RESEARCH ON THE APPROBATION OF THE BASIC COMPETENCE MODEL OF SOCIAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES THAT ENSURE THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS AND BEST INTERESTS OF CHILDREN IN UKRAINE
In 2018-2019, we conducted a study on developing a model of the essential competencies of workers in the field of child protection. This model describes the sufficient and necessary knowledge, skills, and value attitudes that enable workers in the area to perform their functions in their workplace successfully.
As part of the research:
- An analysis of legal documents regulating the activities of institutions – key subjects in the field of protection of the rights and interests of children in Ukraine was carried out;
- A model of professional competencies of workers who protect the rights and ensure the best interests of children in Ukraine has been developed;
- The developed model was tested by interviewing practitioners in the field of child protection.
About 20 leading practitioners and managers in this field (from both governmental and non-governmental sectors, as well as various areas of activity) provided expert support at the model development stage. While conducting the survey, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine provided significant assistance. At all stages, methodological and other support was provided by the Institute of Social Services (Columbus, Ohio, USA).
DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
Competencies are the values, knowledge, and skills needed to perform work tasks.
Competence is defined as the ability to perform work tasks due to the possession of relevant competencies.
(The Institute for Human Services, IHS)
The analysis of the survey data of 1,219 employees of social service centres and services for children provides grounds for asserting the adequacy of the model of basic competence of employees in the field of children’s rights protection developed at the previous stage of the research. An important conclusion is that most of the Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights employees are aware of themselves as subjects of the protection of children’s rights. Minor differences are observed in assessing the importance of individual professional abilities and in the request for training and development of employees of Centers of Social Services for Families Children and Youth(CSSFCY) and Family Service Centers(FSC). However, this does not disprove the model itself but only gives instructions regarding the specifics of compiling/developing a training program based on this model and its implementation for representatives of these subgroups, including taking into account the identified features of their educational training and the content of work in specific positions.
Here are some research options that we consider, which are essential for understanding the situation of TRAINING AMONG specialists of CSSFCY and FSC.
FOR MOST EMPLOYEES OF FCS AND CSSFCY, THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS AND INTERESTS IS ONE OF THE MAIN OR EVEN PRIMARY FUNCTIONS.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF EMPLOYEES BY EDUCATIONAL SPECIALTIES IS AS FOLLOWS
IMPORTANCE OF COMPETENCES IN PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITY
The first five competences, which are defined as those that employees of SSD want to develop:
The ability to develop parental potential in accordance with the characteristics of children’s development and needs (Parenting styles and methods; causes of complex behavior of children; forms and methods of developing parental potential)
The ability to develop and implement a child’s placement plan in such a way as to minimize stress, prevent trauma and support the stability and permanence of the placement (Forms of order, their priority; minimizing the child’s experience of separation during the post; contact of the child with biological parents after placement)
The ability to apply intervention involving the family to cooperate in order to protect the child (Types and algorithms of intervention, difficulties in the intervention process);
The ability to promote the construction and maintenance of secure attachment between children and their families (The importance of attachment in the life of the child, signs of secure and disturbed attachment; promoting the formation of secure attachment between the child and his parents or guardians)
The ability to support families to ensure the protection and well-being of children according to the strategies of the three-level model (Family functions; signs of crisis in the family; difficult life circumstances; levels and methods of prevention)
The five “leaders” among the competencies, which are defined as those that the employees of the CSSSDM want to develop include:
Ability to develop and implement safety plans to protect children at immediate risk of serious harm
Ability to develop and implement a placement plan for the child in a manner that minimizes stress, prevents injury, and supports stability and permanency of the placement
Ability to represent the child’s interests in court (evidence; claims; typology of court proceedings, child’s participation in them; representation on behalf of the child)
Ability to plan the stable placement of children who cannot be reunited with their families (stability of placement; procedure of placement; preservation of the child’s history; requirements for candidates; preparation of the child for placement; support of the newly created family)
Ability to plan the stable placement of children who cannot be reunited with their families (stability of placement; order of placement; preservation of the child’s history; requirements for candidates; preparation of the child for placement; support of the newly created family)
Ability to facilitate the building and maintenance of secure attachments between children and their families
As we can see, the workers of the CSSFCY show a need for the development of capabilities that are traditionally considered as corresponding to the functions of their colleagues from the FCS.