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EVALUATING CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND THE ROLE OF MULTI-AGENCY -WORK

Abstract

The aim of the research is to evaluate the childhood development and multi-agency working effect on the childhood development process. Lacks of support, behavioral understanding, and parental assistance are raising strong concerns in facing a disturbing childhood. The findings are summarized under four different themes from the secondary data. These findings indicate that assurance of effective child development is necessary to confirm that all the individual children despite inequality have grown up mentally physically fit. The development of effective policy is essential for children’s development which can focus on the associated social and health factors. The role of multi-agency work in children’s development is related to its collaborative approach with local authorities at both regional and national levels. Its role includes the identification of basic needs and protection needs of children. However, a lack of cooperation can reduce the effectiveness of the role of multi-agency work.

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction                                                                       4

1.1 Research Background                                                    4

1.2 Research Aim and Objectives                                         4

1.3 Research Questions                                                       5

1.4 Research Rationale                                                        5

1.5 Research Structure                                                         6

2. Review of the literature regarding theory or policy development                                                                           8

2.1 History of policy development                                         8

2.2 Multi-agency work for childhood development                 9

2.3 Theoretical interventions                                               10

2.4 Gap in literature                                                            12

3.0 Methodology                                                                    12

3.1 Research Philosophy                                                    13

3.2  Research Approach                                                     13

3.3 Research Strategy and Design                                     13

3.4 Data collection                                                              14

3.5 Data analysis                                                                15

3.6 Timeline                                                                       15

3.7 Research Ethics                                                           16

4.0 Findings                                                                          17

4.1 Significance of child development and its approaches   17

4.2 Social and health factors for childhood development     18

4.3 Role of multi-agency work in children development       19

4.4 Effectiveness of the multi-agency work in children development                                                                      21

5.0 Discussion                                                                       22

6.0 Conclusion                                                                      25

6.1 Recommendations                                                        26

References                                                                            27

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Research Background

Data and sciences highlight how early childhood years are the times that bring forth opportunities for development as well as risks. As mentioned by Britto et al. (2018), a child’s brain builds moment by moment through their interactions with the environment. The quality of experiences of a child makes a major difference in their brain development, helping form strong and weak learning foundations, behavioral patterns, and health throughout their lives. Several factors are associated with the development of children. These parameters or factors are further classified and segregated into dynamics of society and health. Of the different dimensions and parameters affecting the development of a child, stunted growth and malnutrition are one of the major ones. This is often attributed to the low quality of resources of food, or low supply to tend to the demands of the population. New and recent reports show that nearly 11 people die every minute due to hunger-related issues and challenges (Oxfam International, 2021). In addition to this, social issues also contribute towards child development. One of the major social issues in this context is that of child abuse. It is important to understand that child abuse is not limited to physical abuse but extends to emotional and mental abuse imposed on the children by their parents or people around them. In most cases, these leave a traumatic impact on their development processes and adversely affect their progress. Organizations are constantly working towards reducing these instances of abuse. UNICEF or the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund is one such organization that continues to work towards addressing such social issues. Despite these measures, reports show that nearly 1 billion children in the age group of 12 to 17 years old suffer from physical, emotional, and mental abuse every year (WHO, 2020)

1.2 Research Aim and Objectives

1.2.1 Research Aim

The aim and purpose of this particular research report are to evaluate the childhood development and roles of multi-agency work. A child’s development depends on several aspects and factors. It is found that the major outcome for the achievement of such a goal is to be able to attain sustainability (Daelmans et al. 2017). Based on this aim, several objectives have been developed to be addressed efficiently.

1.2.2 Research Objectives:

The major objective of this particular report is as follow:

To determine the impact of multi-agencies on the childhood development

Based on the previously stated primary objective, several secondary objectives would also be aimed at accomplishing. These objectives are as follows.

  1. To comprehend the importance of childhood development in recent times.
  2. To recognize the relationship between childhood development and multi-agency works
  3. To comprehend the role and impact of health and social parameters on the development of a child
  4. To propose recommendations concerning the multi-agency works in the context of childhood development.

1.3 Research Questions

All research reports are undertaken to help address certain questions and find the solution to issues that have not been done properly before. This research report is undertaken to address several important questions. To better comprehend the topics in question, the research involves a major or primary research question. This is stated as follows.

What is the impact of multi-agencies on childhood development?

Based on the primary question, several secondary questions have been identified which would also be addressed in this report. These are mentioned as follows.

