurs in subsequent generations? The volume concludes with a chapter on the processes at work in maltreatment can be applied to reducing the problem. Child Maltreatment will appeal to both researchers and clinicians in a range of disciplines including developmental and clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, pediatrics, sociology, and law, as well as to policymakers and students in all of these areas.
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This paper reports research carried out in Italy designed to investigate the usability of Child Well-Being Scale (CWBS) for the outcome evaluation of home-care interventions for vulnerable families and children in need. Using a pre- and post-test design, the study traces the changes in 18 vulnerable families and 23 children in need included in a programme of home-care intervention over a period of 11 months. All the families and children were assessed twice: at intake and at the end of the intervention (after 6 months). Furthermore, 10 families and 11 children had a longer intervention and were assessed three times. Moreover, two focus groups involving 13 home-care workers and 11 face-to-face interviews were used to collect practitioners' points of views on CWBS. The results generally support the idea that families' and children's situation improved over time, as shown by an improvement in almost all of the considered dimensions after 6 months and after 11 months. Specifically, the families improved more on household adequacy in the long term while children on the child performance dimension improved in the short term. Practitioners reported that CWBS was an aid to multi-professional decision-making, as the systematic evaluation of the subscales was a practical base upon which to activate shared decision-making during the casework.
Book
To understand the way children develop, Bronfenbrenner believes that it is necessary to observe their behavior in natural settings, while they are interacting with familiar adults over prolonged periods of time. His book offers an important blueprint for constructing a new and ecologically valid psychology of development.