I sometime work with a man named Junior Smart. Anyone that is around Junior, will know that he speaks word of wisdom on the daily. He often talks about the fact that practitioner can be more territorial than the young people that we work with.
I see evidence of this often. For anyone working within a sector that supports children, young people and families, I am sure that you have seen evidence of this also. Other practitioners and agencies not sharing information, good practice or supporting other professionals are just an example of what this looks like.
Over the years I have come across practitioners and professional that have acted more territorial over young people or certain areas of practices than any gang member that I have known. You sometimes meet that practitioner who makes it clear that they don’t want other services working with their young person or their family. I have also come across services that do not want to share good practice or what is working well for them. Its like people think they have ownership on our youth. You don’t. Like the saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child”.
So, this got me thinking. I don’t want to be one of those kinds of professionals. I was never territorial growing up and believe that I am not like this as a practitioner. I work with selected young people, so It would be easy for me to become territorial and not want other agencies and such stepping in. But I am the opposite. I want to get my young people and their families all the support, advice, and guidance I can get them. I want a whole team supporting the young people I work with. Wrap around care for them, their families, people in the local community. I want the young people I work with to learn that agencies are a good thing and that knowledge is power. I want to be a role model for the young people and see me engaging with police, school, NHS, social services…who ever it needs to be. So they see that these are safe people and, I hope, Will give the young people the faith to engage with professionals when they need to.
So then I thought…what does good practice look like? I believe that it is working to your strengths as a practitioner to support your client. Knowing who to go for when different issues arise. Having a good networking team to lean on. Sharing information so that other professionals have a holistic view of who they are working with. Always putting the needs of the child or young person first.
I believe in training other professionals to show them all the tools and things that have worked for me so that we can all work from the same level. I also share the things that have no worked well so that those around me can learn from that as well.
What does bad practice look like? Not sharing information. Encouraging young people not to engage with other professionals or activities. Limiting the amount of support a person can get. Speaking for a child, young person or a family in a professional setting without actually having their voice. There are many things you could list to be fair.
And I do see that. I am sure we all do. Some practitioners not working with others, not sharing their tools and knowledge. Professionals not wanting to share information and knowledge and, as Junior says, acting more territorial over the young people than the young people are acting out on road.
I mean, I am going to put it out there…. Gangs, CSE, County lines, young people and families needing support…they are not going anywhere and there is plenty of work for all. I get it, budgets are tight or are being cut altogether, people feel like their jobs are at risk and such. But we still have to stay focused on what we are actually doing out here. Then you get the worst kind. The professionals that will bad mouth other professionals in the same arena with the hope of getting them removed or services not used! I mean…if you’re going to knock someone’s professional practice …you should at least have met them in person first or come with some kind of evidence. But they don’t. We have professionals trying to out do each other for contracts! I hope I never end operating like that.
Maybe people need to stop, look in the mirror and remember why you entered this arena. To change lives. We need to…should want to… work together. We should be talking to each other in a professional arena and making sure that we offer our colleagues everything we can.
Don’t bad mouth other professionals to the young people. If you know something amazing that can help our young people…..share it. Tell everyone that it could benefit. Raise the people around you with you. Build positive relationships and networks. If you do see bad practice, report in the correct way.
Can you imagine if we all came together? Think of all the amazing professionals that you have met. All the little tips and skills that make you an amazing practitioner. Imagine we got all that and all of us that want to help children, young people, and their families…imagine if we had a platform to connect and share. With no hidden agenda. Wow. Can you image the kind of services we would be producing then!! I’m not saying you must like everyone you work with or meet, but, lets also acknowledge that we are ALL trying to make a difference. Well…I hope we all are.
I can remember many times that information has not been shared and the consequences have been deadly. Children have lost their lives. Because that is the reality. While people are trying to win contracts off each other or think they have some kind of ownership over young people…lives are being destroyed and lost. And we as the professionals. We must make that stop. Either your part of the solution or your part of the problem. Bottom line.
Just so you all know, you who are out there working silly hours trying to make a difference… ICU…and if I can ever be of any help to you, holla.