  1. Why should childhood development be deemed important in recent times?
  2. What is the relationship shared between childhood development and multi-agency work?
  3. What are the roles of social and health factors and how do they impact the child’s development?
  4. What are some important recommendations that could aid in childhood development and multi-agency work?

1.4 Research Rationale

Early development in children often provides scope to shape a child’s holistic progress and create a strong foundation for their future. To ensure it, a child would need to have access to good healthcare, nutrition, protection against harm, security, and learning opportunities (Black et al. 2017). The significance of childhood development is inevitable for children and their development would in turn lead to a more stable and developed future. The major objective of this report is to be able to seek solutions for mitigating the adverse impacts of childhood development. While organizations and nations continue to work towards bringing a positive change, children continue to be deprived of resources and suffer. The report is significant to the countries for it would allow a better insight into the major issues and provide them opportunities to address them. It is also essential to bring to light these challenges and issues to the general people. This research report would not only provide a better comprehension of why childhood development is important, but the role of multi-agencies would also provide scope to identify the drawbacks in their current approaches and provide avenues to further improve on them.

1.5 Research Structure

A properly structured report helps the readers to understand the approaches and results in an organized manner. In this report, such a proper structure would be used. The report would be classified into 6 different sections. Each of these sections would be highlighting a particular aspect of the research report. The sections include Introduction where the research aims and background would be highlighted. This would be followed by a section of Literature review where all relevant literary works and theories would be highlighted. The third section in the report is of Methodology. This section would highlight the methods which would be used for the collection of data and analysis. The fourth and fifth sections of Findings and Discussions would highlight the analyzed data, the findings inferred, and how they aid in the research. A discussion on the major findings and their significance for the research would be highlighted. The sixth and final chapter is that of conclusion. This chapter would provide an overall summary for the report and provide important recommendations which could further aid in the research in the future.

Figure 1: Report structure

(Source: created by author)

2. Review of the literature regarding theory or policy development

In this section, a deeper understanding of childhood development and multi-agency work procedures is addressed from literary perspective. Referring to the history of childhood development and the multi-agency working process, this section has reviewed the concepts in detail and also develops the comparative viewpoints and initiatives of the various research practices in detail.

2.1 History of policy development

It is believed from ancient times that civilization always depends and is associated with the raise of a child. Various ancient Greek and Chinese philosophies strongly focused on the development and raise of a child with heavy words of wisdom. As in the view of Aristotle, the children’s mind is often considered as the blank paper which can be shaped and developed with a strong influence of environment and experience (The Field of Child Psychology, 2021). At the same time philosopher, Locke stressed the concept of childhood development in association with the parent’s behavior and their act as a role model. According to his viewpoint, the quality of self-control, kindness, and honesty are the key traits that enable a child to be a human being that is completely derived from his or her parents.

While the above thoughts are more philosophical rather than practical the domains of development first introduced by Carl Lewis Gregory in “The Cry of Children” (1912) where three interrelated and distinct stages are addressed namely physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional (The Field of Child Psychology, 2021). Based on this aspect slowly the developmental issues came into the front where Nature and Nurture are addressed through diverse stages of development.

After a long period, the modern civilization has identified and recognized the complex needs of child care and developmental period that requires more than physical nourishing and this is the time when the ECCE (Early childhood care and education) referred through the development of care and education of children. Early childhood development policy was first initiated as active propaganda through World Bank Group who had introduced worldwide initiatives by financing process, advising on the policy, technical support, and regional, global, or country partnerships (Worldbank, 2021).  At this time, a special group of educators is developed to focus specifically on the need and learning requirements of the early learners and their development. In the Western country of UK, the early childhood education and development has arrived much later based on the coalition of the Government’s policy agenda and the first policy paper published in 2011. On the contrary formulation and implement the early childhood policy has been a matter of responsibility for the government of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.    

From the book by Britto et al. (2013), it is pointed out that nearly more than 200 million children (under 5 years) fail to achieve the complete development potential due to several issues such as poor health, nutrition, lack of responsible care. These gaps create a loss in the sense of survival, cultural, social, and psychological development of the child. On the contrary, the words of Naudeau et al. (2012) have initiated the need for early childhood development that ultimately enables a country to maintain considerable cost-savings and efficiency in the health and education sector. These strong concerns and scientific evidence have made the countries think about the early childhood development initiatives and policy support.

