3.1 Analyse conflicts and dilemmas that can occur in relation to safeguarding children and young people present in an adult social care setting

Course: NVQ Level 4 Diploma In Health And Social Care (RQF)

Unit 10: Safeguard children and young people who are present in the adult social care sector

LO3: Understand how to address conflicts and dilemmas associated with safeguarding children and young people

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3.1 Analyse conflicts and dilemmas that can occur in relation to safeguarding children and young people present in an adult social care setting

Conflicts and dilemmas can happen when we are not sure of the best course of action, or others have differing opinions. S/he can come from many different sources including external agencies, managers, staff members, and most importantly the people who are affected by the dilemma. These dilemmas happen when an individual has to make a judgment about what they believe is right or wrong for themselves or others.

There are six key dilemmas that frequently present themselves in social care work that relate to safeguarding children and young people:

  1. Competence versus vulnerability
  2. Rights versus needs
  3. Neutrality versus engagement with agency policies
  4. Openness/transparency versus secrecy
  5. Interpersonal relationships versus duty of confidentiality
  6. Self-interests vs professional interests

Listed above are just some examples of common conflicts that arise when working with children and young people in the adult social care sector. Each dilemma has two conflicting principles, which can make it difficult for an individual to choose between them. They are often experienced by practitioners within their practice, but they may also arise in other contexts, such as at home or socially.

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Conflicts and dilemmas can arise when we are unsure of the best action to take, or views from others don’t align with our own. A few examples include:

  • You have a gut feeling that your child may be being sexually abused, but the manager disagrees and makes it clear there will be no further investigation. You’re still worried for them though!
  • Your manager decides that the service user should take medication, but they refuse so it’s not given to them. You feel disappointed by your manager’s decision and wish you could have continued with the original plan of not giving the meds so you could see how their behavior changes without them.
  • You know the child is being abused by their parent, but you’re not allowed to disclose what you’ve seen to anyone else. You’re expected to act as if nothing has happened and carry on with your daily tasks, which feels very wrong.
  • Your manager decides that two children in foster care should be separated because they are having a negative effect on each other. You disagree because you believe it will make an already anxious child more upset by splitting them up, but your manager doesn’t want to hear about your opinion and states they don’t want to discuss it any further.
  • You notice that vulnerable service user is becoming increasingly withdrawn and seems quiet when the family visit, which you’re worried might indicate that something negative is happening during these visits. You want to do something about it but don’t know what the best course of action would be, and your manager tells you not to take any further action without discussing it first.

Trying to balance between these dilemmas, often makes complicated decisions about the best course of action to take. They tend to leave the practitioner feeling very mentally drained and struggling with doing their job properly. These dilemmas can be exacerbated by an individual’s personal values, beliefs, and attitudes towards safeguarding children and young people.

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