Christopher Dolman

Biography

Christopher Dolman is a social worker who has been working for the past fifteen years with individuals, couples and families. Chris currently works as a Child and Family Partnership Coordinator with Emerging Minds’ National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, and as a counsellor with Country Health SA. Previously Chris has worked as a counsellor, supervisor and manager in a family and relationships counselling service. He is a member of the Dulwich Centre Teaching Faculty.

Abstract

Engaging children as partners: Good positioning for good practice (Interactive Workshop)

The National Framework advocates for a broad, community-wide endeavour and emphasises the importance of assisting families early to improve children’s safety and wellbeing. Services that work with adults around adult problems, and services that work with families where a parent is commonly the primary client are, of course, well placed to advance the intentions of the National Framework and find ways within their scope of practice to engage meaningfully with children.

The Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health supports practitioners to engage with parents in useful conversations about their parenting role and their child’s wellbeing, and to engage confidently with children as a practice of early intervention and prevention.

In this workshop participants will explore:
• The concept of ‘engaging children as partners in practice’ as a foundation for prevention and early intervention responses to concerns about children’s safety, mental health and wellbeing.
• How this links to a broader social project around children’s rights, children’s voices and children’s diversity, and its contribution to safer communities for children.
• The positioning of practitioners and children that brings forward children’s agency, views, needs and aspirations.
• Some ideas and practices to support practitioners to build genuine partnerships with children, and consider some of the challenges and dilemmas that accompany this work.

This workshop will include small group, structured reflection exercises and whole group discussions that invite participants to reflect on how the above ideas and practices might build on their existing skills and know-how in their own work contexts.

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