2.2 Multi-agency work for childhood development

Harrow Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) introduced multiagency safeguarding and child protection with shared responsibility. This agency has initiated an agenda with which participants can gain a clear understanding of the organizational and individual role along with the ability to the identification of child abuse (ss4eharrow, 2021). ISCP is another support hub that also provides multi-agency help for the children’s support and fulfilling additional needs with the association of the Child Health, School Attendance Service, Children’s social care, and Police service (ISCP, 2021). Nottinghamshire County’s Multi-Agency Concerning Behaviors Pathway has introduced social, educational, and healthcare organizational processes that ensure to explore the behavior of young persons and enable them to access the right support at the weight time (Nottinghamshire.gov.uk, 2021).

Bellizzi et al. (2021) has pointed the usability of Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) launched in the year 2014 by UNICEF and WHO with a primary goal of preventing the mortality rate. However, with an extended approach on the same, Children’s and Adolescents’ mental and physical health is also considered with global vision, strategy, and commitment with protection of the children from violence, conflict, and abuse. Humphreys et al. (2018) on the contrary specifically stressed the fact that assisting children who are living with family and domestic violence is difficult where the intervention of multi-agency approach is specifically needed to maintain the child health, investigate the issues from which they are suffering On this same concept Cleaver et al. (2019) has initiated that focus on the multi-agency early intervention that appeared to be more impactful and sustainable for the childhood development and support activities.

2.3 Theoretical interventions

2.3.1 Piaget’s Cognitive development theory

The theory of cognitive development is closely associated with the growth of the intelligence level of children. According to this theory, it is not only limited to the level of acquiring knowledge but also has a close connection with mental development. Bormanaki and Khoshhal (2017) have explained that Piaget’s cognitive development is associated with the implication of language, listening, reading. These researchers have specifically focused on this theory from the educational perspective. On the other hand, Astuti (2018) has pointed this theoretical understanding as one with clear logical rules. As children tend implementing logical thinking on the concrete, abstract or hypothetical object the educators must focus on providing concrete operational instructions to enable them to achieve their learning goals according to their level of thinking. Through the four stages sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational that are sequentially connected with the universal order of childhood development. The key component that has been addressed under this theory is children’s intelligence level and the process of thinking that is completely different from others (Kose and Arslan, 2017). It is identified that Children’s mental health is equal to passive living being required to be filled with knowledge. It is also depicted that it is the best way to understand their psychology through their point of view.

2.3.2 Freud’s 5 Stages of Psychosexual Development

While the above theoretical explanation has specified the interconnectedness of the four stages of child development this theoretical understanding has specifically portrayed the physical and psychological process to measure the development process. This theory is composing five stages as Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latent and Genital and through these stages, the ego and superego develop in the human being. Orenstein and Lewis (2020) have discussed on a modified version of Freud’s theory that is Erikson’s stages of psychological development. However, in most cases, this theory is considered as an unscientific one that is not always associated with the personality and physical development of a human being. On the other hand, the developed versions of the same theory are more effective and understandable. Overall, both of these theories have specified the stages of individuals’ growth when every human being usually faces new decision making, several turning points in childhoods, adolescence, and adulthood period. Here one key concern also rose to portray the possible issues that may happen in case of failing to provide the right care and support, assistance, and family violence on the child.

2.3.3 Multi-agency working

 The theory of multi-agency working refers to the behavior and education support teams along with a key focus on integrated service delivery. It indicates to the ability in providing seamless response to individuals. Intervention of the multi-agency approach is associated in this case as they played the role in protection the child mindset and enable them to assess a secure and healthy surrounding that contribute in the development of a secure childhood.  As suggested by Solomon (2019), joint planning and delivery of coordinated services are responsive to the changing needs of the children and young people. In this process of fostering positive relationship between professionals and individuals refers to the trust, transparency and shared responsibility of work practices. As suggested by Forbes (2018),  this theoretical concept has initiated the child learning process that mainly influenced by the surroundings and others’ behaviors. Here, the development of child learning initiatives has strongly addressed to be shaped with positive influence. However failing to the same and contradictory behavior not only affect the child’s psychology but also influence on the development of negative behavior and perceptions on the society. Intervention of the multi-agency approach is also associated in this case as they played the role in protection the child mindset and enable them to assess a secure and healthy surrounding that contribute in the development of a secure childhood.   

2.4 Gap in literature

The literary thoughts that are discussed above are strongly connected with philosophical understanding and its interpretations. However some researchers have highlighted the necessity of the multi-agency working and interventions. There is a lack of strong connection and establishment of the two that is the way childhood development are associated with the multi-agency working process. This research is specifically focusing on the same to evaluate the extent of multi-agency approach in evaluation of the childhood development initiatives.

3.0 Methodology

All research endeavours require following certain methods and steps to ensure accurate results are found. In this respect, an important tool or framework for methodology is that of Saunders Research Onion. As mentioned by Sahay (2016), this particular framework highlights the different methods to be implemented in layers. These layers include determining suitable research philosophy, approach, strategy and data collection measures.

Figure 2: Research Onion Framework

(Source: Inspired from Sahay, 2016)

3.1 Research Philosophy

Research philosophy is often considered to be the base for a study. It highlights the beliefs upon which a research is built. In general, the two philosophies of interpretivism and positivism find their use in research the most. As mentioned by Alharahsheh and Pius (2020), positivist philosophy focuses on objectivity and does not take into account personal perspectives or viewpoints. The theory emphasizes one reality. On the other hand, interpretivist philosophy focuses on the impact or influence of cultural and social parameters on individuals. In this particular report, interpretivist philosophy would be used as it would allow the researcher to undertake measures to gain better insight on the research topic and provide suitable inferences. Since the researcher’s own perspectives and interpreting judgements would be used, interpretivist approach is deemed suitable.

3.2 Research Approach

The research approach taken by the researcher aids them in making decisions in terms of collecting the data and analyzing them. In general, inductive and deductive research approaches are considered to be the main research approach categories. Deductive approaches involve a theory existing beforehand and building up on this pre-existing theory, On the other hand, an inductive approach focuses on making observations, analyzing and generating a theory based on these observations made (Woiceshyn and Daellenbach, 2018). In this particular report, an inductive approach would be undertaken by the researcher. While the interpretivist philosophy would allow the researcher to gather data and make inferences, an inductive approach would help in generating a theory based on these inferences made.

3.3 Research Strategy and Design

Research strategy layer of the Saunders’ research onion focuses on how the research would be conducted, based on the objectives and aims of the research. While there exists a number of such strategies such as experimental research, grounded theory and action research, this particular research would involve secondary data sources to be used for finding results. As mentioned by Melnikovas (2018), research designs are frameworks to be used for conducting research and are usually either mixed, qualitative or quantitative designs. While quantitative research focuses on statistical data and figures, qualitative research emphasises on perspectives, opinions and subjective parameters. This particular research would be conducted through collection of pre-existing data on childhood development and the design would thus be a qualitative design. In this report, the researcher would thus undertake a substantive approach in literature review. The thorough review of different literature works and pre existing data would be undertaken, where the researcher would be familiar with the information and provide scope for establishing the credibility of the report. The report would focus on pre-existing data since collection of primary data in recent times would be a difficult process. Apart from this, the availability of existing data provides a suitable research approach for the researcher.

3.4 Data collection

Data in research is usually of two types – secondary and primary. Primary data is the data collected by the research on their own through surveys, questionnaires and interviews. On the other hand, secondary data includes all the information and data which is pre-existing and relevant to the research (Trinh, 2018). In this particular research report, the researcher would be using the secondary data for analysis. The collection of secondary data may be undertaken through the following sources.

The Internet: The internet has become one of the major sources of qualitative and secondary data (Johnston, 2017). Online libraries and websites provide insight to different literature and ensure better collection of data for research purposes.

Government and Organisational portals: Online portals of the governments and different organisations provide links to their reports. These also prove to be important sources of secondary data to be used for analyses.

Online journals and articles: Search engines and online libraries provide researchers access to various relevant and significant online journals and articles. Based on the relevance and accuracy, the researcher may use the data provided in these sources.

Physical books and libraries: Normal libraries provide magazines, books and access to journals which would be used for collecting the data for the research purposes.

Data collection methods:

The data to be collected from the different online sources would need to be relevant. The researcher ensures such relevance through the use of certain essential keywords when searching for data. Apart from this, a particular time period would be deemed appropriate for the data collected, beyond which the data would be deemed inaccurate. Recent journals and articles would be used for analysis. The researcher would also ensure that the data is collected from authentic and reliable sources.

Inclusion and Exclusion criteria: It is important to understand that not all collected data would be deemed significant for the research. Thus the researcher would be setting proper criteria for either including or excluding the data collected. In this case, the use of keywords would ensure relevant data to be collected. However the researcher would analyse and ensure that the data is significant to the study. Older materials and writings would be excluded from the analysis process and only credible sources from authentic databases would be included in the study.

3.5 Data analysis

Data analysis is considered to be the process by which researchers systematically evaluate the collected data, observe trends and provide a suitable inference. In this particular research, the data to be collected is secondary data which is pre-existing. The researcher world segregates the collected data based on the relevance, time of publishing and the significance to the research questions. Important keywords would be jotted down and analysed further. All the important observations would then be jotted down and stored securely in a protected storage device.

3.6 Timeline

The research would be undertaken and completed within a proper time frame. This time frame would be decided beforehand and a proper Gantt Chart would be created to ensure that the tasks are being completed within the stipulated period. Gantt Charts helps not only to classify tasks and time stipulated but also helps in maintaining the deadlines (Sharon and Dori, 2017).

Figure 3: Gantt Chart for the research

(Source: Created by author)

The Gantt Chart represents the different tasks to be undertaken by the researcher and the corresponding time which would be allotted to complete the tasks.

3.7 Research Ethics

While undertaking this research endeavour, it is essential to ensure that the practices undertaken are ethical and proper. The following ethical considerations would be made in this respect.

  1. The project would be undertaken after having gained permission from the supervisors and teachers.
  2. Since the research would include collection of secondary data, it is important to ensure that the data collected is accurate and from a reliable source. The researcher must be authorized to be able to access the data.
  3. Analysis of the data collected would largely depend on the researcher’s judgement skills. The researcher would ensure that the results are unbiased and that the integrity of the data is maintained. Honest and unbiased analysis measures must be undertaken to ensure that the final results are accurate.
  4. Storage of the data is another important factor. All important data collected must be kept secured in both hardcopy as well as softcopies. The data must be password protected and accessible to only the researcher.

4.0 Findings

This sector of the research study has presented the findings under the developed theme below. The theme concentrates on summarizing the findings regarding the significance of children’s development concepts, approaches, and policies and also on the social and health factors that are directly associated with children’s development. In this context, findings related to the role of multi-agency work have been summarized along with the arguments about its effectiveness in children’s development.

4.1 Significance of child development and its approches

Child development is essential for ensuring poor outcomes. There is a range of behavioral, social, cognitive, and emotional development of the children that are necessary for confirming good outcomes as grown-up adults. As mentioned by Piotrowska et al. (2020), a lower competence development rate at the age of 4 can lead the children towards internalizing and externalizing behavior at their adolescence age. The improper development can also become the reason for emotional deregulation and elevated aggression in the late adolescence period. Early development of socio-emotional skills is also directly associated with outcomes related to employment, education, mental health, and criminal activity.  Lack of cognitive development in the childhood stage can be associated with the development of psychological problems and the underlying reasons behind under-achievement in education.  

On the other hand, Piotrowska et al. (2020) has argued that there are significant underlying reasons behind the improper development of children. For example, poverty is the underlying reason for the lack of cognitive development. Along with this mental illness of parents and maltreatment of childhood are related to the adverse socio-emotional and cognitive development of the children. This further leads to various longstanding negative impacts on the mental and physical health of children and also on their behavior.  The effects can include violent practice, binge drinking, drug use, suicide attempts, and depression. 

Again Hoemann et al. (2019), had emphasized the importance of the emotional development of children. The author had defined emotional development as the ability to regulate innate emotional reactions of the universe. The emotional development of children thus depends on the carving effect within various types of emotional responses. This development mainly depends on constructive theory that is children learn to express emotional responses based on their experiences. This is the reason the cultural environment of any child is necessary for their effective emotional development. Gunn (2019) also stated that child development is necessary for confirming the growth of a strong sense of cultural awareness among them. This is the reason, differentiate and appropriate approaches need to be implicated for children’s development, which also needs to include physical development. One of the ways is the development of effective child development policies, which can further recognize effective children development programs. This policy can ensure a prominent space for the children in the national plan and ensure that children must grow up being physically fit, morally healthy mentally alert and robust citizens. 

4.2 Social and health factors for childhood development

Poverty is a significant challenge that restricts children’s development. Children who have to grow up in poverty are also at high risk of poor health. Apart from this, the community, country policies, and laws, and schools play significant roles in supporting as well as challenging the children’s development. As identified by Odgers and Adler (2018), increasing inequality in income is becoming the reason for the lack of nutrition of the children, which is hindering their physical, as well as cognitive development. On a similar note, McMurray (2020), has stated that lack of early learning opportunities and poor nutrition generally contributes to loss of potentiality of development and become the reason for lifelong economic and health disparities, among children lower than 5 years of age. There has been found a spring relationship between Early child development of ECD interventions or nutritional development and positive development of the child or their nutritional status. 

The early learning opportunities can enhance the actions and behavior of children. The legislation associated with children’s development also plays a significant role as a social factor that contributes to children’s development positively. Sarma (2018) has described that family and cultural environment, parenting style, accessibility to education are essential social factors, which are related to children’s development. Positive social factors contribute to the social development of children, whereas social development describes the way of interaction conducted by children with others around them in society or community. An adequate social environment can result in more well-nurtured children than deprived ones, which includes both the family and school environment. 

On the other hand, the family environment depends on the parenting style, culture and income, and education status. Culture shaped the way children build their values, develop languages, generate belief in a definite system, and become capable of understanding other members of society and themselves (Curtin, 2020). Culture shapes up the influences and experiences in the process of children’s development and creates a major impact on their emotional and psychological development. Any family or society which is associated with violent practice or drug abuse adversely affects the development of children. 

Besides this, families belonging to low-income status fail to support their children with adequate resources for development, as access to nutrition and education require higher income in most countries (Somerfield, 2019). Thus, the low-income status of the family affects the overall intellectual development of the children. Again, parenting is an essential social factor, whereas authoritarian style is observed to affect the development of self-esteem and social competence of the children. There is also evidence of child abuse and neglect, which affect the physical and mental health of children. As notified by Lloyd (2018), domestic violence is used to impact the education and lives of children.

4.3 Role of multi-agency work in children development 

The work of multi-agency involves a range of professionals from various agencies, who work collaboratively. Therefore, multi-agency work has the advantage of collaborative working, which includes the collaboration of ideas and decisions brought by different professionals and the contribution of their skills. This helps in offering responsive support to the goal of ensuring to meet the needs of children for their adequate development. The multi-agency work is associated with the assessment of the care needs of the children.  They focus on basic needs such as the need for education and nutrition, as well as the needs of safeguarding. The role is to collect the required information from the social care, healthcare, and educational sectors, for preparing effective child and family care plans. Moreover, the role of the multi-agency work is to involve the children and its family in the care plan, for ensuring effective development (Aidoo and Rajapakse, 2019). 

Multi-agency working is not a new phenomenon, as many social worker agencies and local authorities have been observed to work closely with different communities and agencies over the years. For example, in the late 19th century in the UK, partnership with multi-agency became the potential operational mechanism for combining localism and government. This partnership is also observed to become the statutory requirement of the UK government. The role of multi-agency working is known to be more distributive, which can generate network governance (Roberts, 2018). The potentiality of the role encourages sharing important information, which is not limited to different statutory agencies, but also with all the involved partners. 

Therefore, the role of multi-agency working is also to develop trusted professional relationships for ensuring effective contribution to children’s development. Multi-agency rules consist of multiple disciplinary approaches which benefit the process of children’s development in various ways depending on the multidisciplinary team. The most important contribution of multi-agency work is safeguarding or protecting children. The role can lead towards improvement in the protection, support, and care of vulnerable children. The multidisciplinary approach of multi-agency work is used to hold commitment and accountability for their professional role, in understanding the interlinking needs and risks of children’s development, from all the perspectives (Cleaver et al., 2019). This is the reason, they are capable of taking collective responsibility for helping and protecting the children and associated family and society. The main issue and barrier in children’s development is inequality in society, whereas the role of multi-agency work is to show commitment in treating and respecting every individual as per their individuality under unique barriers and circumstances.  These are also the principles of multi-agency working. 

Moreover, multi-agency workers are capable of making unique contributions to early intervention and preventive services. This is because their role involves addressing the significant range of risk factors that are contributing to negative outcomes for the children. Gunn (2019) has identified that the role of multi-agency working can be improved through establishing collaborative partnerships with the education setting for the children. This is because educational institutes are closely related with and accountable for the effective child development process, including their social, cognitive, behavioral, emotional as well as physical development, just after the family. This is because it can build a mutual support system and can encourage people to exchange or share ideas. 

As mentioned by Odgers and Adler (2018), the role of multi-agency is to fight against the resistance factors of children’s development locally. This is because the multi-agency approach allows us to work within a diverse policy environment based on different regions and even at different national levels. Their role is to identify the individuals at-risk effectively, improve the process of information sharing and make decisions jointly and act coordinately. This helps to comply with the multi-agency working role with the regional and national level legislation related to children’s development. Thus, the role of multi-agency work also includes monitoring the efficiency of implicated children’s development policy providing effective information in the development of policy.

4.4 Effectiveness of the multi-agency work in children development

In most countries, the role of multi-agency is policy imperative, which limits the impact of collaboration among professionals. However, the main role is the promotion of children’s wellbeing and the widening of child protection works. As found out by Cleaver et al. (2019), the implication of early intervention programs related to children’s development is best through adopting a multi-agency approach. This is because the professional can help in establishing an effective strategy for handling societal problems, such as child abuse. As notified by Lloyd (2018), due to an increase in high-profile child neglect and abuse cases, the concern regarding the effectiveness of multiple-agency approaches is increasing. On the other hand, schools are identified to provide the longest and closest service to the children, who are living with domestic violence. Teachers are capable of playing an important role in helping families by increasing access to welfare services (Somerfield, 2019). Therefore, it can be said that it is the lack of integrated working capability of the multi-agency approach with effective professional partners that are reducing the effectiveness of the multi-agency worker role. 

The role of multi-agency work is being limited by its accessibility. In most cases, communities associated with children do not have effective knowledge regarding the time and way of seeking advice (Roberts, 2018) from multi-agency professionals. Besides this, a lack of professional confidence within the workers who act for child protection can be a barrier to the efficiency of multi-agency working. Effective child protection in the process of development requires an understanding of collaborative roles. This is because children can be protected in the best way when professionals have a clear understanding of their collaborative role. For example, any significant response of multi-agency work against child abuse must collaborate the role of social workers, health practitioners, and police, along with schools. This collaboration can be possible through sharing information readily, as assessment based on better information can improve multi-agency working. 

As concluded by Lloyd (2018), multi-agency work related to children’s development can be improved through the enhancement of schools’ roles and by considering a collaborative approach. However, the value of multi-agency working roles in children’s development has been criticized among law enforcement, policy, and education-related stakeholders. The ongoing argument has addressed the complex characteristics of multi-agency working, which mainly arise due to barriers in sharing of information across the agencies. This limited the understanding about issues associated with children’s development and the discussion process lacked the required specification level inevitably. Therefore, it’s an effective partnership strategy that can enhance the role of multi-agency working. On the other hand, as argued by Odgers and Adler (2018), a collaborative approach can bring challenges, if there is a lack of clarity about the role and responsibilities and if two-way communication were not practiced.

5.0 Discussion

First objective of the research was to identify the importance of childhood development in present times. This requirement of childhood development has separately identified as the issues like unhealthy atmosphere, lack of parental support, disturbed surroundings, conflicts within family and abuse are constantly hampering the natural growth and support of the children mental as well as physical health. Initially the findings have highlighted the fact of child development and significance of this with various approaches. Here the fact of competency and development has addressed first without which it is being difficult for a child to deal with the surroundings (Piotrowska et al. 2020). Apart from this several impacts also identified at this stage that is mainly associated with the emotional degradation, aggressive behavior, inability of creative thinking and more. Now this aspect can be directly related to the theoretical underpinnings of the Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.

Referring to the Piaget’s theoretical indication it is clear that the major changes within the human being takes place within the 2 years from the birth. As referred by Xu (2019), in this stage the infant comers in the contact with very basic actions and realize the actions and its effects around the world. Intervention at this stage and negative activity may cause to face severe emotional distress, insecurity and stress in the child’s attitude. In the findings it is also referred that the early childhood is also the time when the cultural sense also developed within the child’s mind. The same is referred in the Piaget’s preoperational stage when the child usually develops symbolic learning and use of words. It is clearly indicating lack of support at this stage may cause inability in development of communication capacity, interpretation and understanding. Referring to this reason the intervention of multi-agency approach also indicates a clear reference on the need of child support. As mentioned in the literature part the policy developed by WHO or UNICEF are specifically providing the concern regarding the harmful impact of facing a disturbed childhood.

The second part of the findings has initiated the understanding social and health factors of the childhood development. At this point the connection with Social learning theory is deeply connected as human behavior is specified as the observational learning for the children. On the other hand, this is also as an influencing factor for the development of new behavior and actions for the children. As referred in the findings, lack of early opportunities among the children often resulted as a lifetime disparity for the mental health factor. At the same point, the necessity of the Early childhood intervention or ECD is referred as an approach through which a positive development status can be gained for a child. These findings have referred to the need of the children in understanding their culture that they develop through the early childhood stages. Here the need of multi-agency working has highly referred as without their help and strong intervention it is nearly impossible for the children to restore their mental and physical health. In this part of the findings parenting and quality of parenting has referred. From the research reference by Somerfield (2019) it has identified that it is hardly possible for the low income based families and they usually face difficulty in upgrading the intellectual development of the child. Here also a question on the usability and relevance of multi-agency approach has initiated through the research.  

Role of multi-agency in childhood development work has met the fourth research question partly as there is no specific recommendation but a portraying of the present condition has evaluated. Here, the multi-agency working process has first referred as a collaborative approach where collaboration of ideas, skills and knowledge enable the various agencies to deal with the issues of the childhood. As the research topic is about the role of multi-agency it is found out that this working process is the best way to assess the care need of children. In the same aspect the reference of the Piaget’s theory has specified the learning needs of children through different stages when they need right behavioral guidance, right interpretation of their view point, understanding and thinking (Cleaver et al. 2019). The findings have referred to the same in determining the role of multi-agency approach in meeting these needs in case they are deprived from it. Education, nutrition and safeguarding are specified as three basic requirements that must be fulfilled by the multi-agency organizational working process. Their role are not only limited to restore the children’s needs but also associated with the family care planning, counseling of parents so that the entire family of the children can experience a healthy as well as balanced relationship. Constituting the role of UK government has identified as a distributive one that helps to experience a large number of children and their families the right development process.
In relation to their role theoretical connection of social learning can be evaluated at this point. Multi-agency working process is also termed as collective responsibility that the statutory agencies work for and upgrade the society through providing a healthy future to the nation.

Effectiveness of the same in children development is mostly accountable through the child protection, safety and support. At the same time it is also identified that the UK child protection agencies also appoint educators who provides the welfare services, educational support and emotional wellbeing for the affected ones. Ensuring quality service provisions is associated with the ECD policy that connected with the children’s pedagogical experience (Higgins et al. 2019). Here the multi- agency approach is active in building the right physical infrastructure, space for their growth and creative mindset development. Through the findings it is also identified that lack of involvement from the child’s side or casualty of the multi-agency workers often create no effect on the development initiatives. In this ground, the governments are associating with the local groups in make home based intervention, referring and prescribing specific activities in every week along with language learning and more. All of these are indicating a strong support and consistency of multi-agency working is considered to be an effective one for the childhood development principles. 

6.0 Conclusion

Based on the above research it is identified that the childhood development is a common challenge for the new generation of the people. Several issues, conflicts, lack of security is not only creating harmful impact on the children’s development initiatives but also limiting the future scope of development for an entire nation. Aiming to evaluate the childhood’s development and sustainability along with the role of multi-agency working this research has undertaken. Review of the past history explained the age old transformation of the thinking and concepts for childhood development and learning. Referring to this context the theoretical evidences of social learning, psychosexual development and cognitive development are referred. In detailing methodological clarification the secondary data source and justification of its use has provided. The findings has structured on the theme of learning needs, social and health development along multi-agency approach and effectiveness of the same. The discussion part has provided the theoretical connection with the findings and the indication of the same towards meeting the research question and objectives.

Recommendation to future research

The future research can have scope to understand the way of multi-agency working role is effective to manage the children. The scope of future research will also be effective in learning the process of practitioners who work together and develop the relationship of while managing the children. The way of communication regarding multi agency working process can also be researched in detail for better understanding of the work practice of this system. 

6.1 Recommendations

6.1.1 Early intervention of the childhood development process

In most cases it is seen that the multi-agency workers intervene in the child security after they receive the news of their abuse and negative impact. It is recommended at this point that unless taking care after it will be more convenient to take care of them from the very first time. With the help of local agencies and statutory bodies a survey can be taken place to point out the families with children. Counseling of the children and understanding their perspectives through trained educators can easily point out the need of the children. A collaboration of parents, pre-school teachers and early educators can easily enable them to make the process of intervention in a smooth way. It is important here to consider the income level, intelligence, social status and reputation of the families which are the reason of childhood issues in most cases. Without the strong intervention on the entire process from the grass root level it is nearly impossible to protect all children and ensure a better future for them.

6.1.2 Supervision on the effectiveness of multi-agency working process

It is the process with which organizations can be able to deliver services to children with multiple needs. Despite having sufficient number of child protection and help agendas it is identified that the control on the childhood development cannot be managed. In order to manage this it is necessary to build supervision or audit on the multi-agency working. Most importantly the awareness and development of information exchange process should be prioritized among the workers. Supervision on the effectiveness on their working process can help them to enhance their working process and effectiveness of the working for the childhood development.

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